Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
This past Saturday, June 24, we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary. This is a beautiful and consoling Feast!
Our dear Lord Jesus desires there to be great devotion to the Im-maculate Heart of His Mother, Mary (as known through the Virgin Mary from the June 13, 1917 apparition at Fatima). To encourage us to greater devotion and trust in her Immaculate Heart I offer an explanation of Consecration of oneself to Mary’s Immaculate Heart:
"Consecration to the Mother of God," says Pope Pius XII, "is a total gift of self, for the whole of life and for all eternity; and a gift which is not a mere formality or sentimentality, but effectual, comprising the full intensity of the Christian life - Marian life." This consecration, the Pope explained, "tends essentially to union with Jesus, under the guidance of Mary."
By our consecration we promise to become dependent on Mary in all things: to offer all our prayers and oblations to God through Mary, and to seek every gift from God through Mary. And we do this with the greatest confidence. Since she is our mother, she knows our needs better than we; and since she is Queen of Heaven, she has immediate access to the infinite treasury of graces in the Kingdom of her Divine Son.
Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father; she is also Mother of all the Father's adopted children. As their Mother, she has been given the role of molding them into the likeness of Jesus.
Every work of grace, every increase of grace, is a work of the Holy Spirit; but as in the Incarnation of the Divine Word God used human instruments, so does He in the sanctification of each individual soul. As He chose Mary as the instrument through whom He would come to us, so He chose Mary as the instrument through whom we should go to Him. And both the mystery of God coming to us through Mary, and our being led to God through Mary, is a work of the Holy Spirit. So when we speak of Mary's unique role in our sanctification, she is but the instrument the Holy Spirit uses in sharing with us the divine life of grace. It is in this sense that Mary fashions us into the likeness of Christ.
However, that this transformation - through Mary's help - be accomplished in a notable degree, there must be an awareness of her role in our sanctification, a confidence in her maternal concern and in her power under God, a surrender of oneself into her hands, and a fervent, frequent and confident seeking of her aid. This usually comes through some form of consecration to the Mother of God.
At Fatima Our Lady asked for consecration to her Immaculate Heart, a consecration which, among other things, calls for the devotion of the Five First Saturdays, which includes the Rosary, meditation and Communions of reparation - all done in reparation to her Immaculate Heart. It involves a striving to fulfill her requests for prayer and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for offenses against the Divine Majesty. In a word, it involves a striving to fulfill all that she asked for at Fatima, and trying to bring others to heed her requests.
Living that consecration means becoming an apostle of Mary, striving to imitate her virtues, and to place in her hands the flowers of little sacrifices of reparation for the salvation of souls, so that we might strengthen her hand against the attacks of the Evil One, and hasten the day of the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. To everyone who makes that consecration and sincerely tries to live it, the words of Our Lady to the child Lucia at Fatima would also apply: "I will never leave you; my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge, and the way that will lead you to God."
If consecration to Mary "tends essentially to union with Jesus, under the guidance of Mary," as Pope Pius XII pointed out, we must remember that any gradual transformation into Christ requires a gradual loving acceptance of a greater share in His redeeming Cross.
So when we offer ourselves to Mary to lead us, to form us into the likeness of her Son, we are offering to let her lead us along the way of the Cross.
Our Blessed Mother's great concern is the salvation of the souls of
her children, many of whom are being lost. She looks for generous
souls among her children, who are willing to let her lead them
close behind her Son, sharing more fully in His redemptive mission,
filling up what is wanting in other members of the Body of
Christ. Little by little they are transformed to see as Christ sees,
and to desire what He desires. God wants to draw us closer to
Himself, sharing more fully His Divine life; but we must understand
what the fulfillment of this requires.
In our Rosary, we contemplate Mary in Heaven in the Glorious
Mysteries, because she had so unique a role on earth in
the Sorrowful Mysteries. This is the pattern that is offered to each
of us, and of which we are reminded each time we pray the Rosary.
Consecration to Mary, then, requires a childlike simplicity and
confidence, letting her lead one by the hand, trusting - regardless
of what lies ahead - that she knows better than we what contributes
most to God's glory, our sanctification and the salvation of
souls.” (from www.rosary-center.org)
Through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, St.
Joseph, St. Paul and St. Michael, may our Lord Jesus increase
devotion to our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart!
In Christ through Mary,