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WHAT A WONDERFUL MOTHER WE ALL HAVE

Father Francis's picture
Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

It is fitting that we should remember the Immaculate Heart of His Blessed Mother today having celebrated the Sacred Heart of Jesus yesterday. Her pure heart is full of boundless love for God and for His children. Mary is our model of love because we are sinners and can never achieve her level of perfection but we must strive to follow her example.

Saint Alphonsus tells us that all the love of the angels and saints put together was less than the love that Mary had for God at the very first moment of her existence. What capacity of love she must have had! It was a humble and obedient love: at the Annunciation she described herself as the handmaid of the Lord, ready to do whatever her Father willed. It was a joyful and grateful love: in her song the Magnificat she expresses her delight and wonder at the great things God has done for her.

Mary’s love for each Person of the Blessed Trinity was unique. It was because she loved God so much that His Holy Spirit was able to conceive in her our Saviour Jesus and so she became the spouse of the Holy Spirit. The love that she had for Jesus was something very special: not only was He her beloved Son but also the longed-for Messiah who was to rescue the world from the grip of sin. But like the apostles Mary must have learnt from Jesus how to love and pray to the Father.

The Gospel story shows us the ways in which Mary loved Jesus. She trusted Him completely, even when His words and actions puzzled her: she never doubted Him but “pondered His words in her heart”. She was eager to share her faith with others as for example at the marriage feast at Cana, when she said, “Do whatever He tells you” to the stewards and to us. Finally, her love for Jesus was expressed through her loyalty to Him as she helped and supported Him during His ministry, and when He was arrested and condemned she never deserted Him: throughout His journey to Calvary she was at His side, sharing His pain, grieving for Him and faithfully remaining at the foot of the Cross.

If we find it difficult to say to God “Your will be done” it is because we do not love God enough. But Mary at every stage of her life, and especially at the difficult moments, could say them because of the unique love she had for God. She knew that God’s will would always be for her best. So we must look to Mary to help us say ‘Your will be done’ when we find life hard.

A special love in Mary’s life was her husband, Joseph. He had stood by her when she had conceived God’s Son and he provided for her and her Child. Her love for him was chaste and perfect. Words cannot describe the happiness of Mary and Joseph, sharing their life with Jesus.

Jesus wants us to love Him like His Mother did. We should trust Him, meditate on His words and strive never to do anything which might separate us from Him. If we truly love Him we will do whatever He tells us, and be prepared to take up our cross alongside Him. It was from the Cross that Jesus asked Mary to accept us as her children. Her generous heart gladly agreed and so we have a loving Mother in Heaven who cares for us just as she cared for Her Son Jesus. She loves us compassionately, sympathetically, without judging or rejecting us. In the words of Saint Bernard in his prayer, the Memorare, “it is a thing unheard of that anyone ever had recourse to her protection, implored her help or sought her intercession and was left unaided.” Mary loves each one of us as her children. Just like our heavenly Father does not want us to lose one of us, so too does she pray and long for each one of us to live with her in Heaven.

How can we return Mary’s love for us? She would like to see us being like her Son. Like all good mothers she wants her children to love each other. Let us allow Mary to be our teacher so that we may learn how to love each Person of the Blessed Trinity and each other.