The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
The feasts of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary take on a special significance, since Mother M. Clara gave to us the title, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. While devotions to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary were growing in prominence in the time of Mother M. Clara, and while the expression of these devotions may have taken on different forms throughout the centuries, there remains the deepening mystery of these Sacred Heart’s for each of us to ponder in our own heart.
The heart is the symbolic center of love, and love is a very human longing. If we open our eyes and heart to the world around us, we become aware of those who are lonely or whose lives are without love, or who live in situations of violence or struggle, or who are forcibly separated from loved ones. How in the midst of such situations can we be witnesses of the love of Jesus and Mary?
From the moment of conception when Mary carried Jesus in her womb, their hearts were intimately united. Throughout Jesus’ life love was at the “heart” of all He did, as was it for Mary. The readings for the feast of the Sacred Heart center on the Good Shepherd, who is ready to lay down his life for his flock, a gift of self-sacrificing love. Mary’s self-sacrificing love has a different expression in the Gospel for the feast of the following day. The Gospel is that of the finding of Jesus in the Temple, ending with, “His mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Lc 2, 51). Her response was a contemplative response, as she pondered these mysteries in her heart. Both hearts would be pierced with suffering, but love remained at the center of their lives.
The images of the two hearts for these feasts represent to us the infinite love of the hearts of Jesus and Mary, inviting us to open our own hearts to respond with the gift of our love, with the total gift of ourselves. As Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, it was the desire of Mother M. Clara that her Sisters be of “one heart and one soul” (FC XVIII), which calls for living with open and generous hearts.
May these special feasts be a reminder to all to allow the love of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary to set our own hearts on fire to meet the new challenges of our society today. Let us hold each other in our hearts.