The last major dogma of our faith to be promulgated by the Church’s Magisterium or Teaching Authority is today’s celebration of the Assumption of Mary. The Church’s unwavering belief that Mary was assumed, body and soul into heaven, had been held by all the faithful since the early Church, but was only formally defined in 1950.
Mary is in heaven, body and soul, sharing the presence of her Son, who is also there in His Resurrected Body. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, we join Mary in this full communion with her son, the Resurrected Jesus Christ.
Pope St. John Paul II said that Mary is a “woman of the Eucharist” in her whole life. The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery.” What does he mean by this?
A first example can be taken from the Annunciation when Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood. At that moment she was anticipating within herself what, to a lesser degree, happens sacramentally in every believer who receives under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord's Body and Blood.
As a result, there is a profound analogy between the “Yes” which Mary said in reply to the Angel Gabriel, and the “Amen” which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. Mary was asked to believe that the One whom she conceived “through the Holy Spirit” was “the Son of God” (Lk 1:30-35). In continuity with the Virgin's faith, in the Eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, becomes present in his full humanity and divinity under the signs of bread and wine.
A second example can be seen in the last recorded words of Mary in the Bible, found at the wedding in Cana when she tells the servers to: “Do whatever he tells you”. This command applies to us today. Jesus said at the last supper, “Do this in memory of me”. In the John chapter 6 discourse that we have been reading and preaching about these past few weeks, Jesus said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life.” What Jesus is telling us could not be any clearer.
With the same maternal concern which she showed at the wedding feast of Cana, Mary seems to say to us: “Do not waver; trust in the words of my Son. If he was able to change water into wine, he can also turn bread and wine into his body and blood, and through this mystery bestow on believers the living memorial of his Passover, thus becoming the 'bread of life'”.
If the Eucharist is a mystery of faith which so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for sheer abandonment to the word of God, then there can be no one like Mary to act as our support and guide in acquiring this disposition. In repeating what Christ did at the Last Supper in obedience to his command: “Do this in memory of me!”, we also accept Mary's invitation to obey him without hesitation: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).
Accoutrements of the Altar: Altar Cloth; Candles (2, 4, 6); Crucifix; Corporeal; Chalice; Paten; Water and Wine; Purificator; Missal (have acolyte or deacon put corporeal, sacramentary, chalice and water on altar)
Offertory Procession: (the second procession); this represents all the people bringing their gifts to the church.
First Elevation (there are four)—priest presents these gifts to God, recognizing that because of his love for us, he allows us to offer true worship, using very ordinary things (bread, wine, water). This is the Incarnational principle.
Principle to Keep in Mind: many of the gestures and rites originated for very practical reasons, but as time went on the church saw a deeper spiritual meaning in them.
Prayer over the Gifts
Invitation: “Let us pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours…” (all of you are participating in the sacrifice, by offering the suffering and crosses you bear to the Father, in union with the Sacrifice of Jesus’ own body.
After your response, the priest recites the Offertory Prayer The prayer which concludes the preparation of the gifts.
The Eucharistic Prayer