The Feast of the Immaculate Heart


Susanna VanVickle // Genius of the Call

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June 20  

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, all his bitter anguish bearing . . . The Stabat Mater rings true for every mother whose heart has deeply shared the anguish of her own child’s sorrow. How often I am acutely aware of my connection to each child and his or her suffering! Though not directly touched by the circumstances or pain that has caused distress in my child’s life, my heart truly aches with that beloved of mine—and this continues even when they are grown. In the same way, the heart of Our Mother is inseparably linked to her son’s. So yesterday’s feast of the Sacred Heart and today’s memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Mother are given to us as a pair. What a treasure we have in these two hearts burning with perfectly pure love for each of us and our families!

Over fifteen years ago, my family welcomed a holy priest and two humble sisters clad in blue and white saris into the living room of our tiny rental home. My husband and I wrangled our three energetic toddlers, as Monsignor and his missionary companions led us through the ceremony of Enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was a joyous occasion and a landmark in the life of our domestic church. Through the years since that momentous day, our home, our family, and our lives have changed and grown, but the hearts of Jesus and Mary remain the focal point. The great peace we have experienced because of the enthronement compels us to share this blessing with other families. (Please, check out enthronement.org).

In today’s gospel, Saint Luke tells us that Mary experienced great anxiety when she and Joseph could not find Jesus, and that when they found him, they did not understand what he said to them (Lk 2:50). I love this peek into Our Lady’s motherhood journey. Being immaculate can make her seem so unrelatable, yet here we find her struggling through the age-old dilemma of a son who does not tell his parents exactly where he’s going or what he is up to. Maybe she was not a stranger to the confusion and surrender that comes with parenting after all. Despite having the perfect son and an almost-perfect spouse, Mary did not have it easy. She was completely human, and the things God was asking of her very often did not make sense, did not fit into the picture she had in mind. So, let us cling to her today and every day, asking her to help us accept, love, and believe, even when we do not understand.

 

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