June 12, 2021 | Miles Christi
Today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Who better knows us than our parents, right? That’s exactly how we should view our Holy Mother: as the one person on this earth who knew Jesus the best.
Most of us are aware of the beautiful significance – the why of this Feast Day. Not many know the history, though…
In the midst of the second world war Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the special protection of our Savior’s Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart, and in 1944 he decreed that in the future the whole Church should celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is not a new devotion. In the seventeenth century, St. John Eudes preached it together with that of the Sacred Heart; in the nineteenth century, Pius VII and Pius IX allowed several churches to celebrate a feast of the Pure Heart of Mary. Pius XII instituted today’s feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the whole Church, so as to obtain by her intercession “peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue” (Decree of May 4, 1944).
From the Virgin Mary, our Holy Mother (“Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27). We can learn how to draw closer to Jesus to live for Him. When you think about it, it was the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph who were the first two to actually “live” for Jesus. They spent their entire lives raising Him – raising the Son of God, living for Him. I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine such a responsibility. I have a hard enough time being a disciple, let alone being given this monumental task from God Himself! And yet in a way, as I reflect on this, I have to pause and ponder the monumental task that I am personally given: to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, to love Him and to make His love known. It’s no easy task, but if we look to the Virgin Mary to help us, to help give us the advice to grow closer to Jesus, the task becomes less daunting, dare I say maybe even possible?
From the Virgin Mary we can learn how to be pure. In a culture which lauds vulgarity and laughs at purity, we can take a lesson or two from our Holy Mother in what it means to be pure of body, pure of thought, pure of intention, for she was all of these things. Our world lacks purity… we must ask God for the grace to be pure in all ways. Our Holy Mother Mary can help to teach us this.
From the Virgin Mary, we can learn how to be docile to the Holy Spirit (Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38.) When I reflect on the life of Jesus, His complete docility and surrender to the Holy Will of the Father, I cannot help but wonder if Jesus learned docility from His mother. Think about this: She abandoned all, recklessly followed God in a way that would stigmatize herself, not caring what others thought “just” so she could bring the Son of God into the world. Do we, too, have this kind of surrender and docility to the will of God.
My prayer is that all of us can view our Holy Mother as a model for holiness; as someone who was so special to God that He chose her to bear His only Son. May we humbly ask her to show us how to better love and serve Jesus. She existed for no purpose other than Him. May we, too, share her same intentions…
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!