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Eucharist and the Alliance
of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

For most people a title like the present one must seem strange. The Eucharist and the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is a strange title even to many Catholic believers.

Before we go any further, we had better explain what this title means. There are three basic terms that call for explanation:

  • The Eucharist

  • Alliance

  • Two Hearts

By the Eucharist we mean the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who is really and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine, in order to offer Himself in the sacrifice of the Mass, and to be received as spiritual food in Holy Communion, and to be adored in the Holy Eucharist.

By “Alliance” we mean not only cooperation but dedicated commitment.
By the “Two Hearts” we mean the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

With this as a short introduction we are ready to reword our title to read, “The wellbeing, even the survival, of the human family depend on the faith of married people in the Holy Eucharist in imitating the mutual love of Jesus and Mary.”

No Eucharist Without Mary

It is remarkable how widespread is the ignorance of so many professed Catholics in just what happened when the angel appeared to our Lady at Nazareth.

When Mary told the angel, “Be it done to me according to your word,” God, who was present as God on earth from the dawn of creation, began to be present on earth as the God-man. In other words, God began to exist as man the moment Our Lady consented to becoming the Mother of her Creator.

Once God became man, He intended to remain Incarnate for all eternity. He lived a human mortal life until His death on the cross. When He rose from the dead, He remained on earth visibly for forty days. Then He ascended into heaven and, as we profess in the Creed, He is seated at the right hand of His heavenly Father.

But on the night before He died, He ordained His apostles as priests, mainly to continue doing what He had done when He changed bread and wine into His own living Body and Blood. Why did He do this? In order to be not only in heaven, but to remain on earth as the God-man in the Holy Eucharist until the end of time.

It is impossible to exaggerate the role of Mary in the Holy Eucharist. Except for her, there would not have been any Incarnation, and without the Incarnation there could be no Eucharist.

Christ in the Eucharist, therefore, is identical with the Christ of history in possessing the same human nature. But this presents two more possibilities. Having the same human nature can mean that in both cases He has only the same human soul, or that He also has the same human body.

Orthodox Catholic doctrine teaches, of course, that the identity of Christ’s human nature covers both body and soul. Consequently we find a stress in the documents of the Church on a bodily presence in the Blessed Sacrament, as a counterpoise to the error of spiritualizing Christ in the Eucharist to the exclusion or at least the oversight of His body. The Church’s infallible teaching could not be clearer. In the Eucharist is present the whole Christ, humanity and divinity, body and soul. Everything which makes Christ, Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament.

As Jesus told the crowd, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood you shall not have life in you” (John 6:54).

As Catholics we believe that Jesus Christ is present on earth in the fullness of His humanity. Unless this were true, there could be no adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. There could be no Sacrifice of the Mass, and no Holy Communion.

All of this we owe to the Blessed Virgin Mary once she agreed to conceive the Incarnate Son of God and give Him birth at Bethlehem.

Alliance of Two Hearts

In Sacred Scripture, the human heart means many things, but it especially means selfless love.

When we speak of the hearts of Jesus and Mary, we mean the two loves of Jesus and Mary.

On Jesus’ side, His love is that of the living God whose very definition is love. This infinite love, who is God, became man. In other words, Jesus is Love Incarnate. Moreover, Incarnate Love not only became man but remains man in heaven at the right hand of His heavenly Father and on earth in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. After all, the Eucharist is Jesus Christ. And heaven is the Holy Eucharist unveiled and enjoyed for all eternity.

On Mary’s side, the Immaculate Heart is her sinless love as the virginal Mother of Christ. Her Immaculate Heart is a symbol of her selfless love as spiritual Mother of the human race.

Our special focus here is on the alliance of these two hearts. As an alliance, we may say it began when the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took on our human nature.

At that moment, the God who is God existed from all eternity began to exist as man in the womb of His Mother Mary.

Except for the heart that Mary had, she could not have conceived her Son or given Him His heart of flesh. The Heart of Jesus, we may say, began in the Heart of Mary.

It was, therefore, from the first moment an exchange of hearts. Moreover, it was not only an exchange of bodily hearts, Mary giving Jesus His heart of flesh. It was also an exchange of spiritual hearts or loves between Mary and Jesus. He gave His Mother the grace to enable her to love Him whole-heartedly. She gave Him the fullness of her maternal affection as only one who was full of grace could provide.

That was only the beginning of the alliance of the two hearts.

At the Visitation, Our Lady’s greeting of Elizabeth also sanctified the yet unborn John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth.

After all, an alliance is a partnership. In this case, it was the partnership of Jesus and Mary. He, as the Source of all grace was being carried in Mary’s womb. She, as the Mother of Divine Grace, was the channel from Jesus to John, to sanctify John just because she greeted her kinswoman at the Visitation in a town of Judah. The Church commonly believes that John the Baptist, though not conceived without sin was born without sin. Mary’s Son so loved His Mother that at the sound of her voice He cleansed the soul of John the Baptist months before he was born.

In Bethlehem, the alliance between the hearts of Jesus and Mary literally opened the heavens. When he was born in the stable, by His divine power He sent His angels to the shepherds to announce His birth.

Thus began what has been going on ever since, and will continue to the end of time: The alliance between the hearts of Jesus and Mary in proclaiming The Good News of salvation to a fallen human race.

Mary was the first evangelist of her divine Son. The moment she gave Him birth, the angels appeared from heaven to proclaim that the Savior of the world was born. All she had to do was show her new-born Child to the shepherds, and they believed. They in turn told others, who in turn told others, who in turn told us. Every Christian believer, including ourselves, traces his faith to the faith of Mary who inspired the faith of the shepherds – who passed on their faith over the centuries, even to us, two thousand years since that first morning in the stable in the City of David.

It was that alliance born of love, between Jesus and Mary that has generated every believer in Christ in the last two millennia.

In the Temple at the Presentation, it was again the alliance of hearts, of Jesus and Mary that revealed what the children of Mary and the followers of Christ are to expect. Simeon told our Lady, “This Child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted. And your own soul – or heart – a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Let us be sure we listen to what we are hearing. Simeon told Mary that her Son would be the occasion for the fall and for the rise of many. Ever since Calvary, when His enemies crucified Him, Mary’s Son has indeed been the cause for the rise and sanctification of many. But let us hear the rest: also for the fall, or the condemnation of many.

Christ has had friends; but also his enemies from the beginning. The Herods, and Pharisees, and Scribes, and Judases, and Pilates who condemned Jesus in the first century have continued to condemn Him ever since. The Mother of Jesus has also been the compassionate Mother of Sorrows. Her alliance with Jesus is an alliance of patience and mercy for sinners who continue to hate her divine Son even as they rejected and crucified Him on the first Good Friday of Christian history.

When Mary found her Son among the doctors of the law in the temple at the age of twelve, she was deeply pained by what He had done. Yet so far from apologizing as you might expect to His mother, He told her that His first duty was to be about His Father’s business.

Jesus professed His divinity even though He knew this would hurt His mother. His real Father was not Joseph, but the First Person of the Trinity; but Jesus knew that His mother’s love for Him would not waver because she did not fully understand.

Part of the price of love is suffering and faith without comprehending the reason for the suffering. After all, the alliance of the hearts of Jesus and Mary was not - and is not – an alliance of equality. Jesus is God; Mary is His creature. Jesus sets down the conditions for loving Him; we should not expect Him to explain all the reasons why, even to His Mother whom He loved so dearly.

Building the Family on the Alliance of the Two Hearts

All that we have seen so far was preliminary to what we are to explain now. What do we intend to explain? That the human family, especially the modern family in the Western World must either rebuild its faith on the hearts of Jesus and Mary or disappear from human history.

We are saying an awful lot, and that word awful is spelled awe-ful. It is awesome to predict what will happen to the once sound and stable family in Euro-America unless we Euro-Americans recover or restore our faith in the loving hearts of Jesus and Mary.

  • It tells us that only a believing Christian family can resist the seduction of the paganized world that is inspired by the devil to destroy family life.

  • This faith tells us that only the grace that comes from faith in Jesus and Mary can cope with the powers of evil unleashed by our media of social communication.

  • This faith tells us there is no alternative: Either believe in the love of Jesus and Mary or be swept out of existence by the deluge of global selfishness that God has permitted to flood the modern world.

We press our question: Can we be more specific? Yes, painfully specific.

The heart of Jesus, on earth in His human body at the marriage feast of Cana, listened to His mother asking her Son to work the miracle of changing water into wine.

So close was the alliance between these two hearts that Mary had only to tell Jesus about the guests at the wedding “They have no wine.”

That was enough. Immediately she went to tell the stewards to, “Do whatever He tells you.” They obeyed and filled six huge jars full of water, and the water was instantly changed into wine.

Here we have Mary’s own formula for the family in our day, as in her day, “Do whatever my Son tells you.” He will work the miracle of changing not only water in stone-jars into wine, but hearts of stone into hearts of love.

What must we do? We must practice heroic charity in our own lives. We must pray especially to Our Lord in the Eucharist, to convert these hearts of stone into hearts of Christian Charity. And we must re-evangelize a paganized Western society to return to its faith in Jesus and Mary.

Practice Heroic Charity. As we read Our Lord’s discourse at the Last Supper, we are struck by His emphasis on

  • the love we should have for one another;

  • the love that is modeled on His own love for us;

  • the love that that very night He would begin to reveal, by undergoing His passion out of love for us.

This selfless love is a humanly impossible love. Only God could make the demand for this depth of love, because only God could give us the strength to practice this love.

Where, over the twenty centuries since Holy Thursday night, where has this selfless love been most demanded of Christ’s followers? Where over these same centuries has it been practiced so heroically that whole nations have embraced the true faith because they were inspired by this miracle of charity? Where? In the believing Christian – and I mean truly Christian family.

I never tire repeating that in the early Church Christians were called the anima mundi, the “soul of the world.” It was believing and heroically loving Christian families that gave the life of the Spirit to the world in which they lived.

It is the same Christians today, faithful to Christ and His Church, who are the “soul of the world” as we enter the twenty first century. Their heroic love as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers and children – inspired by Jesus and Mary, will bring back the family that is being wiped out by self adoring people in what were once Christian countries of Europe and America.

Prayer Especially to Our Lord in the Eucharist. It is not commonly known that the early Christians assisted at Mass and received Holy Communion every day. They had to! Otherwise they would not have had the courage they needed to die a martyr’s death or live a martyr’s life.

All the pious exhortations I could make would be wasted if I did not strongly urge you to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion if at all possible every day.

I would add an urgent recommendation to spend some time everyday praying to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

Jesus is the Holy Eucharist with the fullness of His divinity and humanity and therefore with His Sacred Heart. Except for Mary, He would not have His humanity, nor His Sacred Heart. We may therefore say, “The Heart of Jesus is the heart that He received from His mother Mary.” She is now with Him the Eternal High Priest ever interceding for us at the throne of His heavenly Father.

Does the restoration of the Christian family require a miracle? Indeed, a series of miracles. But it is the same identical Jesus really present in the Holy Eucharist who performed the wonders narrated by the Evangelists. Christ is ready, as He said, to work even greater miracles, like the restoration of family life, if only we believe.

Re-evangelize a Paganized Western Society. We have no choice. As the Christian faith goes so goes the family.

All of us, bishops and priests, deacons and religious have the duty to re-evangelize.

But the special responsibility for this missionary work lies with the laity, as our modern popes never tire repeating.

It is especially you fathers and mothers, and you children who will become adults whose duty it is to proclaim Jesus and Mary to an unbelieving world.

If you do, and in the measure that you do, you will change the present course of history.

The hearts of Jesus and Mary are the models you must imitate. Jesus loved His mother so deeply that on the cross He entrusted to her motherly care all of mankind. Mary loved her Son so deeply that she was splattered with His blood as He was bleeding to death on Calvary.

The hearts of Jesus and Mary are also your hope beyond time into eternity. After all, the alliance of these two hearts continues now in heaven. They are cooperating, He is our Savior and she is our co-mediatrix in obtaining the light and strength we need

  • to preserve the family where it is still strong;

  • to strengthen the family where it is still weak;

  • to resurrect the family where it has died.

But we must do our share. We must become part of the alliance of three hearts: of Jesus and Mary and our own heart united with theirs, here on earth by faith in anticipation of our union with them in the heavenly family of the Holy Trinity.


Most Holy hearts of Jesus and Mary, you are united in the blessed alliance that began at the Annunciation and will continue into endless eternity.

We beg you to unite our hearts as families here on earth so that we may all be re-united in heaven with You, never again to be separated from each other or from You.

But we need your grace, dear Jesus, and your intercession, dear Mary, to rise above our human weakness, and thus give witness to the world that love comes from God and will never end. Amen.

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

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