Last week, in this column, I reflected upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus to which the month of June is dedicated as the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on Friday, June 19. The following day, Saturday, June 20, we celebrate the memorial Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is most appropriate to reflect upon the heart of Mary during this month of the Sacred Heart as the heart of Mary and Jesus are one. It was from the human heart of Mary that the human Heart of Jesus literally came into existence. The love which Jesus expressed to others from the depths of His being truly was a reflection of the love which Mary expressed to Jesus from the depths of her being. The Heart of God, in His human existence, is intimately bound to the heart of Mary which is now bound to Mary in the fullness of life in heaven, where she has been bodily assumed.
The perfect heart which the Lord encountered was that of His Mother, Mary. Her heart knew no evil but only the goodness of the Lord Himself. While her heart knew the pain of suffering, especially through that of her Son, she always trusted in the Lord and therefore experienced the rest which only He could give. Mary truly understood the words of her Son, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light" (Mt 11:28 - 30). When Mary presented Jesus in the temple shortly after His birth, Simeon prophesied to her that a sword would pierce her heart and it did. However, it was Mary who treasured in her heart all the beautiful mysteries of the Lord’s life as well as of His words in a manner which gave her tremendous joy.
In a recent column on Trinity Sunday, I made reference to a beautiful altarpiece of the Middle Ages referred to as the Throne of Mary. The Trinity is symbolized showing the Father holding His Son with His pierced heart on the Cross as His greatest gift of love to the world. Between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit depicted as a dove. It truly is an expression of the infinite love of God giving Himself to us from the depth of His being. It is an image of what the Sacred Heart of Jesus is all about. There is a medieval sculpture of Mary serenely sitting with great peace. As one looks upon it, one is immediately drawn to the spiritual gaze of Mary. This particular sculpture opens up so that one is able to see what is inside of Mary as if one were looking into her heart. Inside this sculpture is the carving of the Trinity as the Throne of Mercy. It is so appropriate that this particular sculpture of Mary holds the heart of the Trinity within her own. She reflected upon the mercy of God in her heart as no one else.
As we continue to look to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary during this month of June, it is their Hearts will heal us in regard to the pandemic we face and in regard to the racism and violence which has erupted in our nation. As Pope Francis recently stated, “Contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial.”
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
June 19, 2020