Today again we celebrate the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Immaculate indicates something that is clean, spotless and pure.
Literally, when we talk of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we talk of the Heart that is free from sin, free from grudges, and a heart that is stainless.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a Heart that so much loves her Son and teaches us how to do the same. Therefore, this is the heart that truly teaches what it means to have faith and worship God.
She teaches us what Christianity is all about. It is the heart that so much loves God and cares for us as a mother. It is the heart that does not glory in sin.
Historical Analysis of the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary began to surface as early as the twelfth century. It was on record that saints like Anselm of Canterbury, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Saint Bernardine of Siena, who is sometimes called “Doctor of the Heart of Mary are all devotees to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The popularity of the devotion began during the seventeenth century in France, by St John Eudes. He popularized this devotion together with that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.
He made it public, and had a feast celebrated in honour of the Heart of Mary. So, as of 1643, St. John Eudes observed 8 February as the feast of the Heart of Mary. Others later followed suit.
In 1944, Pope Pius XII instituted the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 to be celebrated on 22 August.
Then In 1969, Pope Paul VI changed the date of the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, following the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
This is to let us know that every honour we give to our lady today is because of Her intimate union with Jesus.
They are always referred to as the two hearts of love. Mary was prepared to carry Jesus in her womb. Therefore, it is quite illogical for any one to think that a womb that carried God will be bound in sin.
It is even erroneous to think that the womb that gave Jesus body and blood will be an admixture of stain. If the blood is born out of a sinful womb, how can it be able to deliver man from sin again? It is a simple logic. The Heart of Mary is pure and clean. This is the theology behind the immaculate nature of our Blessed Mother.
The Gospel of today.
In today’s gospel, The Holy Family went to Jerusalem to partake of the feast of the Passover. On their way back, Jesus stayed back. Assuming that He may be with their relatives and acquaintances, they did not bother to to look for Him.
When they came home and could not see Jesus, they became worried and journeyed back to Jerusalem searching for Jesus everywhere.
They could not see Jesus for three days until they entered the temple and saw Him in the midst of teachers and doctors, teaching and replying their questions.
When the Blessed Virgin Mary asked Him the reason He stayed back and kept them worried and searching for Him. Jesus replies them “why are you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my fathers house?”.
They could not understand Him, but the bible said that the Blessed Mother Mary kept all these things in her heart.
Keeping The Word of God in Her Heart.
By keeping the word of God in her heart, she also bears the word incarnate in her own heart. Jesus is the word of God, so everything about Jesus occupied her heart. She is the heart that teaches how to love Jesus and ponder His word all the time.
By keeping all these things in her heart, She ponders on the word of God. She ponders on the meaning of God’s word.Thereby, teaching us the need and importance of meditating on God’s word. Whoever lives and meditates on God’s word is already a saint.
By keeping all these things in her heart, she shows how humble she is , and the willingness to accept whatever God says.
She did not argue with Jesus, she was not worried anymore. In her heart, she willingly accepted the will of God.
The Immaculate Heart teaches us how to listen to God as He speaks to us in the depths of our hearts. The Heart teaches us to accept God’s word without doubt, without going to the left or to the right, and willingness to accept the will of God.
This is the heart that lives for God only. Therefore, any heart that lives His/her life only for God, does not dwell in sin.
Another moment is in Luke 2:35 where Simeon prophesies that her heart would be pierced with a sword. This is why the image of the pierced heart is the most popular representation of the Immaculate Heart. Hence, she is also the heart that underwent some sorrowful moments for the sake of humanity.
The Nature of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
1. The Heart of Jesus emphasizes God’s extreme love for mankind and the Immaculate Heart of Mary teaches us how we should respond to this love.
She is intimately close to Jesus. She was there at Cana with Jesus, in the temple looking for Him, at the foot of the cross, at the Pentecost event showing us how intimate we are to be bonded with God. Therefore, the Heart of Mary is a heart that teaches how to be very close to God.
2.The Immaculate Heart of Mary is Full of grace. The Angel Gabriel addresses her as one not just as a greeting but a title (Luke 1:26-28).
3. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a spotless Heart, a heart that is kind, and does not want anyone around her to be in need.
She traveled to be with Elizabeth for 3 months. 3 means completion. Also, in John 2, through her intercession she saved the wedding guests from lack and embarrassment. Hence, this is why the Church always asks us to run to her for help. She knows how to do this perfectly.
4. The Immaculate Heart of Mary heart lived for God and all for God. After the annunciation she did not begin to show the pride of being the mother of God but sang a Magnificat, giving God all glory (Luke 1: 46-55) unlike what we see today.
5. What truly emanates from the Virgin Mary’s heart are faith, obedience, tenderness, availability, spirit of service, fortitude, humility, simplicity, gratitude, and a countless virtues etc.
Her life was also filled with some sorrowful moments yet she did not give up on God. In her Heart you will see deep and total faith in God. Thereby, teaching us that to have faith in God involves total submission to whatever God says.
6.The Immaculate Heart of Mary teaches us the true love of God and neighbour. She teaches us to give our lives intimately to Jesus and to love Him beyond all measures.
The Immaculate Heart teaches to walk with Jesus both in good and darkest moments and to be kind to people around us, saving them from lack and embarrassment when we can.
May God through the intercession of our Mother Mary help us to live in love and peace. May God shower you with His great love today Amen.