The Immaculate Heart of Mary signifies, first of all, the great purity and love of the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary for God. This purity is manifested in her “yes” to the Father at the Incarnation, Her love for, and cooperation with, the Incarnate Son in His redemptive mission, and her docility to the Holy Spirit, enabling her to remain free of the stain of personal sin throughout her life.
Mary’s Immaculate Heart, therefore, points us to her profound interior life, where she experienced both joys and sorrows, yet remained faithful, as we, too, are called to do. In 2022, we celebrate the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 25, the day after we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 24.
In the midst of the second world war Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the special protection of our Savior’s Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart, and in 1944 he decreed that in the future the whole Church should celebrate the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
This is not a new devotion. In the seventeenth century, St. John Eudes, a French priest, preached it together with that of the Sacred Heart. Pius XII instituted today’s feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the whole Church, so as to obtain by her intercession, “peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue”
Why do we honor Mary’s Immaculate Heart? St. John Paul II said, “From Mary we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God … Learn from her to be always faithful, to trust that God’s Word to you will be fulfilled, and that nothing is impossible with God.”
Through the symbol of her heart, we venerate in Mary her most pure and perfect love for God and her motherly love for each one of us. In that heart of hers we can find a refuge in the midst of all the difficulties and temptations of life, and we ask her to prepare for us the safe way – the way by which we will soon reach her Son.
When we honor the Immaculate Heart, we give ultimate honor to Jesus. As we honor the Mother, we honor the Son. In addition, the Blessed Virgin is our mother as well (see Revelation 12:17), and her mother’s heart is incomparable. St. Louis de Montfort said, “If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart, it still would not equal the love of the heart of Mary for her children.”