The Immaculate Heart of Mary

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Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

Jesus, the Son of Mary, gives us in the Sermon on the Mount the key that unlocks for us the mystery of today’s feast. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). There was in Mary nothing to keep her from seeing God, nothing between the eyes of her soul and the Face of God. Repeatedly in the last years of his pontificate, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II invited us to place ourselves at the school of the Virgin there to learn the contemplation of the Face of Christ. The Face of Christ is seen only with the eyes of the heart.

To Contemplate the Face of Christ With Mary

In Rosarium Virginis Mariae, he said: “I have felt drawn to offer a reflection on the Rosary . . . and an exhortation to contemplate the Face of Christ in union with, and at the school of, His Most Holy Mother. To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the Face of Christ” (RVM, art. 3). He returned to this intuition in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, saying, “In my Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I pointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary as our teacher in contemplating Christ’s Face, and among the mysteries of light I included the institution of the Eucharist” (EDE, art. 53).

God Has Shone in Our Hearts

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). Saint Paul brings into a fuller light the meaning of this promise of Jesus when he tells us that God “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). In the same vein, he prayed for the Christians of the Church at Ephesus: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in all my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, that having the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which He has called you” (Eph 1:16-18).

The Face of Christ Engraved in the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Heart, her illumined Heart, her Heart free of every shadow, was created for the contemplation of Christ, the Human Face of God. While he was yet hidden in her womb, the eyes of her heart beheld His face. After his birth, holding Him against her breast, she gazed at His face and saw the radiance of the glory of God.

During the years of His hidden life, Our Lady’s eyes grew adjusted to the obscurity of faith, allowing her to see on the face of her growing Son the splendour of the Word beheld from all eternity by the Father. During His public life the enlightened eyes of her Immaculate Heart saw what other eyes darkened by sin could not see.

During His bitter Passion, she saw the face of Christ despised and cruelly disfigured: the glory of God shining through an ignominious veil of spittle and of blood. Her pure Heart saw His face in his rising and, at His Ascension, received its indelible impression so deeply that, from that day forward, anyone seeking the Face of Christ could find its image in her Immaculate Heart. “And his mother kept all these things in her heart” (Lk 2:51).

The Church’s Living Memory: the Pure Heart of Mary

After Pentecost, the Mother took her place in the heart of the Church, her Immaculate Heart becoming the Church’s living memory, the inexhaustible treasure from which Saint Luke and Saint John drew their Gospels. Her Immaculate Heart was the hidden spring of the Church’s prayer, the sanctuary of the icon of the Holy Face “not made by human hands.”

The Eucharist Face of Her Son

“Devoted to the breaking of the bread” (cf. Ac 2:42), Our Lady recognized, as did no other, in the Bread and in the Chalice the Eucharistic Face of her Son. When, at the hour willed by God, she fell asleep, it was to pass from the vision of the Eucharistic Face to the Face-to-Face that lies beyond the sacramental veils. “As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with Thy glory” (Ps 16:15).


O Most Pure Heart of Mary, God-seeing Heart of Mary, intercede for us that, with the “eyes of our heart enlightened,” we might discern in the Sacrament of the Altar the Eucharistic Face of thy Son and so “be changed into its likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor 3:18). Amen.


This image is one of the nicest I have ever seen of the IMH of Mary.

This reminds me of Pompeo Batoni's Sacred Heart of Jesus painting. Nice. seems to have been inspired of it.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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