Mary stored all these things in her heart

After Fr Paul reads today’s gospel (Luke 2:41-51) he draws our attention to the last line… ‘His mother, Mary, stored all these things in her heart’. As we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fr Paul acknowledges these words as the scriptural basis for this memorial.

We celebrate this memorial because it refers to the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary – her joys and her sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections and, above all, it celebrates her love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for all people.

Today’s Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, like yesterday’s celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, began in the Middle Ages. The devotion to Our Lady grew thanks to St John Eudes (1601-1680), who made the devotion public and had a feast celebrated in honour of the heart of Mary for the first time in 1648. This continued to happen in a number of dioceses throughout France.

In 1805, Pope Pius VII allowed for a feast in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the devotion continued to grow, becoming even more popular with the miraculous medal in 1830. Within four short years, four million miraculous medals were distributed. The medal continues to be distributed to this day.

Today we remember the joys and sorrows of Mary, the mother of God, her virtues and perfections and, especially, her love for God, for her Son and for each of us.

For our prayer time, Fr Paul invites us to reflect on how Mary’s heart is open for all and to commend ourselves to Mary’s heart, asking her to be with us and to help us at this time.