Today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There are two references in the Gospel of St. Luke to the heart of Our Lady. The first is the account of the shepherds who visited the place where the newborn Christ was in response to the message they had received from the angels about His birth. In response to what she was witnessing, the scriptures say: “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). The second takes place about 13 years later, when she and Joseph spent three days looking for Jesus and find Him among the teachers in the Temple of Jerusalem. After they found Him, “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Lk 2:51).
Our Lady ponders everything in light of God’s Providence. She is human just like us, but preserved from the stain of Original Sin. As a human being, she is not all-knowing. But because she is free from the effects of Original Sin, she has tremendous intuition. In the midst of disorder and hardship, Our Lady perceives the unfolding of Providence. Whereas we can look around and wring our hands, asking: “What is going on?” or “What does all this mean?” or “Why is this happening?”, the Blessed Mother asks the same questions, but without a trace of discouragement, frustration, or anxiety. She was steeped in the Tradition of her Jewish people. She knew the scriptures; she knew the Psalms. Although she doubtlessly suffered, nothing in our manifestly fallen world surprised her. But her faith allowed her to be surprised by God’s response to the world’s rebellion and the mystery of His workings in the world.
The Feast of the Immaculate Heart is an important celebration for us who live in confusing and disturbing times. We should ask Our Lady to pray for us, that our hearts might be kept from anxiety and fear. May she help us instead to recognize the workings of the Lord in the world, and to marvel at His mysterious plan for our salvation.
Over these past three months we all have been waiting eagerly for a return to normality. We’re certainly not there yet, but there are hopeful signs that things are heading in the right direction. This is the second weekend in which we will have Masses in a church, and we have begun to offer weekday Masses too. Although there are regulations in place, such as social distancing and disinfecting requirements and the dreaded masks, the return to the celebration of Mass with you in person has been immensely gratifying to me and to Fr. Mariusz. With these developments, however, come the return of some other responsibilities that I have as pastor, things which do require my attention and time. For this reason, I have decided to discontinue the daily reflections on this website. Instead, I will try to post something 2-3 times a week, plus the video recording of Sunday Mass. Thank you for your kind feedback about the reflections. I hope you found them helpful during these past three months. Not having the opportunity to preach regularly during the suspension of public Masses, the reflections gave me an opportunity to prayerfully consider everything that’s been going on in light of the liturgical seasons, the readings of the day, the lives of the saints, and current events. They were also a way in which I could stay in touch with you during our time of separation. Let us continue to pray for each other and for an end to the pandemic.