By Father Ronan Murphy
In June, we honor both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The title “Immaculate” belongs to the whole being of our Mother, and not just to her heart. This title ‘Immaculate’ flows from God’s gift to her by becoming His Mother. “One is my dove, my perfect one and Thou art all fair my Love and there is not a spot in thee.” (Can 4:7)
Mary is, was, and always will be the “Immaculate One.” At Lourdes, she didn’t state: “I was the Immaculate Conception,” but rather “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Mary is all Immaculate, thus her heart is Immaculate. Our Lady has acquired for her heart not only the title “Immaculate’ but also the title of ‘Sorrowful,’ by sharing generously in all the sufferings of Christ’s heart and body from the crib to the cross. Because Adam and Eve together betrayed the world for one single forbidden fruit, so did Jesus wish that Mary, his Mother cooperate with him in redeeming it with one heart.
It is known that in the vision of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, 1830, the Sacred Heart, crowned with thorns, and the Immaculate Heart, transpierced by a sword of sorrow, were conjoined to show forth that both hearts were one in the work of our redemption. Thus, the title, “Sorrowful” belongs, therefore, to the Heart of Mary — a title that is dear to her because it springs from the union of her Immaculate Heart with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the redemption of humanity. Pope Benedict XV, back in 1915, granted a 100-day indulgence for every recitation of the invocation “Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.”
Just as Jesus willed an alliance of his Mother’s Immaculate Heart with his own in the work of Redemption, so too today, He wills a devotional alliance of the two hearts as symbolized on the back of the miraculous medal. He wills devotional practice to his Mother’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart alongside devotional practice to His own Most Sacred Heart.
In 1916, the Angel of Portugal appeared to three shepherd children and spoke about this devotional alliance of the two hearts. In his first apparition, he said to the three children that “the Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” During his second apparition, he told them: “The hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you.”
Then, at the angel’s third apparition, the children were taught to pray thus: “Through the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.”
On June 13, 1917, Our Lady said to Lucia at Fatima: “God wishes you to remain in the world for some time because He wants you to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart, for the Heart of Jesus wants my Immaculate Heart to be venerated by His side. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne.”
St. Jacinta, before she died, said to Lucia: “Soon I will go to Heaven. You will remain here to make it known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell everybody that God grants His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated by His side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace in the world, which has been a to her. O how I love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so very much.”
Just as devotion to the Sacred Heart entails reparation, so too devotion to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary entails reparation, thus the First Five Saturday Devotions of reparation. Mary gave birth to Jesus and it is to Mary, therefore, that we owe the Heart of Jesus. Thanks to her consent, He took upon Himself a human heart. But at the same time, it is to Jesus that we owe the heart of Mary. And so, in that sense also, the two Hearts are one Heart and they are one in their love.
Therefore, how could we make the first nine Friday devotions and neglect the first five Saturday devotions or vice versa? When we make the first nine Friday devotions, we console the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary by consoling Her Son’s Heart and when we make the First five Saturday devotions, we console the Sacred Heart of Jesus by consoling His Mother’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Let us who love Jesus and Mary — for one cannot love one without the other — thus enter into this devotional alliance of the two hearts. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us; Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for us!