This past Saturday was the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It’s a devotion similar to the Sacred Heart of Jesus but with less fervor. However, St. John Eudes, who is also a “Saint of the Sacred Heart”, helped popularize this devotion during his time.
It became very popular after the apparitions at Rue du Bac where St. Catherine Labouré had visions of the Blessed Mother. The devotion to the “Miraculous Medal” developed from this same apparition. A society loyal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary began in Paris during the year of 1836 at the Church of Our Lady of Victories.
To learn more about the Immaculate Heart of Mary, please read from last year – “Mondays with Mary” – The Immaculate Mother and Pope Benedict XVI. To learn more about the “Miraculous Medal”, please read – “Mondays with Mary – The Miraculous Medal.”
As we saw with Pope Francis on Day 1 of his Papacy, he has a strong devotion just as his predecessors did to the Blessed Mother of God. On Saturday in Rome, Pope Francis said the following about Mary, pondering the Word of God, and using our memory to remember the Word of God:
“Keeping the Word of God: what does this mean? Do I receive the Word, and then take a bottle and put the word into the bottle and keep it there? No. Keeping the Word of God means that our heart opens, it is open to that Word just like the earth opens to receive the seed. The Word of God is a seed and is sown. And Jesus told us what happens with the seeds: some fall along the path, and the birds come and eat them; this Word is not kept, these hearts do not know how to receive it”.
“John Paul II said that, because of this work, Mary had a particular heaviness in her heart, she had a fatigued heart. But this is not the same as tired, it is fatigue, this comes from effort. This is the effort of keeping the Word of God: the work of trying to find out what this means at this moment, what the Lord wants to say to me at this time, this situation of questioning the [meaning of] the Word of God is how we understand. This is reading our life with the Word of God and this is what it means to keep it in our hearts”.
“We would do well to ask ourselves: ‘With the things that happen in life, I ask myself the question: what is the Lord saying to me with His Word, right now?’. This is called keeping the Word of God, because the Word of God is precisely the message that the Lord gives us in every moment. Let us safeguard it with this: safeguard it with our memory. And safeguard it with our hope. We ask the Lord for the grace to receive the Word of God and keep it, and also the grace to have a heart that is fatigued in this effort. So be it”.
Let us ask Mary to help us ponder the Word of God in our hearts as she kept all her experiences of the Word Made Flesh in her heart. For further prayer, please learn the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.