“His Mother Kept All These Things in Her Heart”
June 17th Readings Reflection: Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The last line of today’s Gospel, quoted in the title above, provides a Scriptural foundation for this important devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. In the Gospels, we often hear of Mary meditating on various events in her heart. These events always pertained to her divine Son and His mission on earth.
Another Scriptural foundation for devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart is found several chapters later in St. Luke’s Gospel:
And it came to pass, as [Jesus] spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to [H]im: Blessed is the womb that bore [T]hee, and the paps that gave [T]hee suck. But [H]e said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it. (Lk 11:27-28 DRB; emphasis mine)
Mary alone, out of all humanity, perfectly fulfilled these words of Christ’s. She “kept all these things in her heart,” a heart that is unsullied by the slightest trace of sin by virtue of her Immaculate Conception. In Mary’s Immaculate Conception, God preemptively applied the merits of Christ’s Passion and Death to Mary’s soul before He created her, thereby sparing her from the stain of Original Sin. This allows Mary to fulfill her role as the Mother of God, the new Ark of the Covenant that housed the physical presence of God in complete purity. Mary’s pure heart is thereby able to love God fully, since she is unhindered by the effects of sin.
Sin separates us from God, and we must constantly fight against temptation and the countless distractions that occupy our hearts. Because of sin, we do not allow God to fully possess our hearts, for sin also has a place there. We hopefully strive to love God above all things, but because of the effects of Original Sin, not one of us can truthfully say that we love God perfectly.
Our sinfulness, however, must not lead us to despair, by which we give up trying to love God. Today’s feast is one of hope amidst the darkness of sin. As Our Lady told the children at Fatima, “[I]n the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” We must take Mary as our model and strive to love God more perfectly each day in imitation of His Mother. She is His Mother as well as ours, for Christ give her to us as He hung dying on the Cross (see Jn 19:27). Rather than despairing about our sinfulness and the evil that surrounds us in the world, may we instead turn to Our Lady and entrust ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, seeking her guidance and intercession as we strive to imitate her example and love Our Lord more perfectly.