The other day my spiritual director challenged me to better emulate the heart of Mary in word and deed. As a person who claims to be devoted to the Blessed Virgin, I must admit, there are times my actions do not reflect my belief. From his simple, yet challenging comment, I realized my devotion to Mary must reflect my daily attitude. If one reflects on the mysteries of Christ and Mary’s life, especially through the rosary, they should slowly begin to take on the persona that was subject to meditation.
What is a Marian heart? We know the Church honors the heart of Mary as both immaculate and sorrowful. Beyond these liturgical commemorations, as devotees, we can reflect on other components of Mary’s heart, and pray we too can have the heart of our mother. There are many aspects to Mary’s heart: intercession, contemplation, service, and gratitude.
Mary’s heart is one that cares about other people. At the Wedding Feast of Cana, Mary shows herself to be an intercessor for the couple by going to her Son. Throughout history, Christians have continued to call upon Mary for her prayers. We call on Mary under so many titles because of her intercessory role. She is the Health of the Sick and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. If we want to have a heart like Mary’s, we must become people who care about others. We must recognize the needs of others and offer them to God in prayer.
St. Luke was emphatic: Mary treasured the moments of Christ’s life in her heart. In other words, she contemplated the mysteries of Christ as she experienced them in her life. One time a woman from the crowd praised the mother of Jesus because she carried and cared for him. Jesus responded, ‘blessed rather is the one who hears the word and obeys it’ (Luke 11:27-28). At the Annunciation, Mary heard God’s word, and she obediently responded, consenting to her role in salvation history. Throughout her life with Jesus, Mary surely had plenty of opportunities to reflect on the Word of God as it came from the Word himself. Her experience becomes an example to us, as we seek to meditate on God’s word today through Lectio Divina. If we want to have a heart like Mary’s, we must be steeped in God’s word and reflect on the daily happenings of our life.
Mary’s heart was full of selflessness as she went to serve the needs of Elizabeth. Mary went in haste to the hill country of Judea. She knew Elizabeth would need help, so she humbly went in order to spend time with her cousin. Intercession and contemplation moves us beyond ourselves into action and service. If we want to have a heart like Mary’s, we must become people of service, looking for opportunities to be selfless, and serving Jesus present among us.
Mary’s heart was full of gratitude for God. One could say this gratitude was the result of her contemplation of God’s action in the history of Israel. The other aspects of a Marian heart culminates in a heart of gratitude. When we intercede for others, we must always give thanks afterward for God’s response to our intercession. After our contemplation, we should express gratitude to God for communicating his goodness to us during our meditation. When we are given opportunities to serve, we should give thanks for being instruments used by God. If we want to have a heart like Mary’s, we must be people who are grateful for God’s work in our life, and express that gratitude in our prayer and actions.
Mary’s heart was devoted to her Son. Her heart was one filled with joy and sorrow. In Luke 2:35, Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Mary’s heart encompassed all human emotions from joy to sorrow. Her heart also can encourage us to be better Christians by caring for others through intercession and service, and dedicated to God through contemplation and gratitude. May Mary, who was meek and humble heart, conform our hearts to the heart of Jesus.