Friday, June 24, 2011

The Pure Heart of Mary - Part 1

Hello friends,

We are approaching the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary next week - July 1st and 2nd respectively, and I wanted to share an excerpt I found today from St. John Eudes' book in Part IV Chapter III.  It is entitled, "Purity and Sanctity of God Mirrored in the Admirable Heart of Mary."  St. John Eudes was a 17th century saint, on fire with love for God and Mother Mary, and he apparently first formalized the joint devotion to the "twin hearts."  Please feel free to read this Chapter from his book The Admirable Heart of Mary, and I hope to comment in the near future!  Let me know what you think of St. John Eudes' work....

     "In this chapter I shall show how Mary's Heart bears a striking resemblance to divine purity and sanctity. The most pure and holy Heart of Our Lady is a living image of those two adorable perfections, which are one and the same, for St. Dionysius tells us that sanctity is perfect purity, purity meaning freedom from the slightest imperfection.
     The most holy Heart of Mary is indeed an excellent image of divine purity and holiness. Not only was her most pure and holy Heart always far removed from every kind of sin, but it was entirely free from attachment to created things, and intimately united to God by its pure and holy love for Him together with the eminent practice of all the other virtues which Mary's Heart possessed in so high a degree. The Queen of Virtues is called by St. John Damascene "the abode and the sanctuary of all virtues."  Even though Our Lady dwelt for years in this world full of filth and abomination, poisoned by the venom of sin, her most holy Heart never contracted the least stain or blemish, was never attached by an inordinate affection to any creature nor even to God's gifts and graces. The Blessed Virgin remained always intimately united to God, as though nothing else existed save God and herself. Thus were the divine words most perfectly fulfilled in her divine Heart: "Let my heart be undefiled in thy justifications," (Ps. 118:80) that is, let my heart be immaculate by its union and adherence to Thy divine Will, which justifies, sanctifies and even deifies the hearts that love it and perfectly follow it.

     The most holy Heart of the Queen of all Saints remained forever immaculate, preserved in eminent purity and holiness, and entirely filled with the purity and sanctity of God Himself. Her being was transformed and submerged in divine purity and holiness, to the surpassing extent that her Heart merited to obtain the world's salvation. As St. Anselm expresses it: "The pure sanctity and holy purity of Mary's devout Heart, surpassing by far the purity and sanctity of all other creatures, merited for her the sublime dignity of becoming the Restorer of the world wrapped in perdition.

     If you would find a place in the sanctuary of Mary's admirable Heart, which so perfectly mirrors the purity and sanctity of the Most High, you must purify your heart and realize the meaning of the words: "This is the will of God, your sanctification." (1 Thess. 4:3) These words are not meant just for souls specially consecrated and set apart. You must apply them to yourself, you who bear the name and imprint of Christ and membership in His mystical Body. The sanctification of your spirit, heart and body is more than a commandment; it is a privilege, a participation, granted to you through the purity and sanctity of the heart of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and your own Mother."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In the beginning...

Hi everyone and a Happy Pentecost!

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog.  This is my first blog, so please bear with me as I begin this process!  I entitled this blogspot "Purity in Heart" based on the Scripture and Jesus' words, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt 5:8).  What does it mean to be pure in heart?  How are we to live out this great calling to holiness?  And what did Jesus mean when he said that the pure of heart will see God?  These are just some of the many questions I hope to address in this blog, and I welcome your input in response to these questions!  I'll try to cover a wide variety of topics and touch upon the theme of purity either directly or indirectly as much as possible.

Here are some of my thoughts....

In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived in a state of original innocence and were truly "pure in heart." They were pure in heart because they were sinless.  Before the fall, "the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed."  And yet everything went downhill when the serpent entered the scene and spoke to Eve, inciting her to distrust God and to consequently sin.  After having partaken of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve realized their nakedness and hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. 

Here is the conversation:

"But the Lord called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?' And he said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'  He said, 'Who told you you were naked? (Genesis 3: 9-10)"

I include this conversation between Adam (which in Hebrew means "man" or "mankind") and God because it shows us how sin both separates us from God and also brings us to a place where we are tempted to hide from God.  Sin is damaging for so many reasons, and primarily among these: SHAME.  As for Adam and Eve, shame causes us to turn away from God at a time when God most especially desires to turn to us in order to offer forgiveness and healing.

"Oh happy fault, oh necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a redeemer!"  Jesus gives us the grace to become "pure in heart" again after we fall - again and again- and he calls us to this great holiness and makes it attainable through the grace he incessantly provides.  Despite our weaknesses, failings, and imperfections, Jesus offers to all people his infinite grace and mercy - grace capable of transforming hearts and making them pure again. 

There is no sin too great for the mercy of God - God's love and mercy can overcome all things.  In fact, as Jesus says to St. Faustina, "The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy."  I don't know about you, but what consoling words.  Jesus, you mean to tell me, the worse off I am, the greater right I have to your forgiveness and love?

My only point is that Jesus can make anyone pure again, and it begins right in one's heart.  The temptation to struggle against is that of hiding from God as did Adam and Eve after the fall.  When we hide, we lose.  The Lord still sees and knows our sins, but how can he heal us if we don't show him what hurts inside? 

Going back to Adam and Eve, have you ever noticed how kind and merciful God is to them after the fall and the discovery of their nakedness?  God makes for them garments of skin, and clothes them.  He looks into their hearts and sees their shame and sorrow, and says in so many words, "I still love you.  I will help you." 

Adam and Eve had original innocence before the fall, a fruit of grace and also a participation in the inner life of God (Theology of the Body, Blessed John Paul II).  They lost this after having partaken of the forbidden fruit at the prompting of the serpent.  They fell from grace and yet a few lines later in the proto-evangelium, God promises them a way to be reconciled to Himself again through grace - in the dying of Jesus on the cross.

Just a few thoughts and at the very least for my own self an encouragement to pray to the Lord for the grace to be pure in heart and for the grace not to hide my weakness and littleness from him. 

"Everything is grace!"  St. Therese of Lisieux