Mary Stored Up All These Things in Her Heart*
Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
As Mary contemplated all she had come to know through reading, listening, and observing, she grew in faith, increased in merits, and was more illuminated by wisdom and more consumed by the fire of charity. The heavenly mysteries were opened to her, and she was filled with joy; she became fruitful by the Spirit, was being directed toward God, and watched over protectively while on earth.
So remarkable are the divine graces that they elevate one from the lowest depths to the highest summit, and transform one to a greater holiness. How entirely blessed was the mind of the Virgin which, through the indwelling and guidance of the Spirit, was always and in every way open to the power of the Word of God. She was not led by her own senses, nor by her own will; thus she accomplished outwardly through her body what wisdom from within gave to her faith. It was fitting for divine Wisdom, which created itself a home in the Church, to use the intervention of the most blessed Mary in guarding the law, purifying the mind, giving an example of humility and providing a spiritual sacrifice.
Imitate her, O faithful soul. Enter into the deep recesses of your heart so that you may be purified spiritually and cleansed from your sins. God places more value on good will in all we do than on the works themselves. Therefore, whether we give ourselves to God in the work of contemplation or whether we serve the needs of our neighbor by good works, we accomplish these things because the love of Christ urges us on. The acceptable offering of the spiritual purification is accomplished not in a man-made temple but in the recesses of the heart where the Lord Jesus freely enters.
*From a sermon by Saint Lawrence Justinian, bishop, as found in the Second Reading for the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Office of Readings, Liturgy of the Hours.
Immaculate Mary, meek of heart, conform our hearts to the heart of Jesus!
(From the Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
ascribed to Blessed John Henry Newman)
Art: Partial restoration of Maria mit flammendem Herz (Mary with Flaming Heart), Anonymous, 18th century, author’s life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.