O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever
listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer. As your children, we implore
your intercession with Jesus your Son. Receive with understanding and
compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially …(special
We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who
ask for your prayer. We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom
we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting. Help all of us, Holy Mother, to
bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with
God forever. Amen.
Why is there a liturgical memorial of Mary Immaculate Heart? What does the Church teach?
Following the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the feast of the Lord’s all holy Mother, the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The two are inseparable and with good reason. It is only with Mary that we meet the face of God in human form. Her yes, her beauty, her purity of heart and body makes it possible for God to be made flesh. As the Mother of God, so our our Mother.
In directing our prayer the Church tells us the feasts of the Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have an intimate connection especially known in the Liturgy as a sign of “the mysterium of the Heart of Jesus” because Mary is both Mother and disciple. “As the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart celebrates the salvific mysteries of Christ in a synthetic manner by reducing them to their fount –the Heart of Jesus, so too the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a celebration of the complex visceral relationship of Mary with her Son’s work of salvation: from the Incarnation, to his death and resurrection, to the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The tradition of the first Saturdays should be kept in tact and promoted because of the close connection with the Holy Eucharist. The first Saturdays teaches the faithful (clergy and laity alike) of the need to repair the break sin causes in both the Divine and human relationship through prayer, mortification and the giving of alms and charitable work. Why? Because “This pious practice should be seen as an opportunity to live intensely the paschal Mystery celebrated in the Holy Eucharist, as inspired by the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (DPPL, 174).
This feast is yet another example of the Church giving to her children the opportunity to attend to the affect, that is, to one’s humanity, in order to know and love more intimately the salvation given to us in Christ. It is not a one time experience but an on-going, incremental changing of mentality that draws us closer to Christ.
Eternal Father, You inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of Your Son, to visit Elizabeth and to assist her in her need. Keep us open to the working of Your Spirit, and with Mary may we praise You for ever.
Sometimes it may seem to us that there is no purpose in our lives, that going day after day for years to this office or that school or factory is nothing else but waste and weariness. But it may be that God has sent us there because but for us Christ would not be there. If our being there means that Christ is there, that alone makes it worthwhile. … It is not necessary at this stage of our contemplation to speak to others of the mystery of life growing in us. It is only necessary to give ourselves to that life, all that we are, to pray without ceasing, not by a continual effort to concentrate our minds but by a growing awareness that Christ is being formed in our lives from what we are. We must trust him for this; because it is not a time to see his face, we must possess him secretly and in darkness, as the earth possesses the seed. We must not try to force Christ’s growth in us, but with a deep gratitude for the light burning secretly in our darkness, we must fold our concentrated love upon him like earth, surrounding, holding, and nourishing the seed. We must be swift to obey the winged impulses of his love, carrying him to wherever he longs to be: and those who recognize his presence will be stirred, like Elizabeth, with new life. They will know his presence, not by any special beauty or power shown by us, but in the way that the bud knows the presence of the light, by the unfolding in themselves, a putting forth of their own beauty.
Caryll Houselander (1901-1954), The Reed of God, p. 77
To be sure, we do not invoke Mary’s name in order to
worship her but rather to venerate her as a sinless reflection of God’s glory.
Many Christian writers applied to Mary what was saint in the Old Testament Book
of Judith: “[God] has so exalted your name that human lips will never
cease to praise you.” What was said of Judith came to complete fulfillment