The Immaculate Heart of Mary
Isaiah 69: 9 – 11; Ps: 1 Samuel 2; Luke 2: 41 – 51
As the Sacred Heart is the symbol of Jesus’ interior life, so the Immaculate Heart is the symbol of Our Lady’s interior life. Someone has written that her Immaculate Heart speaks of her virginal love of God the Father, her maternal love of her Son, her spousal love of the Holy Spirit, and her motherly and compassionate love for all humankind – surely, a fullness of life.
She is the one who is full of grace – her heart is completely open to the inspirations of the Spirit, a heart that ponders the events of her life. Her first recorded words in the Gospel of St. Luke “let it be done as you say” mark her whole life. It is through this pondering of her call, of Jesus’ birth, of Simeon prophecy, of her divine Son’s words, miracles, passion, death, resurrection and ascension, all treasured in the heart that Mary advances in the unique mystery of her sinless conception and her privileged motherhood – she is on a unique, personal journey, like no other
The words of Isaiah are fulfilled in her: “As the earth brings forth its plants and a garden makes its growth spring up, so will the Lord God make justice and praise spring up before all the nations.” She who is named by Gabriel as “Full of Grace” is supremely filled with such justice and praise.
And just as Mary advanced in the grace of her Immaculate Heart so did Jesus, her Son in His sacred humanity. There are two explicit references: St. Luke – “…He advanced in wisdom, age and grace…” and in the Epistle to the Hebrews – “..He learned obedience from what He suffered. Jesus reflected, pondered, listened – surely He learned from His mother, her words, example, teaching. In His life, Jesus reflected on His Father, on the events of His life so that He could say, “I can only do what I see the Father doing…I can only say what I hear the Father saying.”
So with us – our reception of Baptism, a ritual celebrated only once but a lifelong journey of advancing into the grace of our adoption into God. Jesus and Mary show us the way – the way of prayerful reflection, of silent pondering, of desired listening on the events of our lives, on our experiences of grace, of mercy, of love all of which moves us on. This is the sacred vocation of receptivity beneath any vocation, beneath our monastic vocation.
Pope Benedict XVI commented that in a world so estranged from God “it is easy to become a plaything of chance and exist superficially” – this is a kind of death, a life of stagnation, a life of aimless pursuits looking for compensations, for highs – never really satisfied and victimized by life. God preserve us from such!
Like the disciple who pleaded, “Lord, show us the way!”, we ask and the Lord has answered, “Look to Me…Look to your Mother!”