by Ken Rolheiser

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

What is our connection to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary? Do we need both Mary and Jesus? Together they provide a flesh and blood connection to the heart of God.

As children we all had a favorite parent to go to when we wanted permission for something. Maybe Dad was the authoritarian and Mom had the soft heart. We would plead our case to Mom, and she would soften Dad’s heart so that maybe we would get our wishes.

Our approach to God is similar. We can ask God the Father in the name of Jesus for an answer to our prayer, or we can ask Mother Mary to intercede for us. We have it on good authority that we can do this from Jesus’ words to Mary and St John at the foot of the cross: “‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother’” (John 25:26).

The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a symbol of love. Artists depict it as a burning heart with a cross above it. A wound is placed in the heart representing the piercing with a lance. A crown of thorns is placed around the heart, representing the thorns placed on Christ’s head.

In the Divine Mercy image revealed to St Faustina Jesus explains, “The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls… These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross…”

St. Gertrude experienced the exquisite and divine beatings of Jesus’ heart much like St. John who had reclined on the heart of Jesus at the Last Supper. St. John appeared to her in a vision and said, “Yes, I heard them, and my soul was penetrated with their sweetness even to its very center” and he explained that in later times… “the world, grown cold in the love of God, may be warmed up by hearing of such mysteries.”

The Immaculate Heart of Mary “refers to the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all people”. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Since the Resurrection Jesus and Mary have been revealing God’s love to us in extraordinary ways. Mary keeps appearing with messages to pray and repent. 70,000 witnessed the miracle of the sun at Fatima in 1917. Lourdes, Medjugorje and Guadalupe come to mind.

Jesus promised St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, “I will bless the home in which the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.” What tremendous help and consolation we have in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

We have daily recourse to Jesus and Mary. The Rosary, which Mary promotes in her many apparitions, is a daily visit with her, who intercedes for all our needs. Every Hail Mary asks Mary’s help now and at the hour of our deaths.

And Jesus gives us his very life at every Eucharist: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in them… Anyone who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:56-58).

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