Friday, March 25, 2011

To love Mary is to love her Son

A lovely and historic find:
Shipwreck experts are evaluating a centuries-old 40-inch gold chain plucked from the seafloor while searching for a 17th-century sunken Spanish galleon off the Florida Keys. [...]

The chain has 55 links, an enameled gold cross and a two-sided engraved religious medallion featuring the Virgin Mary and a chalice.
Go here to see a picture.

The medallion described seems to me to have more than a mere chalice; it seems to be a representation of the Holy Eucharist. How fitting to have Our Lady depicted on one side of this medal, and the Eucharist on another; Mary, the first Tabernacle of Our Lord, always points the way to her Son.

Someone once calculated that from the moment of Mary's Fiat, which we celebrate today as the great Feast of the Annunciation, until the birth of Christ, Mary had Jesus within her for so long that we would have to be daily communicants for seventy-five years to approach the same amount of time with Him. I don't know if that's a literal truth or a pious reflection, but either way it makes me think about how much less often I am in His company. UPDATE: Reader John E. has done the math--see the comments--and yes, if you received communion daily for 75 years and if Our Lord was present for about 15 minutes each time (which is about what the Church seems to think) you would have "carried" Our Lord as much as Mary did during the nine months of her pregnancy!

9 comments:

bearing said...

Fifty-five links = number of beads in a rosary, not counting the introduction.

Kindred Spirit said...

This appears to have been a rosary. There are two metal pieces that appear to be caps for beads. Our Lady of Atocha, pray for us.

John E. said...

Someone once calculated that from the moment of Mary's Fiat, which we celebrate today as the great Feast of the Annunciation, until the birth of Christ, Mary had Jesus within her for so long that we would have to be daily communicants for seventy-five years to approach the same amount of time with Him.

Seems like a simple enough calculation - all you would have to know is for how long a person is considered to be in communion after taking the Eucharist.

Working backwards from the numbers given in your post - assuming a standard nine month gestation, we'll use that length of time to be one Standard Mary Communion, or one SMC = nine months or 273.75 days.

Now a daily communicant over 75 years would be a communicant for 27,383.75 days.

This suggests that over the course of one day, a daily communicant is in communion for the ratio of:

273.75/27,383.75 of that day.

Which works out to be one one-hundredth of that day (0.01).

Now since there are 60 x 24 minutes, or 1440 minutes in one day, one one-hundredth of that is:

1440 x 0.01 = 14.4 minutes

We'll hope for a bit of grace and round that up to fifteen minutes.

So does that sound reasonable - that someone taking the Eucharist is in communion for fifteen minutes?

If so, seventy-five years is about right.

If not, the number of years will change in proportion to the length of time a communicant is in communion.

For example, if the time is 30 minutes, it would only take 37.5 years to make one SMC.

Red Cardigan said...

John E.--I'm amazed! I've never run the math on that one. Yes, after receiving Holy Communion it is believed that Christ remains within you for about fifteen minutes--the time it takes for the accidents (e.g., the Host) to break down to the point where it's not recognizably such anymore.

Wow.

John E. said...

Aw shucks, Ma'am - I'm just good with numbers, I guess...

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Protestants believe is Christ is in our heart all the time. Does that mean we have more communion than Catholics?

If I posed that question seriously, I would expect some serious risk of immediate divine wrath, but fortunately, God has a sense of humor, or at least, I believe that he does.

The serious question is, do you really think Christ is gone after fifteen minutes? Is his presence really based on the time it takes to digest a wafer?

bearing said...

"The serious question is, do you really think Christ is gone after fifteen minutes? Is his presence really based on the time it takes to digest a wafer?"

Believe it or not, it sometimes matters to know!

Our understanding (correct me if I am wrong) is that Christ is really present - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity - for as long as the substances retain the appearance of bread and wine. Once the stuff-that-looks-like-bread is digested, it's not stuff-that-looks-like-bread anymore, and the Real Presence is not said to be there.

Obviously, if we love Jesus, we can be in spiritual communion with Christ at all times -- the same sort of communion that Protestants have access to. But we are only in *bodily* communion with him for a little while at a time, at least in this life.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Erin, a beautiful cultural artifact!

"In 1985 the Fisher crew recovered more that $450 million in art and treasure from the Atocha...."

Maybe we need to step back for a minute and remember how the native peoples of Central and South America were subjugated into slavery by the Spanish conquerors to mine gold and silver which was then stolen from them and sent back to Spain. Was this artifact made from stolen gold? Who knows!

That said, gold artifacts and jewelry from pre-Columbian times were probably produced by men forced into slavery in the mines by the ruling native classes.

Many years ago, while on a visit to Bogota I went to the Gold Museum located at the Banco de Bogota in Bogota, Columbia. The gold jewelry and artifacts...just overwhelming! Some years later (1990) a visit to the Gold Museum in a neighborhood of Lima (Monterico): It too is overwhelming. The craftsmanship and beautify are beyond belief.

Bern

Red Cardigan said...

Note: I do delete anonymous troll comments. Just FYI.