Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, just yesterday we celebrated the great feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, but at the same time, we cannot forget Mary, His mother, who is often also depicted with a flaming heart just like that of Jesus. But while Jesus’ heart in the Most Sacred Heart iconography shows a wreath of the crown of thorns, the heart of Mary was pierced with a sword, which depicted the prophecy of Simeon the prophet, who predicted that Mary’ heart would be ‘pierced’ by a sword, that is her Immaculate Heart.
Yes, just as Christ is loving and filled with love, in His Most Sacred Heart, so does His mother too, with her Immaculate heart, for she was born without sin, in immaculate condition, and her heart was filled with pure joy and love of the Lord. That is what we are celebrating today, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Yet, just as I had mentioned it, that same heart, which is immaculate, pure beyond reasoning and filled with love, would have to be ‘pierced’ with a sword. Not in the literal meaning of course, as this sword represents the heart of Mary that was rendered to pieces in great pain as she watched her Son, our Lord Jesus in His Passion on the way to Calvary, suffering the sins of all mankind unto His death on the cross.
Imagine for all of you mothers out there, that when your children encounter something dangerous, or their lives are in great danger, I am sure that those who are mothers will immediately be faced with the greatest fear of their life. You all will be seized with fear, but even more so, with the feeling of love for your children, that great love bonded by ties of blood that is stronger than anything else, which links between mothers and their children. No mother will want to see her children suffer or face pain. True and loving mothers would even give themselves in place of their children, so that they may live instead of her.
Then, therefore, imagine Mary herself, our Lady, the Mother of Jesus, who had been given the good news by the Archangel Gabriel, that she would bear the great Son of God Most High, whom was to be the Messiah and Saviour of all mankind, the promised salvation that was pronounced through the countless prophets of the ages past. She bore Jesus for nine months in her womb, and with Joseph, her husband, she braved the pain of childbirth at that night in Bethlehem, until she gave birth to Jesus, our Lord and God.
She nurtured Him with love and compassion, and as perfect as a care that a mother can give to her child. With Joseph as the head of the family, they protected the infant Jesus from external dangers such as Herod by escaping to Egypt, and eventually settling down to a happy life in Nazareth, as a simple carpenter family.
But even from the very beginning, the baby that she had is indeed not any ordinary being, but the Lord Himself incarnate into a human being, the vessel of salvation, for through Jesus, the Lamb of God, salvation would come forth to all mankind. Ever since His birth, kings and wise men had pledged their fealty and praise by bringing Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna told her of the greatness that her Child would become and Simeon also foretold her about the sorrows that she would face later.
Mary watched Jesus grew up from being an infant, into an adolescent, during which time he was left behind in Jerusalem, when Mary in great fear, searched for her Child with Joseph, until they found Him in the Temple in Jerusalem. When Mary told Jesus about why He had made things difficult for His family, that was not a chastisement at all, neither was it a scolding. It was in fact the love that Mary has for her Son.
So much that she loves Him that she fears if anything were to happen to Jesus, a feeling that surely all the mothers out there would understand. None of us wants our children to be hurt or lost somewhere. We would do our best to galvanise all available forces until our child can be found, as if a great treasure had been lost.
Mary experienced a lot of strange occurences and happenings throughout her grooming of Jesus, but she did not question the Lord nor did she waver in her faith, but instead, she kept her faith strong, and kept everything in her heart. Indeed, such a great heart that our Blessed Virgin Mary has, to store all that feelings, anxiety, and emotions that she had for her Son in her Immaculate Heart!
She accompanied Jesus through His adulthood, through His ministry after the baptism at the Jordan, and she became the catalyst that allowed Christ to perform His first miracle at the wedding in Cana. Through her help, and her great concern for the wedding couple, she managed to persuade Christ to give them aid by performing the transformation of the water into wine, saving the wedding of the couple.
She accompanied Jesus through His last days on earth, in His Passion, and followed Him through the scourging and the condemnation, and unto Calvary below the cross, on which hung the Saviour of the world, made to suffer all the weight of the sins of the entire world, of all mankind past, present, and future. It is at that point, that the prophecy of Simeon came true, that a sword would indeed pierce her Immaculate Heart.
That great loving heart, and the heart that had accompanied the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, ever since His birth, now had to witness the cruelty through which Christ died on the cross for the salvation of mankind. She understood it as a part of God’s plan for salvation, for without the death of Christ, the Lamb of God, there can be no salvation. But imagine the great amount of pain that must have been inflicted to our Lady, seeing her Son mocked and insulted, and condemned to a criminal’s death on the cross.
And yet, despite all of that, she remained faithful to the Lord, and was as firm as ever in her mission entrusted to her by God. She had been faithful since the very beginning, when she accepted God’s will in making her the vessel through which the Saviour of the world would be born, and all the way until the end, she remained faithful. Truly, how great is our Lady and her Most wonderful Immaculate Heart, pure and loving, filled with all the warmth of God’s love, and in this heart we can see the great journey and struggle that our Lady had to go through, along with her Son, Jesus Christ, all the way to the end at Calvary.
Yet, as we know, everything did not end at Calvary, as Jesus our Lord rose again in glory on the third day after His death, and through His glorious resurrection, the salvation of mankind was fulfilled completely, and indeed, our Lady had a great part in this. Just as what we saw in the coat-of-arms of our late Blessed Pope John Paul II, of a cross with a letter M at the bottom. That ‘M’ is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who supported Jesus in His life, since His infancy, all the way to that sorrowful day on Calvary.
Jesus entrusted His mother to His disciple, John on that day, and also entrusted John to His mother. Through that act, therefore, He also made all of us, all mankind, the children entrusted to Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, all the love and warmth of the heart of Mary will be poured out to us, and her love will help us and guide us in a straight path to her Son, Jesus. It is indeed true, the saying that, “To Jesus, through Mary”.
Mary is our mother too, and just as she had cared for her Son, Jesus, she will also love and care for us. Pray to our Lady often, and ask her for her intercession for all of us sinners who are still suffering in this world, that just as at the wedding in Cana, she will also help intercede for our sake before her Son, that Jesus would show us His wonderful mercy.
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, the most wonderful heart of Mary, pierced by a sword of sorrow at the cruel death of Your Son, be with us and guide us in our own paths towards Your Son, that we will stay faithful, and that we will not inflict ever more wounds to increase the suffering of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for every sin that we commit is another wound that we add to the wounds of Christ.
Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you amongst women and blessed is the Fruit of your womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.