The Gospel reading for the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary retells how she and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple. Referring to Mary, the writer of the Gospel tells us in the last verse, “and his mother kept all these things in her heart.1 In the same chapter, the same thing is said when the shepherds visited the newborn Jesus: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”2
The focus of this feast is for us to meditate on why the Church wants us to focus on Mary’s heart, and this is because “where your treasure is, there is your heart also.3 A clue to where Mary’s heart can be found under the cross at Calvary. When the soldier pierced the side of Jesus, it was meant to puncture his heart to ensure death. Mary was there because Jesus is what Mary treasures; nothing could separate Mary from her son. She was so close to him – united with him – that with only one lance, two hearts were pierced by that lance: the heart of Jesus literally, and the heart of Mary figuratively. The prophecy of Simeon in the Temple was fulfilled when he said, “And you yourself a sword will pierce.”4 for there was her heart also bleeding with his at the crucifixion.
There was one apostle who was beside Mary all this time: John. He stayed with her despite the fear of being associated with a crucified insurgent that might have gotten him arrested and crucified as well. He could have hidden like the rest of the apostles at the time Christ’s body was being punished for our sins. But he stood beside Mary to the very end – even to the end of her life on earth.
The Church Fathers saw John as the representative of the Church in those moments. While we always see John as the “caregiver” of Mary when Christ gave each of them to each other, we might also see that Mary also cared for John as a mother would. It can be symbolic of the Church’s veneration of Mary, and Mary’s love and care for the Church.
Maybe one thing we can glean from this is we must be like St. John. We should stick with Mary in a devotion that doesn’t separate us from her. That way, we will always be sure to be near Jesus for Mary is never far away from him. We might also unite ourselves with Mary’s heart, so when anyone harms or pierces the Church, the mystical body of her son – our hearts, too, are pierced.
Should we want to express these, we can say an act of consecration as follows:
A solemn act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.
Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.
O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.
We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.
1 Luke 2:51
2 Luke 2:19
3 Matthew 6:21
4 Luke 2:35
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Joby finished Theology courses from the University of Notre Dame. He is a contributing writer at www.catholic365.com, and teaches in the De La Salle College of St. Benilde where he engages students in conversations about religion, pop-culture, and food.
Did you ever wonder how Mary is a Refuge of Sinners or the Morning Star?
Mary's titles express how the Church presents her, but some are obscured by language and culture. The book A Sky Full of Stars, explains all her titles in the litany so we get to meet Mary face to face.
Bishop Socrates Villegas says, "A Sky Full of Stars must be an obligatory reference material for religion teachers and seminarians. It helps the reader to see the Virgin Mary within the perspective of sound biblical theology and solid Catholic tradition... [and is] also easy to understand."