“Mondays with Mary” – The Immaculate Heart of Mary

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.

Miraculous MedalIt 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 Pope Francis kneeling at St. Mary Majorpredecessors 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”.

Immaculate Heart of Mary

 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.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Immaculate Mother and Pope Benedict XVI

In the book, Maria – Pope Benedict XVI on the Mother of God, the Holy Father collects many of his homilies, speeches, and prayers together along with many great photos of his early travels in his Pontificate. It’s a great book for any home library, but it’s really set up as a coffee table book. The photos are quite amazing and inspiring to view. Since Saturday was The Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Blessed Virgin Mary, I would like to share Pope Benedict XVI prayer before the Marian column in St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna on September 7, 2007.

“How many persons, over the years, have stood before this column and lifted their gaze to Mary in prayer! How many have experienced in times of trouble the power of intercession! Our Christian hope includes much more than the mere fulfillment of our wishes and desires, great or small. We turn out gaze to Mary, because she points out to us the great hope to which we have been called (cf. Eph 1:18), because she personifies our true humanity!

This is what we have just heard in the biblical reading: even before the creation of the word, God chose us in Christ. From eternity he has known and loved each one of us! And why did he choose us? To be holy and immaculate before him in love! This is no impossible task: in Christ he has already brought it to fulfillment. We have been redeemed! By virtue of our communion with the Risen Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Let us open our hearts; let us accept this precious legacy! Then we will be able to sing together with Mary, the praises of his glorious grace. And if we continue to bring our everyday concerns to the immaculate Mother of Christ, she will help us to open our little hopes ever more fully towards that great and true hope which gives meaning to our lives and is able to fill us with a deep and imperishable joy.

With these sentiments I would now like to join you in looking to Mary Immaculate, entrusting to her intercession the prayers which you have just now presented and imploring her maternal protection upon this country and its people:

Holy Mary, Immaculate Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, in you God has given us the model of the Church and of genuine humanity. To you I entrust the country of Austria and its people. Help all of us to follow your example and to direct our lives completely God! Grant that, by looking to Christ, we may become ever more like him: true children of God! Then we too, filled with every spiritual blessing, will be able to conform ourselves more fully to his will and to become instruments of his peace for Austria, Europe, and the world. Amen.

I think many people are under the assumption that our current Pope does not have a devotion to the Blessed Mother as Blessed John Paul II had, but they would be sadly mistaken since our Holy Father has great hope in Mary that she will lead us all closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. A major role of our Blessed Mother in Salvation History and in the Kingdom of God, which we are currently in and a part of, is to bring us closer to Jesus. She is the loving mother who brings her children to the King. Let us always be open to having a relationship with the Immaculate Mother of God.