Thoughts of Mary – 24 May – “Mary’s Month”
The Light Comes from the Altar
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“When He ascended into Heaven, the majestic flow of the Blood of Jesus did not cease on this earth; it still flows in a ever-widening stream through untold centuries of grace – the vision which began with the Immaculate Conception, ends in the Blessed Sacrament!
In this way, one mystery corresponds to the other, the one illuminates, completes and confirms the other.
From the Eucharist, back to the Passion, from the Passion to the public life and, further back, to the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth, from this hidden life to His Birth – from far beyond the Annunciation to the heights of the [Immaculate] Conception and back to us again – it is a continual rising re-descending, unutterable, divine.
Because of this, we see Mary Immaculate present at every Mass and in every Communion.
The light of the Immaculate which streams upon us comes from the Altar, from the Tabernacle and, in the same way, when we draw near to the Altar and the Tabernacle, it is almost as if we hear Mary’s voice inviting us: “Eat, O friends and drink, drink deeply, O lovers” (Song 5:1).
This, my brothers, is the doctrine.
On this foundation is built the reality, the great and thrilling reality which re-assumes so fully, in all ages, the best Christian piety of the whole world.
In fact, when persecution rages, the Christians draw strength to resist and to extend their conquering apostolate and, if need be, even to die, from the Bread of the strong, from the inebriating Chalice offered over the tombs of martyrs in our ancient cemeteries, under the kind eyes of Mary, whose roughly drawn images smiles among the symbols and ornaments of primitive Christian art.”