Today and tomorrow are very special days in the Catholic Church, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.? Many of us are familiar with the images which represent?a special kind of love,?but what do these devotions actually mean?
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an outgrowth of Our Lord’s humanity and? reminds us that Jesus loves us not only with a Divine affection, but also with a human heart.? It was promoted by individuals such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Gertrude and St. Francis de Sales.? However, the greatest proponent of this devotion was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Jesus appeared in the 17th?century.? In his encyclical Haurietis Aquas (May 15,1956), Pope Pius XII made the following observation about this powerful devotion:
It is altogether impossible to enumerate the heavenly gifts which devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has poured out on the souls of the faithful, purifying them, offering them heavenly strength, rousing them to the attainment of all virtues.
On the other hand, the?devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary honors Mary’s compassion and sinlessness.? This devotion, which became popular after the Fatima apparitions in 1917, reminds us of Our Lady’s unconditional love…??
for God, as illustrated by her “yes” when asked to become the Mother of the Savior…
for Jesus, which was so strongly evident as she stood by Him during His death on the Cross…
for each of us, as could be seen when she came to the assistance of the couple at the wedding in Cana.
Although distinct, the hearts of Jesus and Mary love each of us?in the same way -?unconditionally.?? Now would be a good time to show our love in return.? We can do this by turning away from sin, leading a holy life and speaking to them often.? The love of Jesus and Mary is constant and will not go away.? No matter how badly we sin?or ignore them, that love remains….
can the same be said?of our love for them??