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Blessed Virgin in the Life of a Priest

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Jesus Christ instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper when He told the Apostles, “Do this in commemoration of me.” He was, of course, referring to what He Himself had just done by changing bread and wine into His own living body and blood.

God became man in order to die for us on the Cross. But He also became man to live among us in the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice, Communion and Real Presence.

But there would not be a Eucharist without the Blessed Virgin Mary. God, as God, had been present in the world from the moment He created the world. He had to be, otherwise the world would not exist.

What happened at the moment that Mary told the angel of the Annunciation, “Be it done to me according to your word”? At that moment God became present in the world as the God-man. Except for Mary, there would have been no Incarnation. Except for Mary there would be no Holy Eucharist.

Once this is realized, our priesthood takes on its real meaning. Except for us priests, tracing our ordination back to the Last Supper, there would be no sacrament of the Eucharist.

Dare we, therefore, draw the following conclusion: We priests are indispensable for the presence on earth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became the Son of Mary. Without priests, the sacrifice of Calvary would not be renewed in the sacrifice of the Mass; without priests the faithful would not receive Jesus in Holy Communion; without priests the living Christ would not be now on earth for us to worship and beg for the ocean of graces that we need.

All of this leads to one momentous conclusion: without Mary there would be no Catholic priesthood in the world. Why not? Because without Mary there would be no Eucharist.

What should be our response? Our response should be threefold: a deeper devotion to our Lady as the mother of our priesthood; a deeper faith in our priestly powers; and a deeper love of Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, who is in our midst in the Holy Eucharist.

How do we grow in our devotion to Mary? By engaging her in conversation as often as we can. How do we grow in faith in our priestly powers? By promoting faith in the Holy Eucharist among the people whom we serve. There is nothing which the Catholic Church more needs in our day than a stronger, clearer and more lively understanding of the Holy Eucharist. How do we grow in a deeper love of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament? By taking every opportunity of being in His Eucharistic presence during the day and, shall I add, into the night.


“Mary, mother of the Holy Eucharist and mother of the priesthood, obtain for us something of your deep faith in your divine Son. Obtain for us something of your zeal to make Jesus, living in the Eucharist, better known and more deeply loved throughout the world. Amen.”

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

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