Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Heart of a Compassionate Mother

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”--Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Yesterday was the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is appropriate that we celebrate the heart of His mother the following day.

When I think of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I always think of a mother’s heart. That special bond that a mother has with her children is one that I, as a man, could never fully understand. But I see it every day in the hearts of all mothers. And Mary, as the Mother of the Church, the Mother of all Christians, has that very special bond with all believers. (Whether they realize it or not may be another matter.) But the Immaculate Heart of Mary beats not only for her child, Jesus. It beats for you and me, too. A heart filled with love and compassion. The heart of our Mother.

When we truly realize the love the Immaculate Heart of Mary holds for us, what she endured in her life, and the harsh pain she felt as she stood before the cross and witnessed her Son brutally put to death for our sins, there is an intense sense of humility and gratitude that flows from the depths of our own hearts.

In order to avoid misunderstanding, it is necessary to mention that there are some who would accuse Catholics of worshipping the Blessed Mother. However, such is not the case, for we worship the Triune God alone. Yet Catholics give to Mary a place of great honor as the Mother of God. We love her for all that she has done, for it is through her that our Savior came into the world and salvation became a reality. Catholics fully embrace that Tradition recorded in Sacred Scripture in which we hear Mary say: "From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name" (Lk 1:48-49).

Paul VI, in his Apostolic Exhortation (Marialis Cultus), reminds us devotion to the Virgin Mary is an integral aspect of Christian worship: "This devotion [to the Virgin Mary] fits . . . into the only worship that is rightly called 'Christian,' because it takes its origin and effectiveness from Christ, finds its complete expression in Christ, and leads through Christ in the Spirit to the Father. . . . And the increased knowledge of Mary's mission has become joyful veneration of her and adoring respect for the wise plan of God, who has placed within His family (the Church), as in every home, the figure of a Woman, who in a hidden manner and in a spirit of service watches over that family 'and carefully looks after it until the glorious day of the Lord.'"

Yes, our Mother, the sweet Virgin is ever-vigilant and watches over her family of humankind, that they may not stray from the path of Love her Son has set before us. She is the "Woman clothed with the Sun" who, illumined in the divine light of her Son, beckons us toward our eternal salvation by urging us with motherly care to embrace with mind, heart and soul the Truth, the Way, and the Life (Jn 14:6) that is Jesus Christ.

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