Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eucharistic, Sacred, and Pure

As the end of June, the month of the Sacred Heart, draws to a close and the Fortnight for Freedom continues, the importance of consecrating oneself to both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary becomes extremely appropriate and relevant.  I have been wanting to write about this for some time, as this special devotion has become very dear to me in the past year.  Previously, I had never felt any attraction to a specific image of Jesus.  Of course, being devoted to Christ does not require one use a certain devotion, but those who choose to use a specific image or apparition can often open themselves up to special graces and many helpful prayer books, images, etc. that go with each devotion (the Divine Mercy, for example, has a plethora of resources available to those attracted to that image of Christ).  I tried to fall in love with one of them, but still the pull, or call, to follow one of them did not surface.  And then, last year, I suddenly began to feel an attraction to the image and message of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The beauty of Christ offering His Heart to me, with His pierced hands outstretched as though showering mercy upon those who come to Him, or in the image above, His hands showing that His Heart is where peace for restless souls abides, the great love and forgiveness, united with such bittersweet pain and intense love, called to me and I happily answered.  As the summer continued and my new attraction to this devotion grew, a series of "coincidences" led me to realize this was the devotion Christ had intended for me all along, for it was within Christ's Sacred Heart that I would find the strength, courage, forgiveness, love, and mercy I so desperately needed (and continue to need).
I grew in this love for the Sacred Heart contentedly, and Christ used this devotion to light my soul on fire.  But then I met a dear friend who showed me that I was missing the second half of this special devotion.
In my spiritual life, I have always been more attracted to Christ than to Mary.  Once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, after all Mary's whole purpose and desire is to direct the faithful towards her Son.  But, Christ also wants His children to love His mother as much as He does.  Keep in mind that Mary is the only person (post-Christ) who has been assumed into Heaven, body and soul, for as John Bannister Tabb says in his Quatrain entitled "The Assumption":

Nor Bethlehem nor Nazareth,
Apart from Mary's care;
Nor Heaven itself a home for Him
Were not His mother there!

Hence, it is important that devotion to Jesus and Mary be combined.  Marian devotion must always, and will always, be closely paired with a love for her Son, for all Marian reflections and  prayers focus upon her as the Mother of God- for it is in this that she finds her great honor.  For ladies, Mary is the perfect role-model, exemplifying the virtues that women most desire to cultivate: humility, kindness, beauty, obedience, and a deep love for Christ (not technically a virtue...).  For men, Mary can serve as an inspiration as they seek out their future wives, or for those discerning the priesthood, she can help them overcome lustful temptations and keep their minds pure and focused.  The Immaculate Heart of Mary does this by exposing the beauty and purity of her soul, signified by the flowers around her heart, but also the pain she experienced as the most devoted follower of Christ, the sword that Simeon foretold, piercing her heart.
The most beautiful way to tie these two images together is in the Eucharist.  The Sacred Heart devotion is practically inseparable from the Eucharistic Heart devotion, for the Eucharist is the ultimate Sacrament of love and mercy- which the Sacred Heart is centered around (hence the First Friday Promise).  But, this also unites one to the Marian devotion, for by receiving Christ into his heart, man becomes a living tabernacle, just as Mary was a living tabernacle for nine months as Christ grew within her womb.  After communion, the faithful can ponder the great gift of having Christ physically within them, and ask Mary for the grace to carry Him in a way that glorifies Him and respects His presence.

This post could be tripled in length and still not touch on all of the beauty, grace, and privileges that come with these devotions.  For now, here are some helpful links that will offer more information, prayers, and tips for increasing or starting these devotions:

Smith Catholic Art - Cameron Smith is the artist who painted the images above.  These images are so strikingly lovely, they will provide the inspiration needed while trying to turn one's mind in the right direction.
New Advent - an exploration of the historical and doctrinal background and facts surrounding  this devotion; a very reliable source.
EWTN: Sacred and Immaculate Hearts - EWTN's page with prayers and devotional information about both the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary; a beautiful resource.
Sacred Heart- Fish Eaters - I love this website, it has incredible articles about various Catholic devotions/practices.  This page is very informative and includes the 12 Promises, Consecration and Enthronement information, and delves into the special acts connected to the Sacred Heart devotion.

May God bless all of you!  Please participate in the Fortnight for Freedom, as this is extremely important for the future of Catholics in this country!  If you are in need of more information about this, go to this link.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

(I apologize, I do not know why it will not let me enlarge the font...)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
All comments are welcome; I only ask that they remain free of vulgar language and disrespect.
Any comments that contain either of those two things will be deleted.
Thank you, and God bless!