A Marian on Mary's Immaculate Heart

By Br. Ben, MIC

Today, June 25, we celebrate the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On July 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima told the three young shepherd children, after having shared with them several visons: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, there will be peace ... If men do not cease offending God, another and more terrible war will break out .... In order to prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace."

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady is of great importance, then, and so it is important for us to understand what it means to be devoted to the Immaculate Heart.

First, it means to love and imitate that most adorable Heart that was the portal through which God entered the world, through which we receive the most precious gift of Jesus. As Christians, we are to love and be united to that Heart in a constant posture of "Yes" to God's will, even when it seems scary or hard to understand, so that Jesus may continue to be born into the world.

Our Lord said, "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (Jn 16:33). We know the victory is on our side because the Lord defeated sin and death on the Cross, not just the sins of the people that were crucifying him, but all the sins of all peoples of all times! They have all collided with the Son of God, and what gushed forth from the conflict was not condemnation, but God's own Spirit of mercy and forgiveness. So we know that in the face of all the ingratitude, malice, selfishness, and foolishness that has ever existed or will ever exist, God's Word is loving Mercy.

In this is also the triumph of the Immaculate Heart, that most loving Heart that was present at the foot of the Cross. Her Sorrowful Heart has a most intimate understanding of all the devastation and carnage wreaked on her divine Son by our sins. Thus, her Heart embodies the definition of compassion (to suffer with). By gazing most fully at His suffering, she was conformed most perfectly to His glory. Her Heart was opened by the sword of the sins of humanity to receive all of humanity and to give birth to Jesus in human hearts, fulfilling the prophecy that in the pains of childbearing would be a remedy for sin (see Gen 3:16; 1 Tim 2:15; Rev 12:2). A triumph over sin, fashioned in the throes of its consequences.

With all this in mind, it is fitting to reflect on how we may be devoted to the Immaculate Heart of our dear Mother. Perhaps the most important way that we can express our devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is also the way we can enter most deeply into this mystery of death, birth, and salvation, a way we can participate with her most fully in giving birth to Christ in our world: Holy Communion. If you attend weekly or daily Mass, you have probably said this prayer: "When we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again." When we say this prayer, we are asking that the Paschal Mystery be repeated in us with our words, but when we partake of Holy Communion, we are asking with our actions, because the whole of the Paschal Mystery is contained in the Host.

Carrying in our bodies the death of Jesus that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in us (see 2 Cor 4:10), we assist Mary in giving birth to Christ in our hearts, in the Church, in the world, and even at the Second Coming, after the body has definitively followed the head into the end of the Paschal Mystery, for He will come in the same way we saw Him go (see Acts 1:11). Therefore it is most important for us to heed Our Lady's request and go to Communion on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, in order to make the devotion a habit and to make reparation against the five blasphemies against her most integral role of bringing Christ into the world.

These include:

1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
2. Blasphemies against her Perpetual Virginity
3. Blasphemies against her Divine Maternity, and refusing to recognize her as Mother of Men
4. Blasphemies by those seeking to alienate children from her
5. The offences of those who insult her in her sacred images

By doing as Our Lady asks, we can help take these thorns out of her Immaculate Heart and assist her in bringing into the world what it most desperately needs: Jesus, the Divine Mercy. He is stronger than all sin, all darkness, all hell, and Divine Mercy is the greatest attribute and the expression of the greatest might of God.

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