Hearts Made Pure (part II)

Mary’s heart was the first human heart to always be the dwelling place of God. Her heart was an interior home always pure, always open to God’s action and grace.

And God has not kept this heart for Himself, but has shared it with us. While struggling to draw His last breaths on the Cross, Jesus said to John, “Behold, your mother.” St. Luke relates that “from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”

Now, we have probably read or heard this passage so many times that we’ve become accustomed to thinking that after all was said and done on that First Good Friday, the beloved disciple John literally took Mary to his house to care for her. This interpretation is the most obvious and necessary one. But as St. John Paul II suggested in an easily overlooked footnote of his Marian encyclical Redemptoris Mater, there’s also a spiritual meaning behind the words of the Gospel. Unveiling this deeper meaning will help us today understand the connection between a constant conversion of heart and Marian devotion.

John Paul II writes,

 Clearly, in the Greek text the expression “eis ta idia” (he took her to his home”) goes beyond the mere acceptance of Mary by the disciple in the sense of material lodging and hospitality in his house; it indicates rather a communion of life established between the two as a result of the words of the dying Christ.

 The Holy Father is basing his interpretation on the words of St. Augustine when he wrote, ”He took her to himself, not into his own property, for he possessed nothing of his own, but among his own duties, which he attended to with dedication.” (cf. Saint Augustine, In loan. Evang. tract. 119, 3: CCL 36, 659)

 By welcoming Jesus’ dying gift and taking Mary into our hearts, that is, sharing a communion of life with her, we find ourselves living not only in the midst of Mary’s maternal presence, but also, and more importantly God’s loving presence. Both the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Mary starts in the heart.

As the kingdom of Jesus Christ consists principally in the heart and interior of a man—according to that word, “The kingdom of God is within you,”—in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is principally in the interior of a man, that is to say, his soul; and it is principally in souls that she is more glorified with her Son than in all visible creatures, and that we can call her, as the Saints do, the Queen of hearts. [True Devotion, 38]

Mary may have a right to our hearts as queen, but neither she nor Jesus sets up their kingdom by force. It can only be built through grace and free-will. And so, after having handed our wills over to Jesus in Mary on the day of our consecration, we must renew that gift of self everyday.

One way that we can remind ourselves of this need for constant conversion and daily welcoming of Mary into our hearts is through the practice of recite the Angelus daily. This in fact was St. John Paul II’s advice to young people at the conclusion of his Message for World Youth Day 2000. He wrote,

The Incarnation of the Word and the Redemption of mankind are closely linked with the Annunciation when God revealed to Mary his plan and found in her, a young person like yourselves, a heart totally open to the action of his love.

For centuries Christian devotion has recalled every day, with the recitation of the Angelus Domini, God’s entrance into the history of man. May this prayer become your daily meditated prayer.[1]

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Seize the day and make it all Hers!



[1] https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/messages/youth/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_29061999_xv-world-youth-day.html