Heart to Heart: The Immaculate Heart of Mary

So ubiquitous, so familiar and so ignored.  My eyes would gaze past the pictures of the heart of Mary: the Virgin showing a heart burning with love and pierced by a sword and a crown of thorns.  It had seemed quaint during my childhood.  Similarly, for the longest time, I have treated the love from Jesus and Mary as mental footnotes: “Yes, I know.  Jesus loves me.  Mary loves me.”  (Yawn).

In my childhood church of St. Anthony of Padua, Mary with her heart is surrounded by pictures of the Divine Mercy and Sister Faustina (left) and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In my childhood church of St. Anthony of Padua, Mary with her heart is surrounded by pictures of the Divine Mercy and Sister Faustina (left) and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

But how would a woman feel if her love was treated as a mental footnote by someone she loved dearly?  Hurt, obviously.  How would that love break out of a mental footnote?  Based on my experiences, I would say that love would draw closer to the jaded heart slowly without raising defenses.  Then … WHACK.  That love would drop its concrete presence right into that heart.  I had summarized that experience in the Trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts, and other graces in this entry: https://jonasessentials.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/marian-consecration/.

Mary was teaching me to love.  To love fully requires revealing one’s heart, even at the risk of being hurt.  Jesus gave the prime example in the Crucifixion.  His love was so deep for humanity that he underwent rejection, torture, insults and death for our sins.

That experience in Spencer also gave me a new image of the Immaculate Heart.  All those previous portrayals point faintly to a much more beautiful and moving reality.  Mary’s heart in my mind conjures a real, beating human heart, which I could hold or kiss out of love.  Because Mary had been assumed into heaven body and soul, her heart must still be beating.  Her heart beats with love for you, me and the whole world.

Who would go about hurting such a loving heart like this?

Yet people still do.

This past spring, I received a booklet in the mail on Fatima.  I deeply appreciate the history behind apparitions to the three children in Portugal.  A section toward the back describes the First Saturday devotion to make up for the injuries heaped upon the Immaculate Heart.  Wanting to show my appreciation for Mary’s deep love for me, I try to console that heart with a First Saturday devotion.  You can read more about the devotion here: http://www.rosary-center.org/firstsat.htm.  If God is willing, all my meager efforts now and till the end of time will console this heart.

Someone would ask: “Why don’t you write about the Sacred Heart of Jesus?  Isn’t it just as important?”  Yes, it’s just as important.  But there are better entries on the Sacred Heart than what I can write at this point in my life.  Check out the Word on Fire blog on the Sacred Heart: http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/how-to-celebrate-the-sacred-heart-in-your-home/2309/

One time, I saw clearly how those two hearts are connected.  One meditation, I was holding Jesus’ and Mary’s hearts in each hand.  Moving past the awesomeness of holding those two hearts, I noticed a unique characteristic.  Their heart beats were in sync.  Then I understood.  Mary’s will is to do Jesus’ will.  Jesus’ will is to do the Father’s will.  There is no danger of being led astray by Mary’s heart.

Remember her solemn order at the wedding feast at Cana was: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Because the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 2015 lands on the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua (June 13), I end with his words on Mary: “Mary should be praised not just because she bore the Word of God in her womb, but still more because she kept the commandments of God in her action.

“We pray you then, our Lady, star of the sea, that you shine upon us when we are buffeted by the raging of the sea. Guide us to harbor, defend our going out with your watchful presence. So may we be found fit to go out safely from this prison, and come joyfully to unending joy. May he grant this, whom you bore in your blessed womb and suckled with your most holy breasts. To him be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Sermons of St. Anthony, Third Sunday of Lent)

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