22 Aug The Immaculate Heart of Mary
Today is the feast day of The Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ora pro nobis.
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Our Lady at Fatima told us: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” There are three elements here to be analyzed: What is the Heart of Mary? How does the term immaculate apply to it? How will it triumph?
I believe that in this case to triumph is to reign. Thus, the triumph of Our Lady will be established when she will reign over the world. Let us look at the titles, then, that allow Our Lady to be Queen of all of Creation and how this reign will become effective through her Immaculate Heart.
The right of Our Lady to be Queen
We know that Our Lady by right is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. She has this right for two reasons: First, because she is the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the King of all creation. Her situation is somewhat similar to a queen mother in countries with a monarchical structure. Second, Our Lady is Queen because God granted her an actual rule over Heaven and earth. She has power over the Angels, Saints, souls in Purgatory, everyone on earth, and even over the devils and condemned souls in Hell.
A queen mother is not properly speaking a reigning queen. She receives royal honors, but she does not reign. For example, Queen Elizabeth in England, the late mother of Queen Elizabeth II, was the Queen-Consort because she was married to George VI. When the King passed away, the royal power passed to her daughter, and she became the Queen-Mother. Her whole life she received royal honors, but she never exercised royal power. On the other hand, Queen Elizabeth II is a Queen who reigns; that is to say, she reigns with that small amount of power still remaining to the Sovereign of England.
Our Lady is not only a Queen-Mother because she is the Mother of Our Lord, but also she is a Queen who reigns because God granted her this royal power.
A power exercised from heart to heart
How does she exercise this power? She applies it by the action of her heart over the hearts of all rational creatures. The heart, as you know, is a physical organ that symbolizes the mentality of a person, the way a person sees and does all things.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is an expression of the most wise and pure mentality of Our Lady that, among other things, symbolizes her ineffable goodness, her incomparable sweetness and her endless mercy. For these reasons, the Angels and Saints of Heaven love her intensely, as much as it is proper to love someone other than God.
The result of this love is such that she reigns over them, her heart wields a power over their hearts, her mentality exerts an influence over their mentality so that her way of seeing and doing things become a norm of wisdom for them to follow. Her most pure will, immaculate and spotless, becomes the rule to guide their wills, so that even if God’s command to obey her should cease to exist, they would continue to love her with the same intensity.
By an action of her heart over other hearts, Our Lady dominates Heaven. She also dominates Purgatory. Indeed, the souls of Purgatory also can no longer sin. They have the guarantee of Heaven. There is no risk that a soul in Purgatory could revolt against the extreme sufferings it endures. Those souls are confirmed in grace and strive to model their lives on Our Lady, to think what she thinks and to wish what she wishes. They live for her, and when at times she appears in Purgatory, they have an indescribable joy and sing her glory amidst their sufferings. She always returns to Heaven with many of these souls in Purgatory, and leaves behind for the souls who remain a supernatural dew that diminishes their chastisements, increases their hope and softens their pains. It is also from heart to heart that Our Lady reigns over those souls, and not just by a decree of God.
The authority of the Immaculate Heart over the world
What about things on this earth? On earth we have the sad liberty, which in fact is slavery, to not do the will of God. Like tyrants, our passions drag us to do things we know we should not do. They generate that sad liberty we have to say ‘no’ to God.
Notwithstanding, these passions exist and we have to fight against them. We can only be liberated from our slavery to these passions by a grace coming from Our Lady. Only with her help can we diminish and even extinguish the dominion of our passions over our wills. Without it, we are the slaves of our defects and vices.
On earth, then, there is the fight between those who obey and those who do not obey Our Lady. She has the right, however, to be obeyed by everyone. She is by right the Queen of the entire world. But because of free will, persons can choose to disobey her, and many actually do so.
How does the Immaculate Heart of Mary make its authority effective throughout the world? Our Lady touches the hearts of people, sending them abundant graces so that many will follow her. This is not an automatic process, of course. Many persons resist those graces; but countless others, because of those graces, stop sinning and move toward the service of Our Lady.
These graces invite our hearts to see the Heart of Mary, to know and love the wisdom and adamantine purity that emanates from her entire person. This is the way she makes herself obeyed by us.
Her Heart, therefore, is the scepter by which she governs all those who obey her on this earth.
Her power over the Devil and his cohorts
It is clear that Our Lady also exerts her power over the Devil. For example, Anne Catharine Emmerick reports this horrible fact. When Our Lord was crucified, the Devil wanted to impose a final humiliation on Him. After Our Lord had been nailed on the Cross and as it was being raised up to stand before the sight of all, for a moment the Cross vacillated and seemed as if it might fall forward. The Devil was planning to push the Cross down to the ground so that with the weight of His Person plus the heavy wood, Our Lord would fall on His Face and completely smash it.
When Our Lady realized the plan of the Devil, she simply gave the command: “No. This I do not permit.” That is, the case was finished. There was no more discussion. Satan was forbidden to make this affront, and so the horrible deed was not done. She permitted everything that was necessary for the Redemption of mankind, but that supreme humiliation was not necessary. So she gave the command that the Devil had no choice but to obey. She has power over the Devil and his cohorts.
By right Our Lady has power over all. At times, she compels this empire by her will and none can resist. At other times her rule becomes effective not by an action of her will over the evil ones, but through the love she communicates to many good souls.
The devotion of the Counter-Revolution
This is how Our Lady reigns through her Immaculate Heart. When her reign over the good spreads throughout the world, we will have the triumph predicted in Fatima. This will be the victory of the Royal, Wise and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Being wise, Our Lady is against all vain pride; being immaculate, she is against sensuality. Therefore, devotion to the Heart of Mary from this perspective is par excellence the devotion of the Counter-Revolution, since the Revolution is moved forward by pride and sensuality. Those two points that the Revolution hates most, wisdom and purity, must be the points that are most strongly affirmed by counter-revolutionaries.
Our prayer on this feast day should be: “Make our hearts like unto thy Heart.” This does not imply some vague similarity. It means to make our hearts as closely identified as possible to her Immaculate Heart, insofar as it is in the plans of God. “Make me wise, according to thy wisdom. Make me pure with a purity partaking of thy own purity.”
We may add: “My Mother, I am not strong enough to give myself to thee. Enter into my soul with graces that I am unable to resist, shatter this door that in my misery I do not want to open. I will be awaiting thee behind that door with all my appreciation and gratitude.” (1)
Mary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré standing on a globe, rays of light streaming from her fingers, enframed in an oval frame inscribed with the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” The whole vision “turned” showing the back of the oval inscribed with the letter “M” entwined with a Cross, and the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded with thorns, the latter pierced with a sword. 12 stars circled this oval frame. Mary told her to strike a medal in this form — a medal now known as the “Miraculous Medal” — and that all who wore it properly after having it blessed would receive graces. The wearing of the Miraculous Medal has become one of the most common devotions to the Immaculate Heart.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart became even more popularized after Mary's appearing to the three young shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 (before the Russian Revolution), when she asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart to prevent the spread of “the errors of Russia.” Eight years later, in 1925, Mary appeared to one of the visionaries — Lucia, who'd since become a nun — and requested reparations for the various ways in which her Immaculate Heart was offended — such as attacks against her Immaculate Conception, virginity and divine maternity, and for those who teach their children contempt of Mary or who insult her by desecrating her images.
To make these reparations, she asked that we do 5 things, all with the intention of making reparation to her Immaculate Heart:
- recite at least Five Decades of the Rosary every day
- wear the Brown Scapular
- offer our daily duty to God as an act of sacrifice (ie., make the Morning Offering)
- make Five First Saturdays of Reparation to Her Immaculate Heart (see below)
- the Pope, in union with all the bishops of the world, must consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Russia would be converted through this means, and a period of peace to be given to the world. If this is not done (and it hasn't been done), Russia will “spread her errors throughout the world.” This consecration must be of Russia — not “the world,” but Russia by name.
The “First Saturdays of Reparation” was not a new devotion, but it was even more popularized after Our Lady appeared at Fatima. It consists of, on the first Saturday of each month for five consecutive months:
- going to Confession (may be 8 days before the Saturday as long as one stays in a state of grace)
- receiving the Eucharist
- praying 5 decades of the Rosary, including the Fatima Prayer
- “keeping her company” for 15 minutes while meditating on all of the Mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to her. This can be done by reading Scripture or other writings relevant to the Mysteries, meditating on pictures of the Mysteries, or simple meditation.
The promise given by Mary to those who make the First Saturday devotion is her assistance at the hour of their death. (2)
Image: The Heart of Mary, artist: Leopold Kupelwieser, circa 1796-1862. photo by Diana Ringo (5)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff