There are many devotions in the Holy Catholic Church, all of which lead us to Christ. None of them exist for any purpose other than to help us to know Jesus, to love Jesus, and to serve Jesus in this world, so that we get to spend a blissful eternity with Him in Heaven, forever. The purpose of this article is to highlight one of my favorite ones: the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The old canard that “Mary’s dead” is so wrong. Luke 20:38 says that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, The great cloud of witnesses, what we call the Communion of Saints, is not a huge pile of corpses. So many non-Catholics confuse asking Mary to pray for us, with necromancy, which is divining up the dead to obtain hidden knowledge about the future, like King Saul did with the witch of Endor but this is wrong. If Jesus can talk to the dead on earth, and Peter can talk to the dead on earth, then we can certainly talk to the living in heaven which is not bringing them back from the dead to obtain arcane knowledge. St. Paul recommends intercessory prayer as being good, and this is all we do when we ask the Mother of Jesus to pray for us. After all, James 5:16 says that the prayers of a holy person are very powerful, and aside from Jesus, no one is holier than someone who is in heaven, especially Mary, blessed is she among all women, whom God chose from among all humans from all time to be the Mother of Jesus and the spouse of the Holy Spirit.
Mary at Fatima
Mary’s apparition at Fatima in 1917 is a private devotion, and as such, is not part of the deposit of faith in the Catholic Church. But the Church has approved it as being authentic, and we are free to accept it if we so desire, and all that it teaches. The reason I believe it to be true is because of the miracle of the sun, witnessed by 70,000 people and reported on in the secular newspaper of the day. Her prediction about a worse war breaking out when a strange light is seen also came true in 1939. One of the things that Mary said at Fatima is that, in the end, “My Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
The Heart of Mary in Scripture
Sacred Scripture does mention the heart of Mary twice, and it implies it in another place
Luke 2:19: “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Luke 2:35: “(And a sword shall pierce your own soul also) that the thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”
Luke 2:51: “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them, and his mother kept all these things in her heart.”
Here the Bible teaches us that to be like Mary is to ponder and to keep Jesus in our hearts, and that is a great thing. The alternative, of course, is to ponder worldly things in our hearts. We also learn that Mary suffered greatly during Jesus’ passion (that is the sword piercing her soul) so that the thoughts of our own hearts may be revealed. This is why Mary is known as the Queen of Martyrs, because as Jesus suffered in the body during His Passion, Mary suffered very much in her soul and in her sorrowful heart.
Some people are afraid that being close to Mary will lead them away from Christ. But this is totally false. Mary is so meek and humble that she will always lead you to Christ. Her mission was, and is, to bring Christ into the world: the first time He came, physically; and in His second coming, spiritually. Being close to Mary is the best way to be one with Christ, in the most efficient and loving manner possible.
An important thing to remember here is that if we have a strong devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she, in turn, will have a strong devotion to us! What this means is that she will help guide us away from temptation, sin, the carnal allurements of the world, and the snares of the devil, so as to lead us to her Son. Those evil things that Satan had planned for us had we not become attached to Mary will now not happen to us. Those evil people the devil had planned for us to meet will now remain unmet. Instead, good and holy people will come our way. She will do all of this better and faster than any other method there is out there to find Christ. After all, if your spouse, if your priest, if your friend, or if some stranger at your door can lead you to Christ even though they are all sinful, how much faster can the sin-free Blessed Virgin Mary lead you to Jesus. If one is lost in the world, what better method is there to find your way than to obtain a guide who already knows the way? That guide would be Mary, who knows Jesus, the Way, and the Truth and the Life, better than anyone who ever lived. Her loving Immaculate Heart which loves Christ with an infinite love now starts to take over our sinful hearts with that same love.
It’s also important to remember that Mary was, and is, filled with the Holy Spirit, so when Mary is close to you, her spouse, the Holy Spirit, is also close to you. The Holy Spirit loves a soul who is devoted to His spouse. And according to Acts 1:8, you have power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. His great gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, piety, fortitude, and fear of offending the Lord are now yours for the asking.
The Bible says in Mark 10:15 that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Now, what exactly do little children all have in common? A great love for their mother! And we know from John 19:27 that Jesus gave us His mother from the cross, because like John, we are disciples of Christ, and we take Mary into our home. And what do mothers do for their children? They clean them up and feed them and teach them right from wrong. Mary inspires us to go to confession more frequently which cleans us up, inspires us to go to daily Communion which feeds us, and teaches us her virtues while helping us not to sin which teaches us right from wrong.
Consecration to Jesus through Mary
To be consecrated to Jesus through Mary is a great way to be devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This way, everything you do is in the context of being a voluntary slave to Mary and her Son Jesus. After all, Jesus chose to come into the world through Mary; so the best way to reach Jesus is through Mary, His motherly conduit from Heaven to the world. Her virtues of angelic sweetness, ardent charity, blind obedience, constant mental prayer, divine purity, divine wisdom, heroic patience, lively Faith, profound humility, and universal mortification now start becoming your virtues. Her infinite love for her Son now starts to overwhelm you, so that you begin to have an infinite love for Jesus too. Meditating on the Passion of Jesus now starts to become second-nature to you, and that is very pleasing to Christ.
The devotion to Mary is never an end unto itself; rather, it is a means to lead one to Christ the fastest and best way possible. Soon, you will develop a hunger for the daily bread of the Eucharist, a new awareness of your sinfulness and increased repentance for your sins, more frequent confessions, and a deep hunger to let go of the things of this world while desiring to seek eagerly the things of heaven. That secret sin that you are addicted to will now start to dissipate and go away. This is what happened to all of the saints while they were alive, so you will be in great company, both now and in the hereafter.
The Daily Offering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and suffering of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians;
I offer them for the intentions of our Bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.
Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.
O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.
We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.
–Venerable Pope Pius XII
Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate heart of Mary, Pray for our dear country.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Sanctify our clergy.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Make our Catholics more fervent.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Guide and inspire those who govern us.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Cure the sick who confide in thee.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Console the sorrowful who trust in thee.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Help those who invoke thine aid.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Deliver us from all dangers.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Help us to resist temptations.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain for us all we lovingly ask of thee.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Make our family life holy.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Help those who are dear to us.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Bring back to the right road our erring brothers.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Give us back our ancient fervor.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain for us pardon of our manifold sins and offenses.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Bring all men to the feet of thy Divine Child.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Obtain peace for the world.
As St. Gabriel once said, “Hail FULL of Grace!”