By Fr. Rich, O.P.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is grounded in scripture, both in Luke and in John. Her heart serves as a storehouse for the experiences she will have and the sorrow that those experiences generate as she watches her Son live out the Father’s will.
“It is a devotional title that 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.”  Bainvel, Jean. “Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary” The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 7.
The Virgin Mary is the ultimate example of what happens to someone who simply says “Yes” to God. Given the mission of bringing into the world and raising this Son of God, Mary’s life from her conception was a powerful witness to how God’s plan unfolded from the minute of the
We know nothing of the life of Mary; extra Biblical writings supply explanations for her extra ordinary state and again attest to the pervasive presence of God in her life.
Each of us has the same pervasive presence of God in our own lives. Each of us has a unique call to mission. Each of us is called to discern God’s will and then live it out with intentionality, passion, and love.
Mary sets the bar, but we have within us the wherewithal to respond to God’s will.
Acceptance of the call is just the first, relatively small, step in the journey that is our relationship with God; we have to renew that acceptance regularly. Each time we are challenged, each time we sin or fail to live out our lives as Catholics, we have to remind ourselves that God’s will should be a driving, defining source in our lives. It is supported by our participation in the sacramental life of our local community: receiving the Eucharist, participating in the sacrament of reconciliation, and remembering when appropriate to accept an anointing of the sick.
It’s not just attending Mass, but also preparing ourselves for active participation by reading the readings prior to the day, contemplating those scriptures quietly on our own, or sharing our thoughts with others. We can enter more fully into other scriptures, seeking wisdom, solace, direction, and encouragement in our lives.
The ministries that this community engages in are opportunities to concretely live out the Gospel call of loving God, neighbor, and self: feeding the hungry; caring for the sick and the dying; sheltering the homeless; mentoring those less fortunate; supporting, through our tithing, organizations that reach more marginalized, more poor and needy than we can on our own.
And it all starts with the simple, direct “YES.” Once we acclaim that acceptance in our lives and commit to it, our lives are no longer our own. Just as Mary’s “yes” took her along a path that demanded trust in God’s love and presence, so does ours. If we listen with our hearts, God’s mission for us will be clarified, and we can enter and follow our call.
So we honor Mary’s filled heart, and we yearn to emulate its fullness of love and trust in God’s will. Say “yes,” and then buckle up.