“The Blessed Virgin has so merciful a heart, that she deserves not only to be called merciful, but mercy itself.” -Pope Saint Leo the Great
“What safer refuge can we ever find than the compassionate heart of Mary? there the poor find a home, the infirm a remedy, the afflicted relief, the doubtful counsel, and the abandoned succor” -Thomas à Kempis
“All that belongs to Mary is filled with grace and mercy, for she, as a Mother of mercy, has made herself all to all, and out of her most abundant charity she has made herself a debtor to the wise and the foolish, to the just and sinners, and opens to all her compassionate heart, that all may receive of the fullness of its treasures.” –Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
In the Traditional Roman Calendar August 22nd, the Octave Day of the great Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary in Heaven, is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The devotion to the Immaculate Heart is so important that just as with the Sacred Heart of our Lord it has it’s very own Feast day. And it is directly connected with the Dogma of our Lady’s Immaculate Conception and sinlessness. Though the devotion is very ancient it did not become a part of the official liturgical practice of the Universal Church until it was instituted in 1944 by Ven. Pope Pius XII when he consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart, though not consecrating in particular the nation of Russia as our Lady had asked in 1917 at Fatima Portugal.
Now, there are many wonderful writings and devotions associated with the heart of Mary, but the most important is that of the Five First Saturdays.
The other side of this devotion is that to the Seven Sorrows of our Lady and her Sorrowful Heart.
Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – August 22nd
Propers for Holy Mass
Introit – Hebr. 4:16; Ps 44:2
Adeámus cum fidúcia ad thronum grátiæ, ut misericórdiam consequámur, et grátiam inveniámus in auxílio opportune. R. Eructávit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego ópera mea regi. Glória Patri. Adeámus…
Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. R. My Heart overflows with a goodly theme; as I sing my ode to the King. Glory be. Let us…
Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui in Corde beátæ Maríæ Vírginis dignum Spíritus Sancti habitáculum præparásti: concéde propítius; ut ejúsdem immaculáti Cordis festivitátem devóta mente recoléntes, secúndum cor tuum vívere valeámus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Almighty, everlasting God, Who in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary prepared a dwelling place worthy of the Holy Spirit; graciously grant that we, who are devoutly keeping the feast of her Immaculate Heart, may be able to live according to Your Heart.
Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Lesson – Ecclcus. 24:23-31
Ego quasi vitis fructificávi suavitátem odóris: et flores mei, fructus honóris et honestátis. Ego mater pulchræ dilectiónis, et timóris, et agnitiónis, et sanctæ spei. In me grátia omnis viæ et veritátis: in me omnis spes vitæ, et virtútis. Transíte ad me omnes qui concupíscitis me, et a generatiónibus meis implémini. Spíritus enim meus super mel dulcis, et heréditas mea super mel et favum. Memória mea in generatiónes sæculórum. Qui edunt me, adhuc esúrient: et qui bibunt me, adhuc sítient. Qui audit me, non confundétur: et qui operántur in me, non peccábunt. Qui elúcidant me, vitam ætérnam habébunt.
R. Deo gratias
I bud forth delights like the vine, my blossoms become fruit fair and rich. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come to me, all you that yearn for me, and be filled with my fruits; for my spirit is sweeter than honey, and my inheritance better to have than honey and the honeycomb. My memory is to everlasting generations. They who eat of me will hunger still, and they who drink of me will thirst for more. He who obeys me will not be put to shame, they who serve me will never fail. They who explain me shall have life everlasting. R. Thanks be to God.
Gradual – Ps. 12:6; Ps. 44:18; Lk 1:46-47
Exsultábit cor meum in salutári tuo: cantábo Dómino, qui bona tríbuit mihi: et psallam nómini Dómini altíssimi. Mémores erunt nóminis tui in omni generatióne et generatiónem: proptérea pópuli confitebúntur tibi in ætérnum. Allelúia, allelúia. Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum: et exsultávit spíritus meus in Deo salutári meo. Allelúia.
Let my Heart rejoice in Your salvation; let me sing of the Lord, He has been good to me. Yes, I will sing to the name of the Lord, Most High. They shall remember Your name throughout all generations; therefore shall nations praise You forever and ever. Alleluia, alleluia. My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Alleluia.
Gospel – John 19:25-27
In illo témpore: Stabant juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus, et soror matris ejus María Cléophæ, et María Magdaléne. Cum vidísset ergo Jesus matrem, et discípulum stantem, quem diligébat, dicit matri suæ: Múlier, ecce fílius tuus. Deinde dicit discípulo: Ecce mater tua. Et ex illa hora accépit eam discípulus in sua.
At that time, there were standing by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus, therefore, saw His Mother and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He said to His Mother, Woman, behold your son. Then He said to the disciple, Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
Majestáti tuæ, Dómine, Agnum immaculátum offeréntes, quaesumus: ut corda nostra ignis ille divínus accéndat, cui Cor beátæ Maríæ Vírginis ineffabíliter inflammávit.
Per eundem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
Offering the spotless Lamb to Your Majesty, O Lord, we pray that our hearts may be set aflame by the fire that burned so wondrously in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Communion – John 19:27
Dixit Jesus matri suæ: Múlier, ecce fílius tuus: deinde dixit discípulo: Ecce mater tua. Et ex illa hora accépit eam discípulus in sua.
Jesus said to His Mother, Woman, behold your son. Then He said to the disciple, Behold your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
Divínis refécti munéribus te, Dómine, supplíciter exorámus: ut beátæ Maríæ Vírginis intercessióne, cujus immaculáti Cordis solémnia venerándo égimus, a præséntibus perículis liberáti, ætérnæ vitæ gáudia consequámur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.
Refreshed by divine gifts, we humbly beseech You, O Lord, that by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the solemn feast of whose Immaculate Heart we have celebrated, we may be freed from present dangers and reach the happiness of life eternal. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Excerpts from the Divine Office
Hymn at Matins
The God whom earth, and sea, and sky
Adore, and laud, and magnify,
Who o’er their threefold fabric reigns,
The Virgin’s spotless womb contains.
The God, whose will by moon and sun
And all things in due course is done,
Is borne upon a maiden’s breast,
By fullest heavenly grace possest,
How blest that mother, in whose shrine
The great artificer divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Vouchsafed, as in his ark, to lie.
Blest, in the message Gabriel brought;
Blest, by the work the Spirit wrought;
From whom the great desire of earth
Took human flesh and human birth.
All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born to thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
From the Readings at Matins
From a Sermon by St. Bernardine of Siena
Ex sermone novem de visitatione
What man, unless secure in a divine oracle, may presume to speak with impure, indeed with polluted lips, anything little or great about the true Parent of God and of man, whom the Father before all ages predestined a perpetual Virgin, whom the Son chose as his most worthy Mother, whom the Holy Ghost prepared as the dwelling place of every grace? With what words shall I, a lowly man, give expression to the highest sentiments of the virginal Heart uttered by the holiest mouth, for which the tongues of all the Angels do not suffice? For the Lord saith : A good man bringeth forth good things from the good treasure of his heart ; and this word can also be a treasure. Among pure mortals who can be conceived of as better than she who was worthy to be the Mother of God, who for nine months had as a guest in her heart and in her womb God himself? What better treasure than the divine love itself, which was burning in the Heart of the Virgin as in a furnace?
And so, from this Heart as from a furnace of divine ardour the blessed Virgin brought forth good works, that is, words of the most ardent charity. For as from a vessel full of the richest and best wine only good wine can be poured ; or as from a furnace of intense heat only a burning fire is emítted; so indeed from the Mother of Christ no word can go forth except of the greatest and most intense divine love and ardour. It is also the mark of a wise woman and matron to speak few words, but words that are effective and full of meaning ; and so seven times, as it were, seven words of such wonderful meaning and virtue are read as having been uttered by the most blessed Mother of Christ, that mystically it may be shewn she was full of the sevenfold grace. To the Angel twice only did she speak ; to Elizabeth also twice ; with her Son likewise twice, once in the temple, and a second time at the marriage feast ; and once to the attendants. And on all those occasions she always said very little ; with this one exception that she spake at length in the praise of God and in thanksgiving, namely, when she said : My soul doth magnify the Lord. But here she did not speak with man, but with God. Those seven words were spoken in a wonderful degree and order according to the seven courses and acts of love ; as if they were seven flames from the furnace of her Heart.
A Homily by St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
De septem verbis Christi in Cruce cap. 12
In that time . There stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. And so on…
The burden and yoke which our Lord imposed on St. John, that he take care of his Virgin Mother, was indeed a sweet yoke and a light burden. Who indeed would not esteem it a happiness to dwell under the same roof with her, who for nine months had borne in her womb the Incarnate Word, and for thirty years had enjoyed the sweetest and happiest communication of sentiments with him? Who doth not envy the chosen disciple of our Lord, who in the absence of the Son of God, was given the presence of the Mother of God? yet, if I am not mistaken, we can obtain by our prayers that our most kind Lord, who became man for our sakes and was crucified for love of us, should say to us : Behold thy Mother ; and should say to his Mother for each one of us : Behold thy son.
Our good Lord is not avaricious of his graces, if only we approach the throne of grace with faith and confidence, with a true and sincere but not a false heart. He who desireth to have us co-heirs in the kingdom of his Father, will certainly not disdain to have us co-heirs in the love of his Mother. Nor will the most benign Virgin herself take it amiss to have a countless number of children, since she hath an heart capable of embracing all of us, and ardently desireth that not even one of those souls should perish whom her divine Son redeemed with his precious Blood, and his still more precious death. And so let us approach with confidence the throne of the grace of Christ, and with tears let us humbly beg of him to say to his Mother for each of us : Behold thy son ; and to each one of us concerning his Mother : Behold thy Mother.
Hymn for Lauds
O glorious lady! throned on high
Above the star-illumined sky;
Thereto ordained, thy bosom lent
To thy creator nourishment
Through thy sweet offspring we receive
The bliss once lost through hapless Eve;
And heaven to mortals open lies
Now thou art portal of the skies.
Thou art the door of heaven’s high King,
Light’s gateway fair and glistering;
Life through a virgin is restored;
Ye ransomed nations, praise the Lord!
All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to thee;
All glory To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.