Traditionally, the month of August has been dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The image of Mary’s Immaculate Heart depicts her heart on fire with love for God, yet pierced by a sword in sorrow for the suffering Her Son endures for our sins. The suffering experienced by Mary was predicted by Simeon and recounted in the Gospel of Luke. When Mary presented baby Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, she and Joseph met Simeon who blessed the holy family and said to Mary, “Behold this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
While devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary started in the middle ages, it strengthened after Mary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré in 1830. Mary appeared standing on a globe, light streaming from her fingers and enframed in an oval frame with the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee” (see images above). The whole vision “turned” showing the back of the oval inscribed with the letter “M” entwined with a Cross, the heart of Jesus surrounded with thorns, and the heart of Mary pierced with a sword. Mary told St. Catherine to make a medal in this form (known as the “Miraculous Medal”) and said all who wore it properly after having it blessed would receive graces. Wearing the Medal is a common devotion to the Immaculate Heart.
Though these devotions may seem quaint or old-fashioned in a world of social media, celebrity “worship,” consumerism and materialism, faith never goes out of style. The message Mary has for the world has always been the same: “Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you.” The heart of a mother is always full of love for her child. Her heart aches when her child is hurting. And since we are – by virtue of our baptisms – daughters and sons of God, then the Mother of God is our dear mother as well. Despite our busy lives, we need Mary’s direction towards Her Son now more than ever.
Below are some ideas for celebrating the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
IDEAS FOR ADULTS & FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
- Learn more about the practice of First Friday and First Saturday devotions, and consider practicing them in some form in your family. You can find a ritual for the First Friday Devotion at Catholic News Agency. You’ll find the full First Saturdays Act of Reparation at Wikipedia.
- Read the Scripture readings of the day, which you can find in the bulletin or at the U.S. bishops’ website, usccb.org. The readings for the solemnity include a beautiful Sequence that you can sing or pray before your evening meal.
- Consecrate your family to the Immaculate Heart of Mary using the act of consecration found below.
- Cap your celebration with a heart-shaped cake or other heart-themed goodies. Use the time to talk about why Catholics practice devotion to the Immaculate Heart.
An Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. Amen.
This article is a summary from one posted at Diocesan.com and pbgrace.com.