Want to see church reform? Go to Our Lady and the Eucharist

On Feb. 11, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On Feb. 20, we will celebrate the feast of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the three children who saw the vision of Our Lady of Fatima. In a way, February is like an unofficial and “hidden” month of Our Lady.

One of the Sisters, who visited Lourdes as a child, said what particularly struck her about this Marian apparition site was Our Lady’s simple presence. Our Lady comes to us in various visions and under various titles, present to us in every place and in every circumstances of our lives, delighting in every opportunity to bring us to Her beloved Son, Jesus.

The other “presence” in Lourdes is the Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, which is actually the presence through which most of the healings take place. In the Fatima visions, too, the Blessed Sacrament held a primary place; before seeing Our Lady, the children first, on several occasions, saw an angel, who once gave them Holy Communion.

Our Lady and the Eucharist can never be separated. She always leads us to Him, and He in turn points us back to Her as, in the words of St. Louis de Montfort, the most “perfect” and “sure” way to Him. After all, His flesh that we receive in the Eucharist is the flesh He assumed at Her Fiat. It is through Her “yes” — and only by the permission of that “yes” — that He chose to come to dwell among us, to reveal Himself completely to us, to die and rise to save us, and to give us Himself as our very Food.  

St. John Bosco once had a dream of ships at battle, the winds and roaring seas working with the enemies of the ship, representing the Church. But then, the Church’s ship was secured, moored between two columns, atop of which were the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady.

When evils beset the Church from outside and from within, we must return to the basics of our faith, to a living relationship with Jesus Christ. We meet His presence most fully and enter into relationship with Him most completely in the Holy Eucharist. When we are with Him, there is peace in the midst of the storm. And who better to lead us to Him than His Mother and greatest disciple? If you want to see reform and conversion among the members of the Church, go yourself to Our Lady and the Eucharist.

In fact, as we approach the season of Lent, we are aware of the need for conversion in our own lives. Perhaps this Lent, you can set aside some extra time for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, for attending daily Mass, or for praying a daily Rosary. Let Our Lady help lead you deeper into a relationship with Her Son in the Eucharist this Lent. Let them both heal and strengthen your heart in love for God our Father and for all His beloved children. Let them draw you into the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (cf. Phil. 4:7). Let Our Lady lead you to make the Eucharist truly the center of your life.

Sr. Mary Martha Becnel is a member of the Ann Arbor-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.