Yesterday I went to lunch with Fr. Eammon Shelly, L.C. He is the current director of formation for boys at the Highlands School. I asked him if he had prepared a homily for tomorrow (today). I was delighted that I asked him because he gave me some great insight for today’s reflection.
What is the heart’s working principle? It is the principle of all or nothing! You can argue with me that that is the principle for every organ, but when it comes to the heart, it must all be there or it is worthless. The human being can live and even function with half a brain. The same is true with the liver, the kidneys and with all the major organs. But with the heart, it is either all or nothing.
Devotion to Mary’s heart is devotion to her love, and her love was her Son. He is the love of her life. If I could have Mary’s heart, I would be the better man for it. If I could have her faith, hope and love, I would be the better priest for it. Just this simple truth would be enough to convince the staunchest of detractors towards devotion to Mary. Mary was the first disciple of the Lord. She heard the angel sent by God and answered it with a resounding yes. Mary is the Ark of the Covenant. She carried the Word of God, and those who were in her presence were blessed. She lived the irrational virtues of faith, hope and love with simplicity and tenacity. Nothing, no-one and no-thing, could separate her from Her Son. She smothered all doubts with faith; cast away all fears with hope and annihilated her enemies with love. She loved the unlovable; believed the unbelievable; hoped in the impossible.
How did she do it? With her heart. She kept all these things in her heart. Through the working of the Holy Spirit; through God’s grace; Mary worked through all her difficulties through Him, with Him and in Him. The Lord did the same. He worked through Mary, with Mary and even in Mary. Even from His mother’s womb, the Lord blessed Mary’s cousin Elizabeth and His cousin John.
Through, with and in Mary, we have the model of all relationships. Mary’s relationship with God is a mystical marriage. She is the Mother of God, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, the daughter of Zion, the Mother of the Church (the bride of Christ), and the new Eve. This relationship is forever. It is for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, when things make sense and when they don’t, when I seek and cannot find, when I am alone and rejected, and when my life appears to be over. Mary went through all these things and kept them in her heart.
In the very end, her heart was no longer left to ponder harsh realities, nor was it weighed down by the brutal facts. In the end, her heart was taken, body and soul, to heavenly glory where all mysteries are revealed, all love is unleashed, and all pondering is put to rest.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.