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Why are we speaking of Jesus' and Mary's "hearts"
We do so because the Church's doctrine, decrees and liturgy speak of Jesus' and Mary's hearts (The Church observes the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary).
Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Jesus and Mary also present themselves in this way in private revelations e.g., to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Catherine Labouré, to the visionaries of Fatima, and to St. Faustina Kowalska). Its foundation lies in Scripture itself.
In the Bible and in common language, "heart" means the personal centre of a person and is a symbol of his or her love.
Hearts of Jesus and Mary
When we speak of Jesus' and Mary's hearts we think of Jesus and Mary under the aspect of the richness of their inner lives, especially of their love for the Father and all people.
Mankind today needs God's goodness, love and mercy more than ever. We share in this in consecration to Jesus' and Mary's hearts and in living out this consecration.
The image of the two hearts speaks to us of their infinite love toward people, toward each parish, each family, and each individual.
Their love towards sinful mankind reveals itself from the time of Jesus' birth in the stable of Bethlehem to his death on the cross on Golgotha. Their love is so wonderful especially because it is a love that has experienced crucifixion.
In the acknowledgement of their love, Jesus and Mary want to lead us to selfless love of God and our neighbour which is the core of holiness to which we are called. Because they love us they want to save mankind that has gone astray. The messages of Fatima also speak about this. It is necessary for us to believe in their love and trust them in order to commit ourselves to them totally. They will renew our hearts so that we will begin to think, speak, work and love as they do.
Jesus assured St. Margaret Mary Alacoque that tepid Christians who would consecrate themselves to the heart of Jesus would become fervent, and the fervent ones would rise quickly to great perfection.
Up to now, it has been customary to consecrate to the heart of Jesus and to the heart of Mary separately. Each consecration reached its peak in the consecration of the universal Church and the whole world by several Popes.
In the year 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the whole Church and the whole world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And in 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole Church and the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pope John Paul II made such consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984 and again in the year 2000.
Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Jesus and Mary belong together, and therefore we consecrate and commit ourselves to them at the same time.
In the litany of the Heart of Jesus we pray:
»Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother's womb«.
Through the action of the Holy Spirit, Jesus as man with a man's heart was formed in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Both hearts were wonderfully united from the very beginning.
The heart of Mary was the first to adore the heart of Jesus and to grasp profoundly the depth of His love.
She shaped the heart of Her Son.
When the heart of Jesus was pierced with the soldier's lance on the cross, the heart of Mary was also pierced with a sword of sorrows. The heart of his Mother is mirrored in the heart of Jesus.
Veneration of the heart of Mary had developed in the Church parallel to veneration of the heart of Jesus. The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is observed immediately after the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, showing their close, intimate union.
During all three apparitions of the angel at Fatima in 1916, the angel of peace mentioned the heart of Jesus and the heart of Mary together. Where there is the Son, there is also the Mother!
During the second apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, on June 13, 1917, Lucia was asked to spend her life promoting devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, wherein lies the redemption of mankind. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus was already well established in the Church at that time.
The core of the consecration
All people belong to Jesus because he is our Redeemer, our Saviour. We Christians belong to Him in a special way through our Baptism. We have to affirm our allegiance to Jesus and affirm it again and again with our personal decision for him. This happens in an excellent way with a well prepared consecration to the heart of Jesus.
We belong not only to Jesus but also to Mary, because she is our spiritual Mother. Whoever commits himself to the heart of Mary, also commits himself to the heart of Jesus. Mary is a shortcut to Jesus, a mediatrix and an intercessor with him.
The expression of St. Louis Grignion de Montfort applies here: Through Mary to Jesus!
In the strict sense of the word, we can consecrate ourselves only to God, and therefore to Jesus, who is not only true man but also true God. However, we consecrate ourselves to the Virgin Mary only in the wider sense of the word, which is in accordance with newer instructions of the Apostolic See, using the term 'commitment', or 'offering'.
With consecration to Mary we commit ourselves to Jesus:
A new life starts in us, formed after the hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Life out of the consecration
Consecration is not just a single act. We affirm and renew it again and again in our everyday life.
In the litany of the Heart of Jesus we call the Heart of Jesus a »flaming fire of love« He is »full of goodness and love«.
At his Heart our hearts can glow in love, filling themselves with goodness and love, with a longing to become holy and to love unselfishly.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque wrote:
The saint often declared
Consecration also directs us toward a deeper love of our neighbour. Our apostolate is first of all an apostolate of prayer and sacrifice, of an exemplary Christian life, obeying the commandments of God and of the Church.
We should pray for the coming of the Kingdom of heaven in souls. Toward that goal we should also