The Sacred Heart of Mary.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
The Sacred Heart of Mary.
“All the glory of the King’s daughter is within.”–Ps. xliv. 14.
The Blessed Virgin possessed many titles of distinction which would secure for her the honor and consideration of the world. She had descended from the sacerdotal family of Aaron, was a daughter of the kings of Juda, and her direct ancestors were of the royal house of David. If men had been admitted to the secrets of the divine councils they would have seen in the humble Virgin of Nazareth a new Eve, destined to become the mother of regenerated humanity, and they would have saluted her as the ark of the eternal alliance. Still, however eminent was the dignity of Mary, however great was her external glory, she had besides titles which were more august and worthy of our admiration and respect. The Holy Spirit tells us that all the glory of this daughter of the King was concealed within herself; that is to say, that all the beauty and all the perfections of Mary are in her immaculate heart. We will therefore consider these wonderful perfections and endeavor to imitate them, since the Church has consecrated a particular feast to the most sacred heart of Mary.
I propose to show you in this instruction how much this heart is worthy of our homage, by the perfections with which it is adorned, by the intimate relations which unite it with God, and by the love with which it burns for us.
1. By the perfections with which it is adorned.–What intelligence could ever conceive or what tongue could express the perfections of the immaculate heart of Mary? After the adorable heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, there is nothing which ever came from the creative hand of God so beautiful or so pure as the heart of the Blessed Virgin. Mary’s heart was a very sanctuary of predilection, in which was united all the grace, all the sanctity, that a simple creature could receive. By a privilege hitherto unknown, the heart of Mary is preserved from the stain of original sin. God beholds in her all the beauty, all the purity, of the original design on which He formed man. Her heart is a mirror in which God contemplates Himself, and in which He finds all the features resembling His own, but well-nigh effaced in the rest of men. Hear the words which the Holy Scripture places in the mouth of God when speaking of the perfections hidden in the heart of Mary. “Thou art all beautiful, my beloved, and there is no stain in thee. As the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun!” The purest and most gracious images are employed in their turn to express all that this sacred heart contains which is ravishing. To consider her heart from a point of view which is most accessible to us, will it not suffice to say that since Mary is the Virgin, the Mother, the martyr, par excellence, she possesses all the charms of these three eminent qualities united? What treasures of grace, humility, modesty, simplicity, innocence, beauty are combined in the heart of a virgin, and especially when this virgin is Mary! What an ocean of love, tenderness, and devotion in the heart of a mother, when this mother is Mary! What an arsenal of strength, of courage, of generosity in the heart of a martyr, when this martyr is Mary!
2. By the intimate relations which unite her to God.–What shall we say of the intimate alliance between the Blessed Virgin and the three divine persons? She is at once the daughter, the mother, and the spouse of God.
The Lord had decreed in His eternal counsels that the world should be saved by the incarnation of the Word, and, moreover, that this stupendous mystery must be accomplished in the womb of the Virgin and by the operation of the Holy Spirit. Hence the glory of the adorable Trinity required that nothing should be wanting in the perfection of a creature called to a dignity so sublime as that of Mother of the Redeemer. God the Father had a particular care of this daughter who should one day be the Mother of His Son, and from her immaculate conception poured out on her His choicest graces without measure. God the Son, the Eternal Wisdom, took delight in abiding in Mary’s heart, which He had chosen for His dwelling: “My delight is to be with the children of men.”
But what special delight He must have experienced in the heart of her whom He called His Mother! And it is in the virginal heart of Mary that the Holy Spirit will celebrate the celestial nuptials. If the Divine Spirit is pleased to enrich the hearts of men by His gifts, with what love does He endow the heart of Mary, His spouse, with all of Heaven’s favors? In fact, we can never sufficiently admire all that the intimate relations of the Blessed Virgin with the adorable Trinity have produced in the pure heart of Mary. At least, let us hope to contemplate in heaven that which we can only dimly surmise here on earth.
3. The love with which her heart burns for us.–But how can we speak of the heart of Mary without recalling the love which she entertains for us? A mother loves her child most when he has cost her much sorrow and many sacrifices. And what has the sacred heart of Mary endured for us? Did not Simeon tell her in the temple that a sword of sorrow should pierce her soul? From that day not a single moment of her life passed by that she did not feel the point of that cruel sword in her maternal heart. All that her divine Son Jesus had suffered during His life–persecution, contempt, cruel scourging, the torments of Calvary–the divine Mother has experienced in her heart; still she accepted these sorrows generously, because it was at this price only that we could purchase the life of grace. In all truth, we can say that we are the children of her sorrows. Just to what extent her heart has loved us we can never comprehend. We can say of our admirable Mother what the Saviour Himself has said of His Heavenly Father. Mary has had so much love for us that she did not hesitate to sacrifice Jesus, her only Son, for our salvation. Behold to what a point the sacred heart of Mary has carried her devotion! Therefore we should love our august Mother. She has immolated herself for us at the foot of the cross. Let us be prepared to make every sacrifice to honor her, to serve her, and to testify our inviolable fidelity to her in time, that we may be worthy to love her forever in heaven.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary
Virtues to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things
O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.
An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901)
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