Hearts Made Pure (part I)

Having celebrated this past week the hearts of Jesus and Mary, we celebrated not just their hearts, but ultimately what their hearts symbolize: redemptive love.

From the moment He was conceived in Mary’s womb to the moment she stood at His side beneath the Cross, and up to the “today” of this present moment the shared lives of Jesus and Mary have been centered on the work of Redemption.

That the hearts of Jesus and Mary are closely united to this work was an important theme that the Great Marian Pope, St. John Paul II spoke about on the occasion of his third apostolic visit to France in 1986. While celebrating Mass in Paray le Monial—the town made holy through the presence of perhaps the greatest apostle of devotion to the Sacred Heart, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque—he reflected on the Lords’ words through the Prophet Ezekiel, “I will give you a new heart.”

The Holy Father noted on that occasion that the Lord not only promised to give us a “new heart”, but He also told us how it would become new,

“I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities.” (Ez 36, 25).

“Yes,” said the Holy Father, “God Himself purifies man’s heart.”

But just as the reassurance of the Pope’s words might fill one’s own heart with sentiments of hope, he strikes the bell of truth, drawing us back to that central problem, that daily struggle which afflicts us all: sin.

He said,

“The heart, created to be a home of love, has become the central home of God’s rejection, of man’s sin whereby he turns away from God to join himself to all sorts of idols. This is how the heart becomes impure.”[1]

God created us so our enduring interior union with Him would flow out into daily lives actively lived for His glory and love. Our hearts were created to be His dwelling place. But as the Holy Father notes, so often they have (and can repeatedly) become places closed-off to Him because of our sin. When sin reigns in our hearts, then God cannot.

“But,” says the Holy Father, “when man’s heart is opened again to God, it rediscovers the purity of the image and likeness impressed upon it by the Creator from the beginning.”

In addition to the obvious and necessary sacramental means of reconciliation with God through Confession, what is one way that we can always have our hearts open to this purifying and redemptive love of God? What is one way to ensure that God reigns daily in our hearts instead of sin?

By living out our consecration to Mary; by daily opening our hearts to Her motherly power and merciful influence as we did on the day of our consecration.

“True devotion is holy” precisely for this reason says St. Louis de Montfort. It is meant to help us keep our hearts pure by seeking to imitate Mary’s virtues and thus avoid sin.

True devotion to our Lady is holy; that is to say, it leads the soul to avoid sin, and to imitate in the Blessed Virgin particularly her profound humility, her lively faith, her continual prayer, her universal mortification, her divine purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelical sweetness, and her divine wisdom. These are the ten principal virtues of the most holy Virgin. [108]

One of the distinctive signs that we are faithfully living out our consecration to Mary is found in wanting and effectively trying to grow in these virtues little by little. By the grace of Holy Spirit, keep trying if you’ve already started, and if you haven’t, then today is the right moment to begin.


Seize the day and make it all Hers.


[1] https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/es/homilies/1986/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_19861005_paray-le-monial-francia.html. Translation mine.