Loves desires a life in common with the Beloved. At Bethlehem and at Nazareth, Mary had lived the poor and hidden life of Jesus; in Egypt, she shared His persecuted life; through the little villages of Judea, she led His apostolic life. She had shared His suffering life, consequently, with greater reason, she would live the Eucharistic life of her Divine Son, for it is the crown of all the others.
Mary lived by means of the Eucharist, a life altogether interior and hidden, silent, separated from the world, having only Jesus for witness and confidant.
It is the soul giving itself incessantly to God under the ever new and ever more and more delicious impression of His goodness, under the ever increasing action of His love, which purifies her, disengages her from earthly things, and united her more intimately to the Well-Beloved. Recollection is the first condition of this contemplation. The soul then free from the representations of external objects, disengaged from all irregular affections, goes straight to God as the needle to the pole. The soul, recollected and fixed on Jesus, nourishes herself with His truth, His goodness, His love. Prolonged prayer costs little or nothing, because, freed from all things, she can follow her Saviour whithersoever He goes, nothing urging or calling her elsewhere; and because always recollected in herself, she can study, can fathom the deep mysteries on which she makes her prayer. She sees things as they really are in Jesus Christ. Recollection and contemplation strengthen her sight, and render it reflective and penetrating.
How perfect must have been Mary’s contemplation before the Most Blessed Sacrament with the great light of her faith, the purity of her life, the perfect love of her heart! Assuredly, distractions, that fever of the mind and of the heart, came not to trouble the repose that she took in her Well-Beloved. Her soul, more united to Jesus than to the body that enveloped it, drank in long draughts of the living waters of grace and love. She forgot the earth to remain alone with Jesus alone; for love loves to isolate itself, to simplify itself, to concentrate itself in unity, in order to unite itself always more closely to the Beloved.
Let the adorer, united to Mary adoratrix, apply with patience, with constancy, to the virtue of recollection, to the exercise of the contemplation of Jesus Christ, studying, at first, more to know Him than to enjoy Him; for love comes of truth known, and a grace of light is of more value than the greatest grace of sweetness and consolation. Truth remains, but sentiment passes.
Happy the soul which, like Mary, comprehends this mystery of love, who desires it, who asks it without ceasing, who incessantly exercises herself in it! The reign of God is in her!
Text from Father Eymard’s Month of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (New York: Sentinel Press, 1903).