“And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them, and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51).
Yesterday, we celebrated the Sacred Heart of Jesus, today we are celebrating the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. What are the characteristics of the heart of Mary?
Mary was never proud. Mary acknowledged she was just a handmaid of God and she never went about seeking praise and exultation from her fellow women like the Pharisees who loved to be greeted obsequiously in the marketplaces.
As we see in today’s Gospel passage, Mary treasured everything in her heart. She practised the act of Contemplative Prayer which some saints have described as the most perfect form of prayer. In contemplation, we do not use words but simply centre ourselves in the presence of God pondering in our hearts what he says to us.
Mary had a PURE heart. It is as a result of Mary’s outstanding sinlessness that we refer to her heart as IMMACULATE. It was this purity of heart that made God fall in love with her as to choose her to be His mother. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us a secret; “Blessed are the Pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). Only a heart so pure can contain God as Mary did.
In order for us to grasp the beauty of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, our first reading today presents us with an example of its very opposite. King Joash suffers defeat from the Syrian army in fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah. Rather than listen to the words of Zechariah and repent, King Joash ordered that he be stoned not minding the fact that Zechariah’s father, Jehoiada had been kind to him
As we reflect on Mary’s Immaculate Heart, let us look at our own hearts. Is my heart like that of Mary or like that of King Joash? What efforts am I making to guard my heart from all defilements of evil? Is my heart clean enough to accommodate God? Am I willing to listen to the truth and change my ways? Or do I, like Joash seek to silence those who tell me the truth?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, cleanse my heart from all impurity and sinfulness. Amen. Bible Study: 2 Chronicles 24:17-25, Psalm 89, Luke 2:41-52).