4 Ways to Love the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Written by catholicradio on August 22, 2022
“Tell everybody that God gives graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask graces from her and that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be venerated together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ask them to plead for peace from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Lord has confided the peace of the world to her.” –St. Jacinta of Fatima
The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Immaculate Heart of Mary has always been focused on Her Divine Son, which was predestined by God to suffer with Him for the salvation of mankind.
1. Learn the Symbolism
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary focuses on Mary’s love for God, her maternal love for her son, Jesus, and encourages us to imitate her humility, gratitude, obedience, and adoration. The roses surrounding Mary’s heart represent her sinlessness and purity, sweetness, and new life. The sword piercing the top of the heart represents her redemptive suffering as a “spiritual crucifixion.”
It was at the foot of the Cross that the Christian heart first made the acquaintance of the Heart of Mary. Simeon’s prophecy paved the way and furnished the devotion with one of its favorite formulae and most popular representations: the heart pierced with a sword. But Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the Cross; “she cooperated through charity“, as St. Augustine says, “in the work of our redemption.“
2. Pray with the Scriptures
What may come as little surprise is that “Immaculate Heart” doesn’t directly appear in the Scriptures. The Gospel of Luke, however, has the closest notable references to Mary’s heart: Luke 2:19, which concludes the story of the Magi’s visit to the infant Jesus and Luke 2:51, which serves as a half-sentence in the conclusion of the Infancy Narratives.
References to the Immaculate Heart of Mary found in the text of the New Testament:
- “Mary kept in mind all these things, pondering them in Her Heart” (Luke 2:19)
- “His Mother kept all these things carefully in Her Heart” (Luke 2:51b)
- “Your own soul, a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35)
3. First Saturdays Devotion
Beginning in May 1917, three children in Fatima, Portugal, received monthly visits from the Blessed Mother, ending on Oct. 13, 1917. One message contained within Mary’s six apparitions was related to the Immaculate Heart. She asked that devotion to her Immaculate Heart be established, and she prophesied that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart would triumph.
One way Fatima promoted devotion to the Immaculate Heart was through the observance of the Five First Saturdays, which were meant to make reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To observe the First Saturdays, a person must:
- Go to Confession
- Receive Holy Communion
- Pray the rosary
- Meditate on the mysteries of the rosary
4. Marian Consecration
Centuries before the Fatima apparitions, another great Marian saint, St. Louis de Montfort, promoted total consecration to Jesus through Mary. During the same period as the Fatima event, the Polish Franciscan St. Maximilian Kolbe also promoted and taught Marian consecration. We can view Marian consecration as a way for us to give our hearts to Mary, and in doing so, also to God.
Those who chose to employ this form of Marian devotion to the Immaculate Heart often will undertake a time of spiritual preparation, either using works from St. Louis de Montfort or St. Maximilian Kolbe or by reading 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC.
This preparation culminates in praying the prayer of consecration on a Marian feast day. After one’s consecration, a person might renew their consecration daily. One daily prayer consecrates our heart to the Blessed Mother:
My Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you; and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve.
The relationship between Jesus, Mary and His Church was the central passage of St. John Paul II’s encyclical letter Redemptoris Mater, which sets out the strong biblical and theological foundations for why total consecration to Mary is at the heart of the Christian life. So much did St. John Paul II believe this that he took St. Louis De Montfort’s short prayer of consecration to Mary as his papal motto: Totus Tuus [sum Maria].
Join Us In Prayer
Novena Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer. As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son. Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially …(state the special intention).
We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer. We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting. Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever, Amen.