Today the Church celebrates another feast of our Blessed Mother under the title of the Immaculate Heart. This morning as I was walking and praying the rosary, I had a few thoughts about how much we continue to need Mary.
In the first Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation, we see how God longs to be in communication with humanity. He chose Mary as a woman of faith, “full of grace”. Through her, in the person of Jesus, our God took on human flesh and a human face, to communicate with us in a human fashion.
No doubt, it was because of Mary’s immaculate and pure heart that she was capable of such an intimate union with God, to become the Mother of God. What does this teach us today other than the importance of remaining pure of heart? Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. (Mt 5:8)
The pursuit of purity, the desire for holiness, is God’s will for all of us. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) St. Paul goes on to say that holiness includes refraining from immorality. (1 Thess 4:4) So what does Mary have to do with our growth in holiness? St. Louis M. De Montfort has this to say in his discourse on The Secret of Mary:
It all comes to this, then. We must discover a simple means to obtain from God the grace needed to become holy. It is precisely this I wish to teach you. My contention is that you must first discover Mary if you would obtain this grace from God. (#6)
Perhaps this theology is the reason for the phrase in the Morning Offering: O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you… Even Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcuta was fond of saying: Be only and all for Jesus, through Mary. Indeed, our every grace and blessing resides in the person of Jesus, and it was God’s will to give us His Son through Mary. No doubt, she continues to play a vital role in our life of grace and holiness today.
Mary, in her purity of heart and fullness of grace also teaches us the lesson of selfless charity. In her visitation to Elizabeth, we see how Mary immediately begins to share this gift of Christ in loving service to others. Mary teaches us the importance of living for others; in communion with others. We cannot live life only for self. We cannot live a full life in isolation from others. The fullness of life is found in giving of oneself in love and service to others.
One other interesting lesson for today’s culture has to do with Mary as the Spouse of St. Joseph. Even though God in his mystery and providence chose to allow Mary to conceive the Son of God without the benefit of “man”, God none-the-less wanted Jesus to be raised in the full context of a human family. Thus, Joseph was given to both Mary and Jesus to complete this vital link in the context of human formation and love. Through Mary, God’s plan for marriage and family are made clear.
So, on this feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, may we grow in our love and devotion for Mary. May more of God’s people discover Mary, and the role she plays in obtaining the grace we need to grow in holiness, for such growth is the work of God. Yes, it requries our attention and cooperation, but it will always be God’s work within us. Through Mary’s intercession, may more and more people desire such holiness. Through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart, may we indeed become holy, in and with and through Jesus Christ!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us!