Thought for the Day – 24 June – Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Thought for the Day – 24 June – Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

“It was through the body of a young, Jewish girl, living in a tiny village called Nazareth, that Jesus, the divine Word, was made flesh.   Mary belonged to that part of the people of Israel, who awaited the Lord’s coming with expectation and longing.   She had no doubt read about His coming in the Old Testament Scriptures and prayed for it.   But she had no idea how it would come about.   Most Israelites thought the Messiah would manifest Himself gloriously.

When the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to be the “door’ through which the long awaited desire of the nations would be fulfilled, she must have been astonished:  “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you! … You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (Lk 1.28-31).   A new life – filled with risks – opened before her.   According to the Church’s tradition, Mary, in an exceptional gesture for a Jewish woman, had decided “not to know man” (Lk 1.34).   She had discerned virginity to be God’s will.   Her Immaculate Heart – the Feast we keep this day – prompted a total giving of herself to God and included the gift of both her body and her heart.   Reassuring her that God had not disdained her vow, Gabriel told Mary that, like the glory of God coming upon the ark, so would the Spirit overshadow her.   The young “handmaid of the Lord” contemplated the Angel’s words.   She treasured them in her heart.   Her response, known as her fiat – “let it be done to me as you say” (Lk 1.38) – shows that she entrusted herself fully to God’s designs.   She chose to forgo her own plans for God’s.   Through her fiat, the Word of God took flesh in the tabernacle of her womb…..

Today in this Eucharist, on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Jesus knocks at the door of our heart.   In us, He wishes to take up His abode and, through our body, enter human history.   When we welcome Him, He gives birth to divinity within the crib of our hearts.   What answer will our heart give to His divine proposal?”…..Cardinal Robert Sarah (16 June 2012)

tday in this eucharist-card robert sarah

Immaculate Mary, Pray for us!

immaculate mary poray for us


Quote/s of the Day – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Birthday of St John the Baptist and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Quote/s of the Day – 24 June 2017 – The Solemnity of the Birthday of St John the Baptist and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

“His name is John” (Lk 1:63)…which in Hebrew means “God is benevolent”. God is benevolent to human beings:  He wants them to live; he wants them to be saved. God is benevolent to His people:  He wants to make of them a blessing for all the nations of the earth.   God is benevolent to humanity:  He guides its pilgrim way towards the land where peace and justice reign.   All this is contained in that name: John!”…St John Paul (24 June 2001)his-name-is-john-st-john-paul - 24 june 2017


“Mary, give me your Heart: so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the distressing guise of the poor.”
–St Mother Teresa

mary give me your heart-st mother teresa



Our Morning Offering – 4 June

Our Morning Offering – 4 June

Prayer to the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary

O Heart of Jesus pierced for our sins
and giving us Your Mother on Calvary!
O Heart of Mary pierced by sorrow
and sharing in the sufferings of your divine Son
for our redemption!
O sacred union of these Two Hearts!
Praised be the God of Love who united them together!
May we unite our hearts and every heart
so that all hearts may live in unity and in imitation
of that sacred unity which exists in these Two Hearts.
Triumph, O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Reign, O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!
– in our hearts, in our homes and families,
in the hearts of those who as yet do not know You
and in all nations of the world.
Establish in the hearts of all mankind the sovereign triumph
and reign of your Two Hearts so that the earth may resound
from pole to pole with one cry:
Blessed forever be the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Obtain for me a greater purity of heart
and a fervent love of the spiritual life.
May all my actions be done for the greater glory of God
in unions with the divine heart of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Hear and answer our prayers and intentions
according to Your most merciful will. Amen

Prayer to the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary


One Minute Reflection – 24 June

One Minute Reflection – 24 June

He must increase, while I must decrease………John 3:30


REFLECTION – “The true secret of love consists in this:
we must forget self like S John the Baptist and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.”………..St Peter Julian Eymard

PRAYER – Almighty God, help me to put my self-interests in the background. Let me seek Your interests and do everything for the honour and glory of Your Son Jesus the Christ, amen.

the true secret of love-st peter julian eymard


The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – 24 June – the Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – 24 June 2017 – the Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections and above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus and her compassionate love for all persons.    Two elements are essential to the devotion, Mary’s interior life and the beauties of her soul and Mary’s virginal body.  According to Roman Catholic theology, soul and body are necessary to the constitution of man.   It was in 1855, that the Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary formally became a part of the Catholic practice.   Traditionally, the heart of Mary in artwork is depicted with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven sorrows of Mary.    Also, roses or another type of flower may be wrapped around the heart.

Veneration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary generally coincides with the worship of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.    However, there is a difference that explains the Roman Catholic devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.    The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the “Divine Heart”, as overflowing with love for humanity.  In the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, on the other hand, the attraction is the love of her Immaculate Heart for Jesus and for God.immaculate-heart-of-mary

A second difference is the nature of the devotion itself.   In devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Roman Catholic venerates in a sense of love, responding to love.   In devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, love is formed from study and imitation of Mary’s yes to God as the mother of Jesus.    In this devotion, love is more the result, than the “object” of the devotion; the object being rather to love God and Jesus by uniting one’s self to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues, to help one achieve this.

History of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is connected in many ways to that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.   Christians were drawn to the love and virtues of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and this paved the devotion from the beginning.   Early Christians had compassion for the Virgin Mary and the Gospels recount prophecy delivered to her at Jesus’ presentation in the temple, and that her heart would be pierced with a sword.   The image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the pierced heart is the most popular representation.   St. John’s Gospel further invites us to the attention of Mary’s heart with its depiction of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus’ crucifixion.  St. Augustine tells us that Mary was more blessed in having born Christ in her heart, than in having conceived him in the flesh.



The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is based on the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.   The joint devotion to the hearts was first formalized in the 17th century by St. John Eudes who organized the scriptural, theological and liturgical sources relating to the devotions and obtained the approbation of the Church, prior to the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

In the 18th and 19th centuries the devotions grew, both jointly and individually through the efforts of figures such as St. Louis de Montfort who promoted Catholic Mariology and St. Catherine Labouré’s Miraculous Medal depicting the Heart of Jesus thorn-crowned and the Heart of Mary pierced with a sword.   The devotions, and the associated prayers, continued in the 20th century, e.g., in the Immaculata prayer of St. Maximillian Kolbe and in the reported messages of Our Lady of Fátima which stated that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be honored together with the Heart of Mary.

The Popes have supported the individual and joint devotions to the hearts through the centuries;  in 1956 the encyclical Haurietis aquas, Pope Pius XII encouraged the joint devotion to the hearts,   In 1979 the encyclical Redemptor hominis, Pope John Paul II explained the theme of unity of Mary’s Immaculate Heart with the Sacred Heart.   In his Angelus address on 15th September 1985 he coined the term The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and in 1986 addressed the international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal.



Solemnity of The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist – 24 June

Solemnity of The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist – 24 June

Ordinarily the Church observes the day of a saint’s death as his feast, because that day marks his entrance into heaven.  To this rule there are two notable exceptions, the birthdays of Blessed Mary and of St John the Baptist.   All other persons were stained with original sin at birth, hence, were displeasing to God.   But Mary, already in the first moment of her existence, was free from original sin (for which reason even her very conception is commemorated by a special feast) and John was cleansed of original sin in the womb of his mother.   This is the dogmatic justification for today’s feast. In the breviary St. Augustine explains the reason for today’s observance in the following words:

The Church observes the birth of John as in some way sacred;  and you will not find any other of the great men of old whose birth we celebrate officially.   We celebrate John’s, as we celebrate Christ’s.   This point cannot be passed over in silence and if I may not perhaps be able to explain it in the way that such an important matter deserves, it is still worth thinking about it a little more deeply and fruitfully than usual.

St. John the Baptist - Bernardo Strozzi 1620

John is born of an old woman who is barren;  Christ is born of a young woman who is a virgin.   That John will be born is not believed and his father is struck dumb;  that Christ will be born is believed and he is conceived by faith.

I have proposed some matters for inquiry and listed in advance some things that need to be discussed.   I have introduced these points even if we are not up to examining all the twists and turns of such a great mystery, either for lack of capacity or for lack of time. You will be taught much better by the one who speaks in you even when I am not here; the one about whom you think loving thoughts, the one whom you have taken into your hearts and whose temple you have become.

John, it seems, has been inserted as a kind of boundary between the two Testaments, the Old and the New.   That he is somehow or other a boundary is something that the Lord himself indicates when he says, The Law and the prophets were until John.   So he represents the old and heralds the new.   Because he represents the old, he is born of an elderly couple; because he represents the new, he is revealed as a prophet in his mother’s womb.   You will remember that, before he was born, at Mary’s arrival he leapt in his mother’s womb.   Already he had been marked out there, designated before he was born; it was already shown whose forerunner he would be, even before he saw him.   These are divine matters and exceed the measure of human frailty.   Finally, he is born, he receives a name and his father’s tongue is loosed.

Zachary is struck dumb and loses his voice, until John, the Lord’s forerunner, is born and releases his voice for him.   What does Zachary’s silence mean but that prophecy was obscure and, before the proclamation of Christ, somehow concealed and shut up?   It is released and opened up by his arrival, it becomes clear when the one who was being prophesied is about to come.   The releasing of Zachary’s voice at the birth of John has the same significance as the tearing of the veil of the Temple at the crucifixion of Christ. If John were meant to proclaim himself, he would not be opening Zachary’s mouth.   The tongue is released because a voice is being born – for when John was already heralding the Lord, he was asked, Who are you and he replied I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

John is the voice but the Lord in the beginning was the Word.   John is a voice for a time, but Christ is the eternal Word from the beginning.”

This reading on the Birth of John the Baptist is taken by a sermon of St. Augustine (Sermo 293, 1-3; PL 38, 1327-1328) that compares and contrasts Christ, the Word, with John, the voice who is the boundary between New and Old Covenants.   It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for June 24, the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist.

In other words, today’s feast anticipates the feast of Christmas.   Taking an overall view, we keep during the course of the year only two mysteries, that of Christ’s Incarnation and that of His Redemption.   The Redemption mystery is the greater of the two; the Incarnation touches the human heart more directly.   To the Redemption mystery the entire Easter season is devoted, from Septuagesima until Pentecost;  and likewise every Sunday of the year, because Sunday is Easter in miniature.

The Christmas season has for its object the mystery of God-become-Man, to which there is reference only now and then during the remaining part of the year, e.g., on Marian feasts, especially that of the Annunciation (March 25) and today’s feast in honour of the Baptist.   In a sense, then, we are celebrating Christ’s incarnation today.   The birth of Jesus is observed on December 25 at the time of the winter solstice, while the birth of His forerunner is observed six months earlier at the time of the summer solstice.   Christmas is a “light” feast; the same is true today.   The popular custom centering about “St. John’s Fire” stems from soundest Christian dogma and could well be given renewed attention. St. John’s Fire symbolizes Christ the Light; John was a lamp that burned and shone. We Christians should be the light of the world.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch


Saints’ Memorials, Solemnity and Feast – 24 June

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (Solemnity) –
Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Madonna della Navicella

St Aglibert of Créteil
St Agoard of Créteil
St Alena of Brussels
St Amphibalus of Verulam
St Anastasia Guadalupe García Zavala
St Bartholomew of Farne
Bl Christopher de Albarran
St Erembert I of Kremsmünster
St Faustus of Rome and Companions
St Festus of Rome
St Germoc
St Gohardus of Nantes
Bl Henry of Auxerre/the Hagiographer
St Ivan of Bohemia
St John of Rome
St John of Tuy
St Joseph Yuan Zaide
Bl Maksymilian Binkiewicz
St Rumold
St Simplicio of Autun
Bl Theodgar of Vestervig
St Theodulphus of Lobbes

Martyrs of Satala: Seven Christian brothers who were soldiers in the imperial Roman army. They were kicked out of the military, exiled and eventually martyred in the persecutions of Maximian. We know little more about them than their names – Cyriacus, Firminus, Firmus, Longinus, Pharnacius, Heros and Orentius. The martyrdoms occurred in c311 at assorted locations around the Black Sea.