The Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary celebrates the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We remember her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and above all, her love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all people.
Below you will find the Gospel reading, symbols and devotions to help you celebrate and learn about this special feast day.
So... what do these symbols have to do with Mary?
This image appears on the Miraculous Medal, which was created after the Marian apparition to St. Catherine Labouré in 1830. During evening meditations, Mary appeared to St. Catherine and showed her a vision of the medal. She told her that if she created the medals "All who wear them will receive great graces." The 'M' symbolizes Mary at the foot of the cross at the crucifixion.
This symbol represents the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Although this depiction only shows one, traditionally it was pierced with seven swords representing the Seven Sorrows of her life. Roses are known as the "queen of flowers" and symbolize Mary as the Queen of Heaven. Roses also depict hidden suffering in their thorny stems and are a connection to Jesus' crown of thorns.
The lily represents Mary's purity as the virgin mother of God. This symbol has been used as a symbol of purity in depictions of Mary and other saints for centuries.
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
In honor of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, take some time to pray the rosary this week. This interactive version will walk you through each prayer.
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Illustrations by Karen Zainal