The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
From the St. Andrew Daily Missal
According to a tradition sanctioned by authority, it was at Jerusalem, near the room of the Last Supper, at the spot where now stands a church committed to the care of the Benedictines, that Mary breathed her last.
And it is at the foot of the Mount of Olives, in a place where about 1130 a monastery of the Benedictine monks of Cluny was built, that her mortal remains were laid and “she was carried up to heaven”.
The pilgrimages made to this tomb originated the feast of the Assumption which was already solemnized in the East at the end of the sixth century. At the beginning of the seventh, the feast was also solemnized at Rome, and it spread with the Roman liturgy over the whole West.
Pope Leo IV instituted the Octave in 847.
“We have accompanied thee with all our prayers when thou didst ascend towards thy Son,” says St. Bernard, “and we have at least followed thee at a distance, O blessed Virgin! May thy goodness make known to the world the grace bestowed on thee by God : obtain by thy holy prayers the forgiveness of the guilty, health for the sick, strength for weak souls, consolation for the afflicted, help and deliverance for those in peril. O Mary, queen of clemency, on this joyful solemnity may thy humble servants, who praise and invoke thy sweet name, be overwhelmed with graces by Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who is the sovereign God, blessed throughout the ages. Amen.”
Reflection: Let us honour Mary with special confidence during these feasts which celebrate her triumph.
St. John Eudes was responsible for activating the devotion to Our Lady’s Heart and giving it the stimulus which grew into this modern feast. In 1942, Pope Pius XII confided the whole human race to the care of Mary’s Immaculate Heart in a solemn act of dedication, and established the feast celebrated today.
The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the homage paid by the faithful to Our Lady’s Heart as the symbol of her complete and entire fidelity to God. It was from the Gospels that the early believers gleaned the account of Mary’s inner life.
The apparition to Catherine Laboure in 1830, authorizing a medal with a representation of the Immaculate Heart, furthered the devotion. The wonders at Fatima in 1917 have enhanced it; the renewal of the First Saturday devotion in honor of Mary Immaculate has added to its popularity.
Reflection: The Heart of Mary is the perfect image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Therefore she is our model and patron. Only through her can we hope to have our cold hearts changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus.