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But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke-2:19

 

Statue of St John EudesHistorically, devotion to Mary Most Holy in the form of her Immaculate Heart first occurs in the thirteenth century with St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude, St. Bernardine of Siena and others. In the seventeenth century, St. Francis de Sales was an exponent of this devotion. But it was St. John Eudes the great apostle of the Immaculate Heart (1601-1680), who gave the decisive impulse to the practice.  

 In the same century, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus came to light through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and her confessor, St. Claude de La Colombiere. As the devotion to the Sacred Heart spread, so did the devotion to the Immaculate Heart. Both St. Margaret Mary and St. Claude, were deeply dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as well.   

Beginning with Pope Pius VI, several popes incrementally spread the devotion, but in 1944 Pope Pius XII extended it to the whole Church, fixing the celebration on August 22. Today, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the Saturday following the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is moveable, always observed on a Friday, nineteen days after Pentecost Sunday.

 

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 The physical heart, symbol of the spiritual heart

The Fathers of the Church consider that when, from the Cross, Our Lord Jesus made the Blessed Lady the mother of St. John, He also appointed her the mother of all men.

Thus, Mary’s heart is the physical symbol of her boundless love for God and human kind. But Our Lady’s physical heart is also the symbol of her spiritual heart. Thus, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary we also honor her inner life, her virtues, her perfect purity, her boundless humility, her affections and her sorrow.

Poignant in Catholic tradition is the representation of Mary’s heart pierced by a sword, symbol of her immense sorrow at witnessing and willing her Son’s passion and death for the salvation of our souls. 


Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary - The Five First Saturdays Devotion

Pope Pius XIIIn the second apparition of Fatima, Our Lady showed the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, her heart encircled by thorns. Later, on December 10, 1925, in a private apparition to Sister Lucia, she asked for the devotion of reparation of the Five First Saturdays.

The Blessed Mother appeared alongside the Child Jesus who stood over a luminous cloud. Our Lady rested one hand on the Child’s shoulder while she held on the other hand a heart pierced with thorns.

The Child said, "Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother which is covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment with no one to extract them with an act of reparation."

Our Lady expressed her request in the following words,

"See, my daughter, My Heart surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment with blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, make sure to console me and announce that all those who for five months, on the first Saturdays, go to Confession, receive Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to Me, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls."   

 

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of heaven and earth and tender mother of men, in accordance with thy ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to thee myself, my brethren, my country and the whole human race. Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us and around us as It has reigned and triumphed in thee.

Reign over us, dearest Mother, that we may be thine in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death. O most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts and preserve them from the deluge of impurity which thou didst lament so sorrowfully at Fatima. We want to be pure like thee. We want to atone for the many sins committed against Jesus and thee. We want to call down upon our country and the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity.

Therefore, we promise now to imitate thy virtues by the practice of a Christian life without regard to human respect. We resolve to receive Holy Communion on the first Saturday of every month and to offer thee five decades of the Rosary each day together with our sacrifices of reparation and penance. Amen.

 

Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate heart of Mary, Pray for our dear country.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Sanctify our clergy.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Make our Catholics more fervent.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Guide and inspire those who govern us.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Cure the sick who confide in thee.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Console the sorrowful who trust in thee.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Help those who invoke thine aid. 

Immaculate heart of Mary, Deliver us from all dangers.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Help us to resist temptations.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain for us all we lovingly ask of thee.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Make our family life holy.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Help those who are dear to us.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Bring back to the right road our erring brothers.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Give us back our ancient fervor.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain for us pardon of our manifold sins and offenses.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Bring all men to the feet of thy Divine Child.

Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain peace for the world.

 

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Note: The above prayers were taken, with permission, from a leaflet at Our Lady of Mercy Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

References:

http://www.motherofallpeoples.com/2006/06/the-history-and-nature-of-devotion-to-the-immaculate-heart-of-mary/

http://airmaria.com/2011/08/18/st-john-eudes-on-the-immaculate-heart-of-mary/

Illustrations:

1-Statue of Saint John Eudes, by Silvio Silva

2-Pope Pius XII extended the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the entire Church. Photo credit: Ambrosius007 


 

 

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Orphaned early in life, Cuthbert was brought up by a widow who loved him like a son. According to St. Bede, he was a Briton. One night, while working as a shepherd, he had a marvelous vision of angels carrying the soul of St. Aidan to heaven. This occurrence seems to have impressed him deeply, though he went on to soldiering and possibly fought against the Mercians.

It was as a soldier that he knocked at the gate of Melrose Abbey. As a monk, he went on to become prior of the abbeys of Melrose and Lindisfarne. After some years at Lindisfarne, wishing to grow even closer to God, he retired as a hermit first to Holy Island, today named after him, and then to an even more remote location among the Farne Islands. Still, people persisted in following him even to this isolated place, and he graciously built a guest house near the landing stage of the isle to accommodate them.

Illustrations taken from the Venerable St. Bede’s Life of Cuthbert

Later, at the insistence of the Abbess St. Elfleda, a daughter of King Oswiu, he reluctantly accepted a bishopric and was consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne. The two years of his episcopate were spent visiting his diocese preaching, teaching, distributing alms and working so many miraculous cures that during his lifetime he was known as the Wonderworker of Britain.

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In the city of Doul, in France, lived a young cavalier named Ansaldo. This gentleman was trained in the arts of horsemanship and battle. As was common for those in Ansaldo’s line of work, he received a battle wound from an arrow, which entered so deep into the jaw-bone, that it was not possible to extract the iron.

After four years of suffering in this way, the afflicted man could endure the pain no longer. His affliction had made him very ill, a shadow of his former robust self. He thought he would again try to have the iron extracted. But before doing so, this time he decided to make a bargain with the Blessed Virgin.

From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to heal his jaw and restore his health to him. In exchange for this great grace, he vowed to visit a sacred image of her in the city of Doul every year, and make an offering of a certain sum of money upon her altar if she granted this request.

He had no sooner made the vow than the iron, without being touched, fell out of his jaw and into his mouth.

The next day, ill as he was, he went to visit the sacred image. With a great deal of effort, the weakened, but hopeful man placed the promised gift upon the altar.

Immediately, he felt himself entirely restored to health.

Amazed by the quick maternal response of Mary Most Holy, Andsaldo never forgot his vow and returned every year to honor his part of their bargain.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to heal him and restore his health to him. In exchange for this great grace,

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