A Sacred Table: Feastday of The Immaculate Heart of Mary, and "Sabbath Heart, Sacred Heart"

I love that it was the feastday of the Sacred Heart of Jesus yesterday and that this follows today with the feastday of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (as well as the feastday of the Visitation, see last post). Blessed feastday everyone : )

About the devotion to Immaculate Heart of Mary, from here http://www.fisheaters.com/ih.html

"Luke 2:19: But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

Luke 2:35: And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.

Luke 2:51: And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus focuses mostly on His divine love for mankind and encourages our humility, gratitude, obedience, and adoration; devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary focuses on Mary's love for God and encourages our emulating her humility, gratitude, obedience, and adoration. Mary as loving Mother of Jesus Who suffered for us; Mary as Mother of the Church; Mary as obedient daughter, Mary as our Gevirah (Queen Mother of Israel) -- we ponder her interior life in each of these roles, consecrate ourselves to Jesus through her, make reparations for offending her as our Mother, ask her intercession for us with her Son, and emulate her as the model of Christian perfection.

The Feast of Candlemas, which commemorates Mary's ritual Purification and her Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, sheds special light on the nature of devotion to her Immaculate Heart. The old man, Simeon, foretold that "a sword" shall pierce Mary's heart, and meditating on the sorrows symbolized by that sword helps us to understand what Our Lord went through for us. We do this not only on Candlemas, but on the Feast of the Seven Sorrows, during all of Passiontide, as we make the Stations of the Cross, during August, which is devoted to the Immaculate Heart, during September, which is devoted to the Seven Sorrows, etc.

While, early on, of course, the Church Fathers wrote of Mary's blessedness, purity, and sorrows, and our Saints -- Dominic, Gertrude, Thomas Becket, Bridget, Bernardine of Siena, Louis de Montfort -- have always had deep Marian devotions, it was after the apparitions of Mary experienced by St. Catherine Labouré at Rue Du Bac, Paris in 1830 that devotions specifically to Mary's Immaculate Heart became formalized."

And from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07168a.htm

"Just as devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is only a form of devotion to the adorable Person of Jesus, so also is devotion to the Holy Heart of Mary but a special form of devotion to Mary....

One Scriptural passage to help in bringing out the devotion was the twice-repeated saying of St. Luke, that Mary kept all the sayings and doings of Jesus in her heart, that there she might ponder over them and live by them. A few of the Virgin's sayings, also recorded in the Gospel, particularly the Magnificat, disclose new features in Marian psychology. ...In the New Testament Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of the angel; the Magnificat (Mary's reply to Elizabeth) is an expression of her humility; and in answering the woman of the people, who in order to exalt the Son proclaimed the Mother blessed, did not Jesus himself say: "Blessed rather are they that hear the word of God and keep it", thus in a manner inviting us to seek in Mary that which had so endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as the Mother of Jesus? The Fathers understood His meaning, and found in these words a new reason for praising Mary."

So appropriate that today celebrates both the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Visitation...how beautifully connected they are!

And i can't stop thinking about the whole "Sacred Heart, Sabbath Heart" thing. Can't help but notice that the feastday of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on the first Friday after Trinity Sunday, and the feastday of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the first Saturday after the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Whats more, there is a long standing traditon of First Fridays devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and First Saturdays devotions to the Imaculate Heart of Mary. Shabbat of course begins friday after Sunset and ends Saturday sunset, encompassing both Friday and Saturday in a way, uniting them in a beautiful way as well. And i don't see these traditional devotions to the Sacred Hearts on these very days as mere chance, i think there is a very intuitive connection somehow between Shabbat and the Sacred Hearts, i really do. And of course it was on a friday that Christ died for (wow, mistyped as with) us, and on that Saturday that Mary kept vigil for Him. And that on a Friday God finished actively creating the world, and then on that Saturday was the day to be more restful and recepive. Truly i feel there is something here, though maybe its a mystery really, a mystery of faith. Yet mysteries can also slowly unfold some when time is right can't they? Anyway, i just really feel something special here.

Then there is something a bit more concrete, the Morning Offering, also very connected with the Sacred Hearts:

"(This) originated to help people in "offering up their sufferings, joining them with Christ's: Colossians 1:23-24: "I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church." ...

The "Morning Offering" included offering up "prayers, works and suffering," but a nun urged Pope Pius XII to include the concept of joy. The Holy Father agreed, and so some forms of the Morning offering now include offering up "our prayers, works, joys and suffering."

The Offering is meant to be prayed first thing in the morning, consecrating the day to the Lord and preparing one to focus all on Jesus and give to Him all that one does during the day. There are a few variations of the Morning Offering, some offering our oblations to Jesus in imitation of Mary's Immaculate Heart. Here is a common form:

Lord Jesus Christ, in union with that divine intention wherewith on earth Thou didst offer to God Thy praises through Thy Most Sacred Heart, and dost now offer them in the Sacrament of the Eucharist everywhere on earth even to the end of time, I most gladly offer Thee throughout this entire day, all my thoughts and intentions, all my affections and desires, all my words and deeds, in imitation of the most sacred Heart of the blessed and ever Virgin Mary Immaculate. Amen.

...The Morning Offering can be renewed throughout the day with simple short prayers...for ex., "All for Thee, Jesus!" "

The offering up our sorrow part of this is very healing... it really does something to know that we have not suffered alone or without meaning, that the Sacred Hearts have suffered too and are right there beside us.... and that suffering can open the heart if allowed to, draw us closer to the Sacred Hearts, and to each other. Yet i also think that nun was so right to see our joy as worthy of being offered up too, for this is as deeply a part of the Sacred Hearts. And this reminds me of something come accross today, from Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods:

"Jeg gleder meg til hver ny dag (I am looking forward to every new day). In Norwegian we use the word joy as a verb, I am joying myself, which means I am looking forward to. I so much prefere the Norwegian way of saying it, as it is not only looking forward to a new day, it fills me with joy doing so."

And from May's Day:

"If we wake each morning...looking forward to joy, it seems to me it is bound to be there. If our anticipation is a joyful one at the outset, the tone for the rest of our day is already determined."

So this too, this "looking forward to joy", can be a true part of our Morning Offering. And i feel this is core stuff, this joy of the Sacred Hearts. May we open the joy we are given. : )

Reminded of the verse Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15). When sorrow comes our way we can turn to the Sacred Hearts and weep along with them. And when joy comes our way we can turn as well. In sorrow or joy, we are loved and we are held. What an amazing thing to be reminded of each and every morning....

Blessed Feastday Everyone : )

(Images from here and here)

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