As I wrote in the first post of my “struggling with Marian devotion” series, I have seriously asked the question, Why be consecrated to both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary? This year, my diocese invited all parishes (including mine) to be thus consecrated, so the question became more pointed. I sought and asked for an answer, and I believe a door was opened for me. (Made slightly ajar.) There is nothing new theologically here, nothing new to many of you, my dear readers. But it’s new, or made new, to me.
Christianity is about Christ. My personal journey to Christ began with the Mystery of the Incarnation — with the Infinite/Eternal One becoming one of us. I do not feel called (as many good, faithful Catholics are, including St. John Paul II) to go “to Jesus through Mary.” However, of course, without Mary and her faithful willingness to obey God’s will, there would be no Jesus. So, with this in mind, let’s ponder the Incarnation more deeply, with an eye on the simple young woman named Mary.
Infinite and Eternal God became a human being, The Creator became one of His own creatures, to live among us as one of us in the sublime generosity of divine love.
Where did this happen?
Where did divinity assume humanity?
Where did Jesus first come into existence?
Where did the Word of God become flesh?
In the womb of the Virgin Mary, beneath the beating of her pure heart.
The Holy Spirit descended upon Mary, overshadowing her immaculate heart to bring about God’s sublime plan of redemption. The Word of God came through Mary to assume human nature, to become her son, the Son of God, Jesus.
The Creator and Master of the universe took on flesh in the secret depths beneath Mary’s heart in the zygote stage of life. One single cell became two cells, then four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two, and on and on, as the living body of Jesus developed and grew. In the blastocyst stage, the incredibly tiny life of God Incarnate clung to the uterine lining of His Mother and burrowed in for safety and sustenance. As Mary’s heart beat, Jesus, in the embryonic stage of His life, received nourishment through her blood vessels so that He could grow and thrive. Her blood fed His blood. Beneath her heart, His heart took form and shape.
The sinless love of Mary’s yes to God, the pure, loving willingness of Mary to give herself — mind, body, heart, and soul — to God’s will, to God’s Word forever, not only allowed Jesus to come into existence, but particularly shaped and formed the precious Body and Blood of Our Lord. Mary gave Jesus the flesh and blood of His own heart — His Sacred Heart.
Blessed Is the Fruit of Your Womb
I, like you, am made in the image and likeness of God. But in this fallen world, that image has become mired and marred. The Word of God was made flesh and gave His life to redeem us, to restore us to the divine image in which we are created. We are called to be like Christ! And because we are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, you and I are to take Mary as our blessed mother — she is His Mother and so Our Blessed Mother too.
Jesus is meek and humble of heart.[i] Dedicated to the love of His Sacred Heart, I pray for conversion, for transformation, “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.”[ii] As His heart first beat beneath the Immaculate Heart of Mary and was formed and shaped under Mary’s maternal care, can my heart also be reformed and reshaped into the heart of Jesus beneath Mary’s heart? To put it another way, can her maternal prayers of love help me to be transformed? It’s God’s power and God’s grace that does the transforming. God alone. But Jesus, God in the flesh, out of supreme love of His mother’s happiness, pours eternal graces upon her and let’s her help, allowing Mary to love Him and care for Him forever — by loving and caring for us in His image.
She truly did help to bring into being the Sacred Heart, so, then, perhaps she can also help to transform my own little heart into His with the spiritual blood of her prayers.
In this way, then, I can truly take Mary as my mother, imagining myself in her womb, the life-giving womb that God lovingly created — as I am truly living in His beloved Creation and the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church — and so understand myself as an embryo, a fetus, undergoing growth and development. May I truly be conformed to Christ, becoming fully restored as an image of God, my heart being formed like His Sacred Heart.
This reflection began with an inspiration from one of you, dear readers, who commented on a previous post about the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (I love all comments from one word to many!) Part of what she wrote was this: “Immaculate Heart of Mary, please be a Mother to Christina, her readers, and to me. Please adorn our souls with the beauty of the virtues!” Can we become adorned with the beauty of the virtues through the Immaculate Heart of Mary? The heart of a mother’s child is formed in her womb and shaped by the life — sorrows and joys — of that mother. Jesus gave Mary, His Mother, to me to be my mother too. Perhaps, my heart will grow stronger and more beautiful beneath the beating of her Immaculate Heart. Perhaps, my heart will become more like His.
Something to ponder.
© 2022 Christina Chase
(Posting this on September 8th — Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother!)
[i] Matthew 11:29
[ii] from the litany of humility, composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry de Val (1865-1930), the Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.