THE IMMACULATE HEART OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (Memorial)
First Reading: Is 61:9-11; Psalm: 1Sam 2. R. v. 8; Gospel: Lk 2:41-51
A HEART SO IMMACULATE
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
At the age of twelve, Jesus was now old enough to attend the feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. He got missing after the celebration and Mary and Joseph only realised his absence hours later when they couldn’t find him in the company of their kinsfolk and acquaintances. And the search for him began. When Jesus was eventually found in the temple, his words to Mary his mother would be disturbing to any mother who hears it. They have been searching for him for three days now and Jesus was not apologetic but rather sounded so proud of what he did. And Mary kept all these things in her heart (Lk 2:51).
We celebrate today this Immaculate Heart of Mary. “Immaculate” denotes “spotlessness”. And the spotlessness of the heart of Mary reveals how pure her love is. In Mary love for Jesus, we see the love she has for us. Mary endured the troubles she went through for the sake of Jesus regarding all of it as God’s will for her. Jesus was a religious revolutionist who challenged the status quo of the religious leaders of his time. As a result, his life was constantly in danger and he was hardly at home. The insecurity of any child would always worry the mother. But Mary accepted this without grudges or bitterness. Eventually, Jesus would be killed like a criminal while Mary stood and watched her only Son bled to death. Despite all these pains and sorrow in her heart, Mary was not embittered but trusted in the will of God for her.
The entire life of Mary was not all joyful. Mary felt pain and sorrow too. A pure heart is a heart that loves still despite being exposed to conditions capable of corrupting it to hate. The harshness and cruelty surrounding the life and death of Jesus was enough to embitter Mary and turn her to a hater, but Mary chose to love still. Jesus saw the purity of her love and on the cross confidently gave her to us to be our mother. Traditionally, the heart of Mary is depicted with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven sorrows of Mary. Also, roses or another type of flower may be wrapped around her heart. This represents the joy she felt in her heart to go through pain for the sake of the salvation of mankind. Today, we revere the heart of Mary and learn from her to maintain our purity of heart despite the unfortunate circumstances that fate may bring our way.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to embrace the will of God like Mary your mother. Amen.