On the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Shane Hyland, the Leader of Evangelisation at St Joseph’s Regional College reads from the Gospel of Luke (2:41-51) in which Mary and Joseph search for the child Jesus after he stays behind in Jerusalem after Passover without his parents knowing.

Shane notes, Mary is the only fully human person to love God perfectly. He says we celebrate this memorial not to romanticise Mary’s heart but to understand Mary as a model of obedience and love which we are called to imitate.

Mary experienced all the joy and sorrow of being human whilst her heart remained sinless. The roots of the devotion to Mary’s Heart are in Scripture, where on two occasions reference is made to Mary’s heart in the Gospel according to St Luke. We hear in it the story of the birth of Jesus where it says, ‘Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart’, a very human experience of Joy at the birth of a child.

We also hear in today’s Gospel reading about Mary and Joseph who are frantically searching for Jesus for three days, as a Father I know this would have been a very anxious time for Mary, but she responds to Jesus with patience and grace and the Gospel says, ‘His mother treasured all these things in her heart’.

We also know that as a mother, watching her Son die on the cross, her heart must have been broken and utterly filled with sorrow.

So today on this memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Shane says, we take her into our own hearts as we remember the single-mindedness with which she loved God and the disciples and devoted herself wholeheartedly to the saving work of her Son.

May we take Mary and her immaculate heart as our guide, and we ask Mary Mother of God … Pray for us!