Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
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 over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits… [Ecclesiasticus (Ecclus.) 24.24-26, DRV] Such are the sacred words taken from the Epistle of the Mass for today’s Feast – the same Epistle for the Solemn Commemoration of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel – and which sacred words the Holy Church therefore applies to Our Immaculate Mother.
… In me is all hope of life… On July 13, 1917 Our Blessed Mother, in Her apparition at Fatima, Portugal, gave the children a vision of hell and of the countless souls that were on the way to eternal damnation. And “in order to save them,” Our Blessed Mother tells Lucia [Sr. Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, C.D.], “God wants to spread devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world” (Sister Lucy Speaks About Fatima, 1989). It must be recalled very well here that it was the sin of pride that cut off Satan from Him Who alone Is the Truth and the Life and which precipitated him into the abyss of hell: How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer? And thou saidst in thy heart: … I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant… I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit (Is. 14.12-15). How he cast himself to hit the very bottom, so to speak, of the abyss of hell by his pride, we could have it intimated in the Sacred Scriptures: When He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith: Let all the angels of God adore Him (Heb. 1.6); but when Lucifer saw the human nature of Our Lord – a nature inferior to his – he rebelled saying: Non serviam! (I will not serve! – Jer. 2.20) for such subjection was harmful to his excellence. It was that same sin of pride by which the devil wounded (cf., Is. 14.12) man and which sin became in him the source of all the others; that same sin which made him merit that same place with Satan in the abyss of hell, the everlasting fire of which was prepared [originally, not for him but…] for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25.41).
The appearance of Our Immaculate Mother at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 signaled the end-times battle between the Woman and the ancient infernal serpent – now, the red dragon which appeared after Her who is the great sign of the 12th Chapter of the Book of the Apocalypse (see our post, “The Great Sign in Heaven“). In this “decisive battle” [Sr. Lucia, C.D. in a 1957 conversation with Fr. Fuentes, in Fr. Joaquin Alonso, C.M.F. (the official archivist of Fatima), La Verdad sobre el Secreto do Fatima (The Truth About the Secret of Fatima), Centro Mariano, Madrid, 1976], it is “clear which side will have the victory and which side will be defeated” (ibid.). We read in the Sacred Scriptures: Inimicitias ponam inter te [serpens] et Mulierem… Ipsa conteret caput tuum… (I will put enmity between thee [the serpent] and the Woman… She shall crush thy head, Gen. 3.15); and, in the Book of Judith: by me His handmaid He hath fulfilled His mercy… and he hath killed the enemy of His people by my hand…. the Lord Our God slew him by the hand of a woman… And they [the Jews] all adored the Lord, and said to her: the Lord… hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies… [and] hath prevented our ruin (13.18-25). Now, to prevent our ruin and even to make us walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and … trample under foot the lion and the dragon (Ps. 90.13), Our Immaculate Mother offers us again Herself – but this time, as our “last lifeline” (Fr. Karl Stehlin, F.S.S.P.X., The Immaculata Our Ideal, 2005). And this “final hope is Her Immaculate Heart, to which the entire world, especially Russia [cf., our post “When Mary Comes III“], must be consecrated [cf., our post “Ninth and Last Day of Novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel“]“ (ibid.).
Our Consecration then to the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Mother would rather be a sham and a response of false devotion if there is not being effected in us, in the Church, in the world, and especially in Russia, that restoration of the divine order of things to which we, in justice to God, ought to submit [cf., our post “The Time of God’s Visitation” and comment] and in which we ought to find our true and rightful place [cf., our post “True Humility“]. Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary therefore brings about in souls and societies (the Church and nations) the fruits Our Blessed Mother speaks about in today’s Epistle and therefore, as it were, the first “healthy vital signs” of our Spiritual Life: the supernatural virtue of justice (by which Christ and Him Crucified, 1 Cor. 2.2, in us renders the primacy to the claims and rights of God) and truth (in the light of our holy Catholic Tradition) – all encompassed in the supernatural virtue of humility which is the foundation of an authentic New Life in Christ. Behold how, at the Annunciation (Lk. 1), Our Blessed Mother corresponded with God’s designs for the restoration of the life we lost and that got spoiled: She corresponded with the grace of God by the most perfect use of reason. And what did Our Blessed Mother make of it? She made of it a perpetual sacrifice of submission to the Supreme Reason; She never allowed Herself one single reasoning about the designs of God or His conduct with regard to Her, although this conduct was full of mysteries and of apparent contradictions. Hence, we shall never make any advance in the Spiritual Life unless we make the same use of our reason. God often guides souls by ways that are opposed to all human views, He takes pleasure in upsetting all our judgments, in disconcerting all our foresight, in disappointing all our efforts. We have only one thing to do, which is not to think about ourselves at all, not to reason about what God is doing with us – let God be God.
Let God be God. The interior of Our Blessed Mother then was a copy, and the very closest copy, of the interior of Our Lord. As Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself continually to His Father during the whole course of His life, obeying Him even to the death on the Cross, Our Blessed Mother also continually sacrificed Jesus in Her Heart, and Herself with Him, to the Eternal Father in Heaven. On Calvary, Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself upon the Cross by giving Himself up to all the severity of the Divine Justice – to spare us. Our Blessed Mother had in the Cross of Our Lord a share that, from the birth of Her Divine Son until His death, She felt the very same blows that He suffered, not only from men but also, as it were, from God. All the feelings which the Heart of Jesus experienced – with regard to the glory of His Father, outraged by men; the holiness of His Father, dishonored by sin; the justice of His Father, of which He Himself was the Victim; with regard to so many millions of souls to whom His Blood and His Sacrifice would be useless, and even fatal, by the abuse they would make of them – were communicated to the Heart of His Mother with all the strength and extent of which a pure and therefore most sensitive creature was capable. Our Blessed Mother, standing at the foot of the Cross, sacrificed Herself, and more than Herself, by sacrificing Her Beloved Son, and consenting to the accomplishment of the designs of God for our redemption. As Our Lord loved us so much that He gave us not only the life of His body, but in some sense the life of His soul, so Our Blessed Mother loved us so much that She gave us, in Her Crucified Son, what was dearer to Her than Her own life and Her own soul.
How shall we then show our solid devotion to and inviolable alliance with Our Immaculate Mother in this critical hour of Her and our battle with the ancient serpent and his minions – inside and out of the Church – through our Consecration to Her Immaculate Heart? By striving to imitate her interior life, Her lowly opinion of Herself, Her love of obscurity, of silence, and of retirement; Her attraction to little things, Her fidelity and generosity in corresponding to God’s invitations, inspirations, and arrangements, the beautiful simplicity of Her recollection and prayer – the only object of which was God and His will, Jesus Christ and His love, Her continual sacrifice of Herself and of all She loved most dearly and had the greatest reason to love. Let us beg of Her that we may beat the beatings of Her Immaculate Heart (cf., our post “The Scapular…“) so that we may beat only the beatings of the Heart of God; that She obtain for us from the Sacred Heart of Our Dearest Little Jesus a great purity of mind, heart, body, and soul; that through Her Scapular, She may clothe us with Her own virtues especially that of humility and meekness; and that we may perfectly correspond to the designs of God upon us. And these designs are most certainly our death to ourselves and the destruction of our inordinate self-love. “Almighty everlasting God, Who in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary didst prepare a dwelling worthy of the Holy Ghost: grant in Thy mercy, that we who with devout minds celebrate the festival of that Immaculate Heart may be able to live according to Thine own Heart. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen” (Collect of the Mass).