Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
A Heart of P’s
Readings: Isaiah 61:9-11; (Psalm) 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd; Luke 2:41-51
A day after celebrating the love of God expressed in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are invited to meditate upon what our response to that love might be. We are drawn to look at and to reflect upon the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We are drawn to consider what this heart looks like, the graces that it both contains and channels to those who approach it. We are drawn to this heart because it doesn’t simply present us with a litany of laws or a collection of ideals to live up to. We know how frustrating and unhelpful those can be. Rather does it show us a way, a way to open ourselves to God’s Spirit. What do we find when we gaze upon this heart of Mary?
Perhaps what’s most significant about this heart is that it is a heart of peace and of praise. The sentiments expressed in the first reading and the psalm are also to be found in Mary’s Magnificat. I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. And this characteristic is even more striking when we consider that Mary praises God not because she knows no suffering, or not only when her troubles are ended, Mary praises God even before God’s promises are completely fulfilled.
As we find in the gospel today, the heart of praise that is Mary’s is also a heart that is pierced. We don’t have to wait till the crucifixion of her son to see this happening. Already when he is twelve years old, we find Mary’s heart pierced with anxiety and incomprehension. After three days of frantic searching, Mary’s question to her son echoes our own sentiments when we too lose sight of the Lord: why have you done this to us? And even when she finds her child, and even when he responds to her question, Mary still did not understand what he meant.
Yet, even though Mary’s is a pierced heart, a heart that knows suffering and loss, it is also a heart that perseveres and ponders. When her son is lost, Mary spares no effort in seeking him out. And even when she fails to understand what he is talking about, Mary continues to store up all these things in her heart, where she ponders them, giving them time to grow and to bear fruit unto fullness of life and love.
These then are some of the aspects of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Gazing upon it, might we too not find enlightenment and inspiration to receive and respond to the love of God made manifest to us in the Sacred Heart?
How might we continue to do this today?