August: The Immaculate Heart of Mary
The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is one of several months devoted, in some way, to the Blessed Mother. Since there are a number of months devoted to her, we can infer some importance to this month being particularly for her Immaculate Heart.
The best way to start thinking about this devotion is its end - Jesus Christ. That is the end of all Marian devotion. There is something that makes this devotion special... here we are focusing on the completely pure and unstained heart of the beloved mother of our Savior and the love of that perfect heart. Since Our Lady was conceived without Original Sin and never committed an actual sin in her entire life, her heart was always perfectly conformed to God. She was able to love Jesus with a perfect and complete love. And this is what first attracts us to this devotion - since she loved Jesus fully, completely, and perfectly we desire to honor and imitate this Immaculate Heart. For what better model do we have to love Our Blessed Lord than the heart of His Holy Mother?
A discussion on the Immaculate Heart of Mary would not be complete without the mention of Our Lady of Fatima, specifically regarding the devotion of the Five First Saturdays. When Our Lady appeared to the children in Fatima, she requested that people go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the first Saturday of the month, for five consecutive months; pray at least five decades of the Rosary, and meditate for an additional fifteen minutes on one or more mysteries of the Rosary. She asked that they do all of this with the intention of making reparation to Mary's Immaculate Heart. If one fulfills this request of the Five First Saturdays, Our Lady promised to obtain for us, at the hour of death, all the graces necessary for salvation. We can see that the Immaculate Heart plays a central role in this devotion which springs from the apparitions at Fatima. Later, Our Lord confirmed with Sr. Lucia (one of the visionaries) that this devotion is focused on making reparation to His Mother's Immaculate Heart, particularly for the five kinds of offenses against her Immaculate Heart. These offenses are: blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception, against her perpetual virginity, against her divine and spiritual maternity, blasphemies of those who insult images of Our Lady, and reparation for those who keep children from Mary.
One may ask: how can I live out this devotion particularly in this month dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? If you have not made the Five First Saturdays, you can start (however, since August has already begun, you can start next month). A small yet profound way is to begin your prayers by uniting with her Immaculate Heart. This intention brings you into union with Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother, who knows our needs and the needs of others better than we do. Finally, one can truly strive to imitate this heart which loves Our Lord so much. By imitating the life and virtues of Our Lady, our own hearts will become more oriented to loving God.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
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