Do you know that each month has a traditional Catholic Devotion? Thus, August is devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On August 15th, we celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady. Therefore, it is very fitting that we turn our prayerful focus on the Immaculate Heart of Mary and seek for her intercession. Since Mary was the purest tabernacle for Our Lord Jesus Christ to be born on earth, let us ask for her help to grow in holiness, so as to become worthy temples of the Holy Spirit.
The traditional image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is depicted with a heart surrounded by White Roses, pierced with a sword and a glow of fire.
- The white Roses signify Mary’s purity in her Immaculate Conception, Virginity and her Glorious Assumption into heaven.
- The Flames signify Mary’s heart burning with love for God and for us
- The Sword indicates her suffering with that of her Son Jesus.
The heart is a symbol of her love for God and her total surrender to him. The glow of light, heart pierced with a sword and the fire of the Holy Spirit flowing out of her heart, all these reveal her fullness of grace, purity and the sorrows. There is a Scriptural basis for this: In the Gospel according to St. Luke, the Evangelist reports that Mary kept all things in her heart and pondered them (Cf. Luke 2:19) and the prophecy of Simeon reveals that her heart would be pierced with a sword (Cf. Luke 2:35). In the Gospel according to John, it is accounted that Mary was at the foot of the Cross, not as a passive spectator but sharing the pain and suffering of her son for the salvation of humankind.
It is very important to note that the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not to be equalized with the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Whereas the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is founded on the unconditional love of Jesus for humankind, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is based on her love for God.
During the third apparition of Our Blessed Mother at Fatima on July 13, 1917, to three little shepherds: Lucia Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, she apparently told them to establish a devotion to her Immaculate Heart for the peace in the world and also, she asked them to consecrate of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Following this, Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Letter on July 7, 1952 consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
May our devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary bring us closer to Our Blessed Mother and through her intercession bring the necessary blessings from heaven.
Fr. Arul Joseph V.