Immaculate Heart of Mary

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The Immaculate Heart of Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary.jpg
The Blessed Virgin depicted with the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Honored in Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church
Feast Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart
Attributes Burning bloodied heart, pierced with a sword, banded with roses, Lily Flowers
Patronage Alliance of Sacred Hearts, Russian Territories

The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all persons. [1] The consideration of Mary's interior life and the beauties of her soul, without any thought of her physical heart, does not constitute the traditional devotion; still less does it consist in the consideration of the heart of Mary merely as a part of her virginal body. The two elements are essential to the devotion, just as, according to Roman Catholic theology, soul and body are necessary to the constitution of man. In 1855 the Mass of the Most Pure Heart formally became a part of Catholic practice.

Eastern Catholic Churches occasionally utilize the image, devotion, and theology associated with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However, this is a cause of some controversy, some seeing it as a form of liturgical latinisation. The Roman Catholic view is based on Mariology, as exemplified by Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae[2] which builds on the total Marian devotion pioneered by Louis de Montfort.

Traditionally, the heart is depicted pierced with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven dolors of Mary. Also, roses or another type of flower may be wrapped around the heart.

Veneration[edit]

Veneration of the Heart of Mary is analogous to worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is, however, necessary to indicate a few differences in this analogy, the better to explain the character of Roman Catholic devotion to the Heart of Mary. The Devotion to the Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the "Divine Heart" as overflowing with love for humanity. In the devotion to the Mary, on the other hand, the attraction is the love of her Heart for Jesus and for God.[1]

A second difference is the nature of the devotion itself. In devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Roman Catholic venerates in a sense of love responding to love. In devotion to the Heart of Mary, study and imitation hold as important a place as love. Love is more the result than the object of the devotion, the object being rather to love God and Jesus better by uniting one's self to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues.[1]

History of devotion[edit]

Statue depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mary as described by Sr. Lucia of Fátima.

Scriptural basis[edit]

The history of the devotion to the Heart of Mary is connected on many points with that to the Heart of Jesus. The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. What was first excited was compassion for the Virgin Mother. The gospels recount the prophecy delivered to her at Jesus' presentation at the temple: that her heart would be pierced with a sword. This image (the pierced heart) is the most popular representation of the Immaculate Heart.

Some passages from the Old Testament are interpreted as referring to Mary, in whom they personify wisdom and her gentle charms. Such are the texts in which wisdom is presented as the mother of lofty love, of fear, of knowledge, and of holy hope.

St. John's Gospel further invited attention to Mary's heart with its depiction of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus' crucifixion. St. Augustine said of this that Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the cross; "she cooperated through charity in the work of our redemption".[1]

Another Scriptural passage that helps to illustrate the devotion was the report of Saint Luke, that Mary kept all the sayings and doings of Jesus in her heart, that there she might ponder over them.[3] Saint Ambrose, in his commentary on The Gospel of Luke, holds Mary up as the ideal of virginity, and Saint Ephrem poetically sings of the coming of the Magi and the welcome accorded them by the humble mother. In the New Testament Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of the angel who announced that she would become pregnant with Jesus, although she was still a virgin; the Magnificat is an expression of her humility. And in answering the woman who proclaimed his mother blessed, the Church Fathers understood this as an invitation to seek in Mary that which had so endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as the mother of Jesus. St. Leo said that through faith and love she conceived her son spiritually, even before receiving him into her womb,[3] and St. Augustine tells us that she was more blessed in having borne Christ in her heart than in having conceived him in the flesh.

Various saints[edit]

It is only in the twelfth, or towards the end of the eleventh century, that slight indications of a regular devotion are perceived in a sermon by St. Bernard (De duodecim stellis), from which an extract has been taken by the Church and used in the Offices of the Compassion and of the Seven Dolours. Stronger evidences are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or St. Bernard; and also in the large book "De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis" (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent, Penitentiary of Rouen in the thirteenth century.

In St. Mechtilde (d. 1298) and St. Gertrude (d. 1301) the devotion had two earnest adherents. A little earlier it had been included by St. Thomas Becket in the devotion to the joys and sorrows of Mary, by Blessed Hermann (d.1245), one of the first spiritual children of Saint Dominic, in his other devotions to Mary, and somewhat later it appeared in St. Bridget's "Book of Revelations". Johannes Tauler (d. 1361) beholds in Mary the model of a mystical soul, just as St. Ambrose perceived in her the model of a virginal soul. St. Bernardine of Siena (d.1444) was more absorbed in the contemplation of the virginal heart, and it is from him that the Church has borrowed the lessons of the second nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated to it his "Theotimus."

During this same period one finds occasional mention of devotional practices to the Heart of Mary, e.g., in the "Antidotarium" of Nicolas du Saussay (d. 1488), in Julius II, and in the "Pharetra" of Lanspergius. In the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, ascetic authors dwelt upon this devotion at greater length. It was, however, reserved to Saint Jean Eudes (d. 1681) to propagate the devotion, to make it public, and to have a feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autun in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses. He established several religious societies interested in upholding and promoting the devotion, of which his large book on the Coeur Admirable (Admirable Heart), published in 1681, resembles a summary. Jean Eudes' efforts to secure the approval of an office and feast failed at Rome, but, notwithstanding this disappointment, the devotion to the Heart of Mary progressed. In 1699 Father Pinamonti (d. 1703) published in Italian a short work on the Holy Heart of Mary, and in 1725, Joseph de Gallifet combined the cause of the Heart of Mary with that of the Heart of Jesus in order to obtain Rome's approbation of the two devotions and the institution of the two feasts. In 1729, his project was defeated, and in 1765, the two causes were separated, to assure the success of the principal one.

Related devotions[edit]

Seven Dolors[edit]

Traditional depictions of the IHM show it pierced with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven dolors of Mary. The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. There are devotional prayers which consist of meditation on her Seven Sorrows. One practice is to pray seven Hail Marys daily. The term "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary" refers to the combined devotion of both the Immaculate Heart and the Seven Sorrows of Mary as first used by the Franciscan Tertiary Berthe Petit.

Miraculous Medal[edit]

The Immaculate Heart pierced by a sword, appearing on the Miraculous Medal

Devotion to Mary's Heart has had a greater flowering following the manifestation of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830.[3] The Immaculate Heart is depicted on the Miraculous Medal,[4] pierced by a sword. The Sacred Heart of Jesus also appears on the medal, next to the Immaculate Heart, crowned with thorns. The M on the medal signifies the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross when Jesus was being crucified.

Five First Saturdays[edit]

Our Lady of Fatima asked that, in reparation for sins committed against her Immaculate Heart, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months a Catholic: go to Confession (within 8 days before or after the first Saturday); receive Holy Communion; recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep her company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. She promised that, whoever would ever do this, would be given at the hour of his death the graces necessary for salvation.[5]

Alliance with the Sacred Heart[edit]

The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is based on the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[6][7][8] The joint devotion to the hearts was first formalized in the 17th century by Saint Jean Eudes who organized the scriptural, theological and liturgical sources relating to the devotions and obtained the approbation of the Church, prior to the visions of Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque.[9][10][11]

In the 18th and 19th centuries the devotions grew, both jointly and individually through the efforts of figures such as Saint Louis de Montfort who promoted Catholic Mariology and Saint Catherine Labouré's Miraculous Medal depicting the Heart of Jesus thorn-crowned and the Heart of Mary pierced with a sword.[12][13][14] The devotions, and the associated prayers, continued into the 20th century, e.g. in the Immaculata prayer of Saint Maximillian Kolbe and in the reported messages of Our Lady of Fatima which stated that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be honored together with the Heart of Mary.[15][16]

Popes supported the individual and joint devotions to the hearts through the centuries. In the 1956 encyclical Haurietis Aquas, Pope Pius XII encouraged the joint devotion to the hearts. In the 1979 encyclical Redemptor Hominis Pope John Paul II explained the theme of unity of Mary's Immaculate Heart with the Sacred Heart.[17] In his Angelus address on September 15, 1985 Pope John Paul II coined the term The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and in 1986 addressed the international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal.[18][19][20][21]

Feast days[edit]

Fatima Statue of Pope Pius XII, who consecrated Russia and the World: Just as a few years ago We consecrated the entire human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so today We consecrate and in a most special manner We entrust all the peoples of Russia to this Immaculate Heart...

In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity at Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion. The two factors of this movement were, first of all, the revelation of the "miraculous medal" in 1830 and all the prodigies that followed, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly throughout the world and was the source of numberless alleged graces. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Universal Church.

During the third apparition at Fátima, Portugal on 13 July 1917, the Virgin Mary allegedly said that "God wishes to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart" in order to save souls from going into the fires of hell and to bring about world peace, and also asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Letter of 7 July 1952 Sacro Vergente, consecrated Russia to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

On 25 March 1984, Pope John Paul II fulfilled this request again, when he made the solemn act of consecration of the world, and implicitly Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary of Fatima brought to Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican for the momentous occasion. Sister Lúcia, OCD, then the only surviving visionary of Fátima, confirmed that the request of Mary for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was accepted by Heaven, and therefore, was fulfilled. Again on 8 October 2000, Pope John Paul II made an act of entrustment of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the new millennium.[22]

On August 2013, Pope Francis announced that he will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in October 13, 2013, as part of the Marian Day celebration that will involve the iconic statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima.[23]

Roman Catholic feast days[edit]

Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 to be celebrated on 22 August,[24] coinciding with the traditional octave day of the Assumption.[25] In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the day, Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means in practice that it is now held on the day before the third Sunday after Pentecost.[26]

At the same time as he closely associated the celebrations of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Queenship of Mary from 31 May to 22 August, bringing it into association with the feast of her Assumption.

Those who use the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal or an earlier one (but not more than 17 years before 1962) observe the day established by Pius XII.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Bainvel, Jean. "Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 20 Dec. 2012
  2. ^ Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae
  3. ^ a b c Mauriello, Rev. Matthew R., "Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary", University of Dayton
  4. ^ Glass, Joseph. "Miraculous Medal." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 20 Dec. 2012
  5. ^ First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  6. ^ Mary's Immaculate Heart by John F. Murphy 2007 ISBN 1-4067-3409-8 pages 59-60
  7. ^ Heart of the Redeemer by Timothy Terrance O'Donnell, 1992 ISBN 0-89870-396-4 page 272
  8. ^ Arthur Calkins, The Theology of the Alliance of the Two Hearts, Missio Immaculatae (English Edition) Year III, N° 4 (May to December 2007). [1]
  9. ^ Roman Catholic worship: Trent to today by James F. White 2003 ISBN 0-8146-6194-7 page 34
  10. ^ From Trent to Vatican II: historical and theological investigations by Raymond F. Bulman, Frederick J. Parrella 2006 ISBN 0-19-517807-6 page 182
  11. ^ Praying with the saints by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker 2001 ISBN 0-8294-1755-9 page 134
  12. ^ In Prayer With Mary the Mother of Jesus by Jean Lafrance 1988 ISBN 2-89039-183-3 page 310
  13. ^ Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints and Mysteries by Mary Ellen Hynes 2007 ISBN 1-56854-011-6 page 24
  14. ^ Butler's lives of the saints, Volume 12 by Alban Butler, Kathleen Jones, 2000 ISBN 0-86012-261-1 page 245
  15. ^ Youngest Prophet by Christopher Rengers 1998 ISBN 0-85342-815-8 page 38
  16. ^ The children of Fatima: Blessed Francisco & Blessed Jacinta Marto by Leo Madigan 2003 OSV Press ISBN 1-931709-57-2 page 248
  17. ^ Peter Stravinskas, 2002, Catholic Dictionary, OSV Press ISBN 978-0-87973-390-2 page 485
  18. ^ Pope John Paul II 1986 Speech at the Vatican Website
  19. ^ Arthur Calkins, The Alliance of the Two Hearts and Consecration, Miles Immaculatae XXXI (July/December 1995) 389-407. [2]
  20. ^ Proceedings of the International Theological Symposium on the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, September 1986, Fátima, Portugal
  21. ^ Vatican website: Pope John Paul II Angelus address of September 15, 1985 (Spanish and Italian)
  22. ^ Pope John Paul II, Jubilee of Bishops, Rome, October 8, 2000, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/homilies/2000/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20001008_act-entrustment-mary_en.html ; retrieved June 13, 2012
  23. ^ Catholic News Agency - Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  24. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 94
  25. ^ Compare 22 August in the Tridentine Calendar with the same date on the General Roman Calendar as in 1954
  26. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), pp. 94, 135

External links[edit]