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Header-The Immaculate Heart of Mary

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke-2:19

 

Statue of St John EudesHistorically, devotion to Mary Most Holy in the form of her Immaculate Heart first occurs in the thirteenth century with St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude, St. Bernardine of Siena and others. In the seventeenth century, St. Francis de Sales was an exponent of this devotion. But it was St. John Eudes the great apostle of the Immaculate Heart (1601-1680), who gave the decisive impulse to the practice.  

 In the same century, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus came to light through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and her confessor, St. Claude de La Colombiere. As the devotion to the Sacred Heart spread, so did the devotion to the Immaculate Heart. Both St. Margaret Mary and St. Claude, were deeply dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as well.   

Beginning with Pope Pius VI, several popes incrementally spread the devotion, but in 1944 Pope Pius XII extended it to the whole Church, fixing the celebration on August 22. Today, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the Saturday following the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is moveable, always observed on a Friday, nineteen days after Pentecost Sunday.

 

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 The physical heart, symbol of the spiritual heart

The Fathers of the Church consider that when, from the Cross, Our Lord Jesus made the Blessed Lady the mother of St. John, He also appointed her the mother of all men.

Thus, Mary’s heart is the physical symbol of her boundless love for God and human kind. But Our Lady’s physical heart is also the symbol of her spiritual heart. Thus, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary we also honor her inner life, her virtues, her perfect purity, her boundless humility, her affections and her sorrow.

Poignant in Catholic tradition is the representation of Mary’s heart pierced by a sword, symbol of her immense sorrow at witnessing and willing her Son’s passion and death for the salvation of our souls. 


Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary - The Five First Saturdays Devotion

Pope Pius XIIIn the second apparition of Fatima, Our Lady showed the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, her heart encircled by thorns. Later, on December 10, 1925, in a private apparition to Sister Lucia, she asked for the devotion of reparation of the Five First Saturdays.

The Blessed Mother appeared alongside the Child Jesus who stood over a luminous cloud. Our Lady rested one hand on the Child’s shoulder while she held on the other hand a heart pierced with thorns.

The Child said, "Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother which is covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment with no one to extract them with an act of reparation."

Our Lady expressed her request in the following words,

"See, my daughter, My Heart surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment with blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, make sure to console me and announce that all those who for five months, on the first Saturdays, go to Confession, receive Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to Me, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls."   

 

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of heaven and earth and tender mother of men, in accordance with thy ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to thee myself, my brethren, my country and the whole human race. Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us and around us as It has reigned and triumphed in thee.

Reign over us, dearest Mother, that we may be thine in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death. O most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts and preserve them from the deluge of impurity which thou didst lament so sorrowfully at Fatima. We want to be pure like thee. We want to atone for the many sins committed against Jesus and thee. We want to call down upon our country and the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity.

Therefore, we promise now to imitate thy virtues by the practice of a Christian life without regard to human respect. We resolve to receive Holy Communion on the first Saturday of every month and to offer thee five decades of the Rosary each day together with our sacrifices of reparation and penance. Amen.

 

Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate heart of Mary, Pray for our dear country.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Sanctify our clergy.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Make our Catholics more fervent.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Guide and inspire those who govern us.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Cure the sick who confide in thee.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Console the sorrowful who trust in thee.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Help those who invoke thine aid. 

Immaculate heart of Mary, Deliver us from all dangers.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Help us to resist temptations.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain for us all we lovingly ask of thee.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Make our family life holy.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Help those who are dear to us.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Bring back to the right road our erring brothers.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Give us back our ancient fervor.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain for us pardon of our manifold sins and offenses.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Bring all men to the feet of thy Divine Child.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain peace for the world.

 

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Note: The above prayers were taken, with permission, from a leaflet at Our Lady of Mercy Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

References:

https://www.motherofallpeoples.com/2006/06/the-history-and-nature-of-devotion-to-the-immaculate-heart-of-mary/

https://airmaria.com/2011/08/18/st-john-eudes-on-the-immaculate-heart-of-mary/

Illustrations:

1-Statue of Saint John Eudes, by Silvio Silva

2-Pope Pius XII extended the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the entire Church. Photo credit: Ambrosius007 


 

 

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Our Lord loves you
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St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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St. Eric IX of Sweden

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St. Eric IX of Sweden

Eric the Holy or Erik the Saint was acknowledged king in most provinces of Sweden in 1150, and his family line subsisted for a hundred years. He did much to establish Christianity in Upper Sweden and built or completed at Old Uppsala the first large church to be erected in the country. It is said that all the ancient laws and constitutions of the kingdom were, by his orders, collected into one volume, which came to be known as King Eric’s Law or The Code of Uppland.

The king soon had to take up arms against the heathen Finns. He vanquished them in battle, and at his desire, St. Henry, Bishop of Uppsala, who had accompanied him on the expedition, remained in Finland to evangelize the people.

The king’s zeal for the Catholic Faith was far from pleasing to his nobles, and we are told that they entered into a conspiracy against him with Magnus, the son of the king of Denmark. King Eric was hearing Mass on the day after the feast of the Ascension when news was brought that a Danish army, swollen with Swedish rebels, was marching against him and was close at hand. With unwavering calm he answered, “Let us at least finish the sacrifice; the rest of the feast I shall keep elsewhere”. After Mass was over, he recommended his soul to God, and marched forth in advance of his guards. The conspirators rushed upon him, beat him down from his horse, and beheaded him. His death occurred on May 18 in 1161.

The relics of St. Eric IX of Sweden are preserved in the Cathedral of Uppsala, and the saintly king's effigy appears on the coat of arms of the city of Stockholm.

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St. John I was a native of Siena in Tuscany and was one of the seven deacons of Rome when he was elected to the papacy at the death of Pope Hormisdas in the year 523.

At the time, Theodoric the Great ruled over the Ostrogoths in Italy and Justin I was the Byzantine Emperor of Constantinople. King Theodoric supported the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ.

Justin I, the first Catholic on the throne of Constantinople in fifty years, published a severe edict against the Arians, requiring them to return to orthodox Catholics the churches they had taken from them. The said edict caused a commotion among eastern Arians, and spurred Theodoric to threaten war.

Ultimately, he opted for a diplomatic solution and named Pope John, much against his wishes, to head a delegation of five bishops and four senators to Justin.

Pope John, refused to comply with Theodoric’s wishes to influence Justin to reverse his policies. The only thing he did obtain from Justin was for him to mitigate his treatment of Arians, thus avoiding reprisals against Catholics in Italy.

After the delegation returned, Theodoric, disappointed with the result of the mission, and growing daily more suspicious at reports of the friendly relations between the Pope and Justin I, had the pontiff arrested at Ravenna.

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As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life.

Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty. So much so, that she was known to those in Rome where she made her home as “Catherine the Beautiful.” Sadly, Catherine’s beauty went only skin deep, and she led a very sinful life.

One afternoon, strolling the streets of Rome, Catherine heard the voice of St. Dominic. This was the early 13th century and it was not unusual to cross paths with this great man of God.

On this particular day, he was preaching on the devotion to the Mother of God and the importance of praying her most holy Rosary. Caught up in the moment, Catherine had her name inscribed in the book of the confraternity and began to recite the Rosary. Though praying the Rosary gave her a sense of calmness she had not known before, Catherine did not abandon her sinful ways.

One evening, a youth, apparently a nobleman, came to her house. Catherine invited the handsome young man to stay to dine with her. When they were at supper, she saw drops of blood falling from his hands while he was breaking a piece of bread. Moments later, she observed, much to her discomfort, that all the food he took was tinged with blood.

Gathering up some courage to appease her curiosity, she asked him what that blood meant. With a firm but gentle look in his eyes, the youth replied that a Christian should take no food that was not tinged with the blood of Jesus Christ and sweetly seasoned with the memory of His passion.

Amazed at this reply, Catherine asked him who he was. "Soon," he answered, "I will show you." The rest of their meal passed uneventfully, yet always the drops of red catching Catherine’s eye, causing her to wonder about this man she supped with.

After dinner, when they had withdrawn into another room, the appearance of the youth changed. To Catherine’s stunned gaze, he showed himself crowned with thorns, his flesh torn and bleeding.

With the same firm but gentle gaze he said to her: “Do you wish to know who I am? Do you not know me? I am your Redeemer. Catherine, when will you cease to offend me? See how much I have suffered for you. You have grieved me enough, change your life."

Catherine began to weep bitterly, and Jesus, encouraging her, said: "Now begin to love me as much as you have offended me; and know that you have received this grace from me, on account of the Rosary you have been accustomed to recite in honor of my mother." And then he disappeared.

Catherine went in the morning to make her confession to St. Dominic, whose preaching on the Rosary had brought so marvelous a grace into her life. Giving to the poor all she possessed, from that day forward Catherine led so holy and joyful a life that she attained to great perfection.

It could now be said of her among the inhabitants of Rome that Catherine was indeed beautiful, but her beauty was no longer skin deep; her loveliness radiated from the depths of her soul.

The Most Holy Virgin often appeared to her; and Jesus himself revealed to St. Dominic, that this penitent had become very dear to him.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life. Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty.

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