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Why Mary’s Picture Hangs In a Catholic Home

February 20, AD2014

You’ve seen pictures of the Immaculate Heart of Mary beside the Sacred Heart of Jesus in many Catholic homes. In our home, the “alliance of the two hearts” devotion, (as it is popularly called) is not just a design fix to balance out our fireplace mantle decor.  Mary is enthroned with Jesus after a solemn ceremony based on theologically sound reasons for Mary’s role in our family:  she is our mother, queen and intercessor.

1. Mary is Our Mother

Mary was shared with us when Jesus presented her to St. John at the foot of the cross, “Son, behold thy mother.”  Just as St. John obeyed Jesus and took Mary into his home, we do, too. Thus, Mary’s portraits beautify our walls the way a picture of my mother and mother-in-law remind our family of the mothers who have passed on to us remarkable faith and assure us of their constant support, guidance and intercession.  Mary’s picture is bigger, more ornate and recurs in more rooms, because we love and venerate her, and want to be constantly reminded of her motherly love for us.

2. Mary is Our Queen

In Fatima, Portugal, June 13, 1917, Mary confided to Servant of God Lucia Dos Santos, why she came to earth:  “Jesus wishes to establish throughout the world a devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” Devotion to Mary was the brainchild of her son, Jesus, and the plan was within the will of God. Further, St. Jacinta Marto told Lucia before her death, “Tell them that the heart of Jesus wishes that by his side should be venerated the heart of Mary.”  This reference to the Sacred Heart recalls Jesus’ apparition and promise to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque: “I will bless every place where the image of my Sacred Heart is exposed and venerated.”

From these private revelations, we glean the unique relationship between Jesus’ Sacred Heart and Mary’s Immaculate Heart.  Jesus is the King of Heaven, and like earthly kings, Jesus ordained a queen to be a mother to His children, the Church. Jesus, in His divine wisdom, chose His Immaculate Mother, the most perfect of creatures, to be Queen of Heaven.  Mary is Queen by virtue of her being the Mother of the God-Man. She is our Queen, because Jesus offered her help to us.  In Jesus’ desire to reign with His chosen Queen, He bestowed on her corresponding queenly powers. St. Bernard of Siena said: “All gifts, virtues, and graces of the Holy Ghost are administered by the hands of Mary to whomsoever she desires, when she desires, and in the manner she desires, and to whatever degree she desires.”

When we declare Mary as our Queen, and enthrone her beside Our King, we give her freedom as Jesus wished, to exercise her sovereignty over us, confident that she will guide us to her son Jesus Christ.   Blessed John Paul II said: “Among all creatures, no one knows Christ better than His Mother, no one can introduce us to a more profound mystery better than [Mary].” This explains why Marian devotees almost always have a devotion to the Eucharist.

3. Mary is Our Intercessor

The Wedding Feast at Cana emphasizes Mary’s great role as intercessor, when she obtained a grace from Jesus for a couple who gained her motherly care and sympathy.  Even though Jesus was inclined not to grant a petition, the power of Mary’s successful intervention encourages us to trust in our mother and queen with our needs as well.

Mothers often claim they don’t have favorites among their children, or that they don’t love one more than the other.  But any mother knows the relationship with each child is as different as their personalities and virtues. Our Blessed Mother loves those who humbly trust and obey her as much as those who are indifferent to her.  She would never favor a president over a refugee.  But the children who are used to confiding in her, study and follow her example, and ply her with “Hail Marys” of the Rosary, (which she requested to be said daily at Fatima), have a distinct advantage over those who don’t venerate her.  When those very same children implore her intercession, or Mary recognizes a need, she will use her exceptional place in heaven beside Jesus to stop at nothing to secure help for us, and she will know how to reach and influence us with heaven’s answers, because of her prior experience and established relationship with us.

Having Mary as intercessor doesn’t imply that all our petitions will be granted favorably or that family life will be cross-free.  It simply means that Mary will disperse tailor-made graces that will help us on our goal of reaching heaven and becoming saints.  If God’s answer to our prayers is “wait,” we will receive patience. If God’s answer is “no”, we will receive another grace and consolation to help us become more like Christ. If God’s answer is “yes,” we thank Mary for the gift for St. John Mary Vianney said, “No grace comes from heaven without passing through her hands. . . All the saints of heaven have a great devotion to Our Lady.”

© 2014. Anabelle Hazard. All rights reserved.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Anabelle Hazard is a practicing Catholic, non-practicing attorney, learning homeschooler, penniless novelist (of Catholic novels “Written in the Sand and Stars” & “Fireflies Dance”), and unpredictable blogger at Written By the Finger of God.

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  • David Peters

    Anabelle thank you for this article. It was well thought out and stated. I have to admit though that due to my non-Catholic background parts of it were difficult. The quotes from St. Bernard and St. John Mary Vianney were especially challenging. I do understand Our Lady being both Mother to us and an intercessor, but the rest I will have to pray about and do research on. I will have to look at this closer, and your article helped me to realize that. Thanks again.

    • Anabelle Hazard

      You’re welcome Peter. I was not a Marian Catholic until I read “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort.

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  • johnnysc

    “This explains why Marian devotees almost always have a devotion to the Eucharist.”

    Absolutely…..The Adoration chapel I attend has a little shelf with many Rosary beads available for anyone to use. Thank you for a very nice article.

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  • newguy40

    I’ve recently come to realize that I have more images or at least as many of Mary as I do of Jesus. Not sure what that means.

    I have a crucifix above the front door lintel. But, I have a statue of Mary (along with St Michael) on a nearby shelf. In my bedroom I have one icon of Mary and baby Jesus along with a couple of older statues of Mary that came with my wife 😉

    At work, I have small statue of St Joseph (with baby Jesus in his arm), a magnet image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and some holy cards of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    Keeping these images close by helps me remain recollected. The images are a reminder for simple silent prayer.

    Ad Jesu par Mariam says it all, IMO.