June 25 — Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
As early as 1643, St. John Eudes and his followers observed 8 February as the feast of the Heart of Mary. In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity in Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pope Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion; the two factors of this movement were, first of all, the revelation of the ‘Miraculous Medal’ in 1830, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Catholic Church.
Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 to be celebrated on 22 August, coinciding with the traditional octave day of the Assumption. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means in practice that it is now held on the third Saturday after Pentecost.
His mother stored up all these things in her heart.
Whenever I read this passage, I always feel that Jesus’ reply seemed a bit indignant. When Mary asked, “See how worried your father and I have been,” I as a mother myself, can totally understand how she must have felt. I recalled how we had thought we lost our daughter once. We were frantic with fear for those few minutes as we searched for our daughter in the store. Thank God she was merely playing in the dressing room. When our children were still young, I always had this crazy fear of losing them for I have often heard of stories of child-napping. After all, I grew up at a time when that fear was very real. One story stayed. A mother one day thought she saw her son (this was many years later) begging in the streets of India and he had lost a limb. I can’t remember the details but to lose your child can feel like losing a limb and much more. For Mary to lose her son, Jesus, for three days must have been more than worrying.
Mary is truly a mother we should all emulate. Two instances in the bible – today’s gospel passage and the Wedding at Cana have shown me what kind of mother Mary was. Firstly, she never answers back. Secondly, she doesn’t scold nor corrects her son. Note that normal parents’ reaction would be to chide their child in relief (sounds familiar?) after what the child had put them through! Some parents would even slap or whack their child to reprimand them. Personally, I find the not-answering back really difficult. As my children are now older, they tend to answer me back or respond to my questions feeling annoyed. Their annoyance annoys me too. I have tried to zip my mouth many times but once in a while, I feel a strong need to tell them off — that their tone is rather rude. But of course, I try to tell them as calmly as possible, not in frustration. Patience hasn’t always been my virtue so Mary’s gentleness is something I aspire to have as a mother. I must say that my temper has pretty much been curtailed since my walk with Jesus got closer. When my No. 2 was younger, I used to scold without relenting. I regretted that very much and have since tried to make amends and peace with my daughter.
The heart of Mary is a pondering, loving and enduring one. From the moment Jesus was born, she had endured many hardships – from the stable, to the cross at Calvary. Her heart is bound by divine love and complete obedience to God, one that carried her through till the end in accordance to the will of God. I don’t think any mother can bear to see their child suffer — what more, tortured and crucified. There’s so much that Mary had to take in, often not understanding why. But rather than complain or blame, she “stored all these things in her heart”. So we too should do just that and, at the same time, turn to God to give us the strength and grace to get through.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)
Prayer: Dear Father, you have chosen this special woman, Mary, to be our mother. Let us imitate Mary’s heart bound by her faithfulness to her son Jesus.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for giving your mother to us. Thank you mama Mary, for listening and always interceding for us.