The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sign of Hope

By Chris Sparks

Every so often, the liturgical season hands me a reality of the faith of such magnitude as to leave me sputtering, without words.

Such a feast is the commemoration of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, June 25 this year. I am a sinful man, and here before me is the holiest of human persons, represented by her Heart. I am before my better, and what can I say?

Let me praise her.

Might and strength
There’s a might in the Mother of God beyond the dreams of men, beyond the hopes of women, beyond the worst fears of hell.

There’s a strength in the Immaculate Heart of a young mother, a young bride, a woman fleeing her homeland for fear of the life of her child, and a woman accompanying her Son to His death in the city where He ought to have been most at home.

There’s strength in Our Lady, the Mother of God and the Mother of Church, where nature meets God and all things are new, fresh, clean. There’s strength beyond anything in the one who watched her God die, and that God was also her Son.

There’s strength in the Heart of her who loved God and neighbor perfectly, cleanly, without fault and without stint. Nothing of her was not given, and so she has been given everything. She is Queen of Heaven and Earth, and she has already given it all away.

Life and hope
There’s life in that Heart, in the life and love of she who gave birth to Life. God, “I Am Who Am,” has a mother. From her sprang forth Life, the One who gave her life, and Life.

There’s hope in the Heart of the Mother of God, in the Eternal Light dwelling there, in the Spirit who burns within her, and she is not consumed.

There’s inexpressible glories with her, and within her, bright radiance beyond our capacity to see or to bear its presence.

She is greater than we; greater than any other save her Son. She is the first of all human persons, not in time, but in God’s intention, as Ven. Fulton Sheen tells us, drawing on traditional Mariology. She is most fair, most pure, most holy, most virtuous. She is what we all ought to aspire to imitate, all of us, men and women alike, for she is (if we accept the gifts of God) our Mother.

Secure anchor
Saint Faustina says all that and more, and better:

O Mary, Immaculate Virgin,
Pure crystal for my heart,
You are my strength, O secure anchor,
You are a shield and protection for a weak heart.

O Mary, you are pure and unparalleled,
Virgin and Mother at one and the same time;
You’re beautiful as the sun, by nothing defiled.
Nothing is worthy of comparison to the image of
Your soul.

Your beauty enthralled the Thrice-Holy One’s eye,
That He came down from heaven, forsaking th’eternal
See’s throne,
And assumed from Your Heart Body and Blood,
Hiding for nine months in the Virgin’s Heart.

O Mother, Virgin, this will no one comprehend,
That the infinite God is becoming a man;
It’s only love’s and His inscrutable mercy’s purpose.
Through You, Mother — it’s given us to live with Him
for ever.

O Mary, Virgin Mother and Heaven’s Gate,
Through You salvation came to us;
Every grace to us streams forth through Your hands,
And faithful imitation of You only will sanctify me.

O Mother, Virgin — most beautiful Lily.
Your Heart was for Jesus the first tabernacle on earth,
And that, because Your humility was the deepest,
Wherefore You were raised above Angel choirs
and Saints.

O Mary, my sweet Mother,
To You I turn over my soul, my body and my poor heart.
Be the safeguard of my life,
Especially at death’s hour, in the final fight
 Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 161

All of that is why it’s so important we Marian Helpers, like the Marian Fathers, practice and promote devotion to Our Lady and her Immaculate Heart.

Our Lady's promise
We know all this is more important than ever today because Our Lady came to us at Fatima in 1917 specifically to say so. Our Lady at Fatima asked for reparation and devotion to her Immaculate Heart, promising, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. ... a period of peace will be granted to the world.” But why does her Immaculate Heart matter so much to our particular portion of history? What's the connection between an immaculate heart and peace? And what does all this have to do with us average Catholics in the pews?

Taking its bearings from the beginning and end of salvation history, the new booklet Spirituality of the Immaculate Heart answers those questions. Following Our Lady's Immaculate Heart as our North Star, we'll learn what's needed for us to have immaculate hearts like the Mother of the Church and discover a pondering spirituality leading us on to become salt, light, and true offspring of the Mother of God.

Times are tough, but they can be made better, and according to Heaven, turning to Our Lady is a key part of the answer. So take up this new booklet. Get out your Rosaries. Do the First Saturdays. Practice devotion to the Immaculate Heart, and teach others to do the same.

Pray for me that I may practice what I preach. I’ll pray for you.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.
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