Today we celebrate the union of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Along with Sr. John Eudes, St. Louis de Montfort (1673-1716) was a powerful champion of Our Mother, Mary, and her intimate connection to her Son, Jesus. Educated at Rennes, he was ordained there in 1700, becoming a chaplain in a hospital in Poitiers. His congregation, also called the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, started there. As his missions and sermons raised complaints, Louis went to Rome, where Pope Clement XI appointed him as a missionary apostolic. Louis is famous for fostering devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary.
Apostolic zeal also was fully evident in his childhood, by his teaching catechism to other children and encouraging their devotion to the Blessed Virgin. For he himself had such strong devotion to his “good Mother” that he would spend hours at a time in the chapel praying to her. In childlike simplicity, he would lay before her all his spiritual and temporal needs, confident that he then had done everything necessary to obtain them. But the surest, the easiest, the happiest, the most perfect way to Jesus Christ is through Mary. And this brings us to the great genius of Saint Louis Marie in explaining Our Lady’s role in the redemption of mankind. In his treatise on True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin, he wrote, “It is through the most holy Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he has to reign in the world. . . . It was through Mary that the salvation of the world was begun, and it is through Mary that it must be consummated. . . . Devotion to Our Blessed Lady is necessary for salvation. . . . He who has not Mary for his Mother has not God for his Father. “It is necessary for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known. . . . Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might, and in grace in these later times: 1 in mercy to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church; in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mahometans, Jews, and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God. . .; and finally, she must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers a But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel: that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world’s esteem . . . and persecuted as the heel is by other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly.”
St. Louis died in 1716. In 1715, he also founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary. His True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin remains popular. Louis died at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre. He was canonized in 1947
The influence of these champions of Mary, St. John Eudes and St. Luis de Montfort, had a powerful influence on the Church and the Popes. Until our time, it was customary to practice the consecration to the two Hearts separately, first to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and then to the Heart of Mary. In the Church, devotion to the Heart of Mary and to the Sacred Heart have developed simultaneously. The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the day after the feast of the Sacred Heart, which shows the deep connection between the two devotions. The consecration of the universal Church and the world by the Pope marks the culmination of this practice. Thus, in 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the Church and the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1942, Pope Pius XII made a similar consecration of the Church and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pope John Paul II repeated this same consecration in 1984 and in 2000.
These events reflect the deeply held belief that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary are inseparable. That is why we consecrate and entrust ourselves to the two Hearts at the same time. In the Litany of the Sacred Heart we pray: "Sacred Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother." Inside the Virgin, through the action of the Holy Spirit, Jesus became man, with a human heart. From the beginning, the two hearts were united in an adorable way. Mary’s heart was the first heart to venerate Jesus’ Heart and to understand the depths of his love. Mary, mother and educator, formed the human heart of her son. As the Roman soldier's spear pierced the heart of the crucified Jesus, Mary's heart was also pierced with the sword of sorrows. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the mirror image of his Mother's Heart.
In 1916, during the three apparitions of the angel at Fatima, the Angel of Peace spoke about the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary. The Mother is always with her Son! In the second apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, on June 13, 1917, Lucia received the mission to propagate the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to obtain peace in the world. At that time, devotion to the Heart of Jesus was already widely practiced and promoted.
A powerful prayer of petition exists which illustrates the inseparable union of the two Hearts;
O United Hearts of Jesus and Mary, You are all grace, all mercy, all love. Let my heart be joined to Yours, so that my every need is present in Your United Hearts. Most especially, shed Your grace upon this particular need... (State your need here.) Help me to recognize and accept Your loving will in my life. Holy and Sacred Wounds of the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary, answer my prayer.