Last Friday I had an invitation to offer Mass at the shrine of Mother Cabrini in Manhattan. Offering the Eucharist on the altar that contains her remains was an intense experience. Check out a picture of the altar here.
It was one of those experiences that made me remember the advice of one of my mentors on the morning of my ordination day: "Remember the Communion of Saints. It's the only way this makes sense."
As I pronounced the words of consecration over the bread, I heard more voices than usual. Of course I heard the Lord's words in my voice as I formed my intention of consecrate, but I also became conscious of a more manifold speech at that moment. I was standing, according to rubrics, parum inclinatus, so I was looking down not only at the host but in the direction of the saint's remains. I heard the voice of the Lord speaking also of her. This is my Body, which will be given up for you. That was her sanctity, to become the presence and salvation of Christ to so many. But I also heard my own voice speaking in this way about Mother Cabrini's body, as if to say proudly, this is my body, too. In our communion in Christ, my life and my body are only an insiginifant member of the Body of Christ that is the Catholic Church--the Church which is catholic and universal first of all because it is one with the Church in heaven.
This is the salvation Jesus accomplishes by extending his own sacrifice to us and embedding it within us through the Mass. His Heart is opened on the Cross so that we might find our way in, and become members of one another in Christ, living as his risen Body, risen to the Father but still present on earth in the Spirit.