TOROK: The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a gift for all

August 17, 2021

(Photo by TheRunnerUp, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Over the years, I have met and talked to youth who have a devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In sharing their devotion, these youth serve as a wonderful example and blessing.

I, too, have experienced great love and relationship with the Blessed Mother. Through intercessory prayer, she has helped me gain great strength and growth in my faith. It is in prayer with Mary that I have found comfort, peace and joy.

The love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is offered to all of us.

So, what does it mean to have a devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? As a young girl, Mary loved God so much that she followed and lived God’s will for her.

During God’s call to Mary, she responds, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

After the events of Jesus’ birth, the Gospel tells us Mary kept her longing for God’s will in her heart: “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19). We also know Mary was born without sin. Therefore, her heart is immaculate; she has an unfailing love for all of God’s people because they are God’s people. The heart of Mary’s mission is to lead all people to her Son’s Sacred Heart.

Therefore, a person devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a person who appeals to Mary’s loving heart for intercessory prayer to her Son and strives to follow the example of the first disciple, the Mother of Jesus.

Mary’s participation in God’s longing to reconcile the whole world to Himself can be seen in her birth to the Son. Her “yes” is the action of that profound love. Her constant prayer and trust in God is an indication of her wholehearted love for God. This is a prime implication for holding a devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

This devotion is an act of striving to be the disciple Mary models for us as well as sharing in her love of God with others.

In Luke’s Gospel, Simeon refers to Mary’s heart being pierced with a sword. St. Augustine says Mary was not passive: “She cooperated through charity. She suffered the pain and joys of her Son’s life, death and resurrection.”

She leads us to her Son’s perfect and redeeming love.

A simple way to express our devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary today is to begin by loving everyone as Mary and Jesus do.

Perhaps we can avoid temptations to judge and instead look for the goodness God created in each one of us and praying for each other’s continued conversion in Christ. By showing love, we cooperate in God’s divine plan for reparation, reconciling ourselves to Christ through love. If we live in God’s love, it will be a love between God and me, but it will also be a sharing of God’s love with others. Mary is a perfect example of that solidarity with all of God’s people. We, too, can emulate that love for all.

We can conclude that the Immaculate Heart of Mary began as a gift to God, who became a gift for all.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. 

Norma Torok is a retired associate director of the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.