Because the poor and afflicted are "empty vessels", they become for us like "other Marys" who mediate JESUS to us (often unknowingly, both to them and to us!). They are like a prism that of itself gives off no light, but when sunlight flows through it there shines out the most brilliant colors and radiance.
God didn't just make a "New Adam" (Jesus); He also made a "New Eve" (Mary)! She is the Perfect Archetype of the Church's filial obedience to God in love, whose heel crushes the head of the Enemy of mankind. She best represents how souls are called to be united to God.
Jesus is not *only* present inside of physical church buildings. Yes, Christ isreally present in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist in a most amazing way. But He also chooses to be present to us and among us – in and through the members of His Mystical Body the Church (i.e. in our sisters and brothers!).
The only way we can really prove our love for God is how we love our neighbor in imitation of Christ. (For how can we love the God we don't see if we don't love the people we do see?)
There is no closer place on earth to God and to Heaven after the Eucharist than in our brethren, and indeed in our own soul. And whomever we find more difficult to love (perhaps even in our own families), the more graces we receive – since our faith and love will be all the more pure and empty of tainted, selfish motives.
+Br. Philip Maria Allen, CFR
St. Felix Friary
Yonkers, NY, USA