The Heart of Mary
Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers’ Board of Directors
We dedicate the month of August to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a reminder that we should venerate Mary’s heart for its purity and devotion to Christ. We know from the message of Fatima that God wants Mary’s Immaculate Heart venerated around the world and especially in places of turmoil because it can bring healing and guide souls to the love of Christ.
Mother Teresa once prayed, “Mary, give me your Heart: so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the distressing guise of the poor.”
In these words, we are reminded that Mary is the one who shows us how to love Christ. To experience Christ with the Heart of Mary is to experience the Beatific Vision. This is the goal of our spiritual lives, and Mary shows us the way.
As Mother Teresa’s prayer so beautifully shows, veneration of Mary’s Immaculate Heart can lead to deeper communion with Christ in the Eucharist, and this in turn can awaken Christ in our own hearts and guide us towards service to those in need. Realizing the call to service can be a challenge in a world with so many distractions and temptations to selfishness. But this is only proof of the miraculous fruits of venerating Mary’s Heart because she can awaken us to the joys of following Christ and guide us to live in awareness of the eternal rewards that await those who persevere in service to God and neighbor.
This month, we also celebrate the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, which falls on Aug. 15 and is a holy day of obligation. The dogma of the Assumption teaches that, at the end of Mary’s earthly life, God assumed her body and soul into heaven. It is a belief we trace back to the earliest years of the Church, when Christians knew that the site commonly referred to as Mary’s tomb was actually empty
Have you ever imagined what Mary’s life must have been like between the time of Christ’s death and resurrection and her own assumption into heaven. Filmmaker Andrew Hyatt brought this concept to life with his 2017 movie Full of Grace, which speculates on the last days of Mary’s earthly life. It is a beautiful film about Mary’s role in guiding the early Church with a profound message about how to follow Christ.
At one point in the film, Mary counsels, “The question is not whether we will struggle. We will struggle greatly. The question is: to whom do we look to in the struggle?”
Full of Grace is an excellent film to share with friends and loved ones during this month dedicated to her Immaculate Heart. And honoring Mary’s assumption into Heaven by attending Mass on this holy day of obligation can provide a great focal point for veneration of our spiritual mother.
It is most certainly the sacrifice of the Mass that Mary wishes to show us as the way to draw closer to her son. All we need do is open our hearts to her and she will lead us into this life-changing encounter. So, remember to venerate her Immaculate Heart and have faith in the miraculous circumstances of her life and assumption into heaven, and you will prepare yourself to become a servant with a heart molded by the compassion of Christ.
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