(Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – July 1, 2019)
Happy Feast of our blessed Mother! I invite you to contemplate the Heart of our Blessed Mother together as sons of her heart during this family feast. A Claretian can be at his best only as a son of her Immaculate Heart, his charismatic identity. Because we are sons, we are also brothers (cf. MFL. 37), celebrating our life and mission in community.
The twin hearts: The feast of the Heart of Mary closely follows the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus underlining their inherent unity. Both the hearts in unison express the unique story of God’s love for humanity. Both the hearts gave the response of “Fiat” to the Father’s design for our salvation. We learn from them the secret of cor ad cor loquitur, “the heart speaks to the heart”, the “heart communication” that effects authentic relationships. As sons in the Son, we join this circle of love, and learn from the heart of Jesus and Mary the art of heart-to-heart conversations which builds genuine communities and promote shared mission.
The treasures of heaven are in the heart: Heart is the core of the person. As the ancient saying goes, “Go into the cave of your heart, you will find treasures of heaven there.” Jesus invites his disciples to store up treasures in heaven (instead of on earth) “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Mary’s treasure is Jesus, her Son whose presence transforms her heart into heaven, the seat of God. Her heart has the secret of bringing heaven on earth by keeping Jesus at the centre. The Claretian mission is this art of creating heaven wherever we are sent by placing Jesus at the centre and by “doing whatever he tells” (Jn 2:5).
The Illness of the heart: I am convinced that most of the malaises of our personal lives and community living are our “heart problems” and maladies of a misdirected heart. Fraternal life and missionary commitment suffer, when a missionary’s heart is afflicted by “spiritual cardio sclerosis “, the stubbornness of heart, which renders it cold and insensitive to the sufferings of others. From a sick heart originates evil thoughts, immorality, deceit, arrogance, lewdness, envy, slander, and folly (cf. Mk 7-21-23). A real renewal of life needs the conversion of the heart of stone into a heart of flesh (cf. Ezk. 36:26).
Recuperating the heart of flesh: The tender love of the heart of Mary can recuperate the “heart of flesh” and take us to “the first love” for the Lord (cf. Rev: 2:4). It is this “first love” that urges every Claretian to commit himself in his first profession in the congregation: “I offer myself in special service to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary in order to fulfil the aim for which this Congregation has been established in the Church” (cf. CC 159).
A Heart directed mission: As the African proverb goes, “Where the heart loves, there the leg walks,” Mary walked after her son, Jesus. Indeed, when our hearts love Jesus, we will walk to where he leads us. When we walk forth in the Lord’s mission with our hearts directed by God’s love, we too can join the song of Mary’s heart in joy and praise for God’s great deeds (cf. Lk 1:46ff).
Dear brothers, we are called and truly are the sons of Mary’s heart (cf. CC 8). Our filial docility to be formed in the forge of her heart conforms us to Jesus, the first fruit of her maternal mission. Let us welcome the tender love of God which is embodied in her person and radiate it to our brothers and sisters to whom we are sent to proclaim the joy of the Gospel.
Let me wish a joyful Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the entire Claretian family, collaborators, friends, and benefactors. Certainly, all of us enjoy a privileged place in the heart of our Heavenly Mother. May our hearts beat incessantly with the heart of our Blessed Mother for the greater Glory God and the integral liberation of humankind.
Fraternally, in the Heart of our Blessed Mother,
Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF
Rome. July 1, 2019