Saturday after Corpus Christi Immaculate Heart of Mary
Saint of the Day (Date varies)
The Story of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
In the 17th century, Saint John Eudes promoted devotion to the hearts of Jesus and Mary. He even composed an Office and Mass in honor of the Heart of Mary. It became a feast of the universal Church only in the 20th century and is celebrated on the day after the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The New Testament mentions Mary’s heart only twice. Luke 2:19 says, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Luke 2:51 has a similar text.
Both in Scripture and in later reflections on Mary’s heart, it is obvious that the usage is symbolic. The physical heart stands for the inner reaches of the human personality. It includes or connotes the mind, the soul, the will, the spirit, the core of one’s being. It is the place where a person thinks, remembers, feels, desires, makes decisions.
Medieval saints such as Mechtild, Gertrude (November 16) and Bridget (July 23) promoted devotion to the heart of Mary. Franciscan and Jesuit theologians made their contributions. Saint Francis de Sales (January 24) dedicated his Treatise on the Love of God to Mary’s heart. But it was Saint John Eudes (August 19) who wrote extensively about this theme. He says that the divine Word printed on Mary’s heart a perfect likeness of the divine attributes and a share in the properties of each person of the Trinity.
Perhaps this devotion came into its own in the 20th century. It is a special theme of Fatima. In 1942, Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and established this feast for the universal Church.
To honor Mary’s heart is to honor her total dedication to God. As she pondered in her heart the mysteries of Jesus’ infancy and childhood (Luke 2:19,51), she must have done the same for all the mysteries of his life, death and resurrection. This feast suggests that Mary is the greatest of the mystics—totally wrapped up in God and committed to God’s will. Her spirituality is a model for all the members of the Church.