IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY:
SHORT HISTORY OF THE FEAST. QUALITIES OF MARY’S HEART
After the consecration of the world to the Most Sweet and Motherly Heart of Mary in 1942, many petitions were sent to the Roman Pontiff asking him to extend to the whole Church the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that already existed in some places. Pius XII agreed in 1945 certain to find in her most loving Heart… the safe haven in the midst of the tempest that everywhere assails us. Through the symbol of her heart we venerate in Mary her most pure and perfect love for God and her motherly love for each one of us. In that heart of hers we can find a refuge in the midst of all the difficulties and temptations of life, and we ask her to prepare for us the safe way – iter para tutum – the way by which we will soon reach her Son.
My head rejoices in your saving power. I will sing to the Lord for his goodness to me (Entrance Antiphon, Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), we read in the Entrance Antiphon of today’s Mass.
Yesterday’s feastday helped us to consider the heart as an expression and symbol of a person’s inmost being. In the Gospels, the first time the Heart of Mary is mentioned it is to express all the richness of Our Lady’s interior life. Saint Luke writes: Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart (Luke 2:19).
The Preface of the Mass attributes a number of qualities to the Heart of Mary.
- It is wise, because she understood the meaning of the Scriptures as no other person had ever done, and she kept in it the memory of the words and things relating to the mystery of salvation.
- It is immaculate, that is, immune from any stain of sin, it is docile because she submitted so faithfully to God’s Will and to every one of his wishes. It is new, according to the ancient prophecy of Ezechiel – a new heart I will give you, and a new spirit (cf Ezek 36:26) – clothed in the newness of grace merited by Christ. It is humble because she imitated the humility of Christ, who said Learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart (Mark 11:29).
- It is simple, free from any duplicity and full of the Spirit of truth.
- It is clean and thus able to see God according to the words of the Beatitude (cf Matt 5:8). It is firm in her acceptance of the Will of God when Simeon announced to her that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart (cf Luke 2:35), when persecution broke out against her Son (cf Matt 2:13) or when the moment of his death was at hand.
- It is ready, for whilst Christ slept in the sepulchre she kept watch in the expectation of his resurrection, just like the spouse in the Canticle of Canticles (cf Cant 5:2).
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is called, above all, the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium, 53), by reason of her divine motherhood and because of the continuous and all-embracing inhabitation of the Holy Spirit in her soul. This sublime maternity that places Mary above all other created beings, was accomplished in her Immaculate Heart before it was accomplished in her most pure womb.
- The Fathers affirm that she conceived the Word to whom she gave birth according to the flesh first of all in her heart according to faith (cf St Augustine, On Holy Virginity, 3).
- By her Immaculate Heart, full of faith and love, a heart that was humble and totally dedicated to the Will of God, Mary merited to carry the Son of God in her virginal womb.
She always protects us as a mother protects her small child who is everywhere surrounded by dangers and difficulties, and helps us to grow continuously. How can we possibly prevent ourselves turning to her each day? ‘Sancta Maria, Stella maris’ – Holy Mary, Star of the sea, be our guide!
Make this resolute request, because there is no storm that can shipwreck the most Sweet Heart of Mary. When you see the squall coming, if you seek safety in the firm Refuge that is Mary, there will be no danger of your being hurled off course or going down (St. Josemaria, The Forge, 1055). In her Heart we find a safe harbour where it is impossible for us to founder.
SOURCE: F. Fernández Carvajal, In Conversation with God, vol. 6, n. 51 available at https://scepterpublishers.org/