Message of The Superior General, Feast of The Heart of Mary

Jun 6, 2024 | Congregation, General Superiors, Mathew Vattamattam

Beloved brothers, dear friends,

The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the context of the 175th anniversary of the foundation of our Congregation has a special significance for us now to deepen our missionary spirituality and commitment. As sons formed in the forge of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, let us long for the touch of the tenderness of her Heart in our lives and ministries.

When we do a personality assessment, often we are asked to describe the personality of our parent and mention its outstanding qualities. The question that follows is how those qualities are present in our character and influence our behavior. Let us contemplate the beauty of the Heart of Mary and discover how these form our hearts and our charismatic character as children of her Heart.

Father Claret was so moved by his contemplation of the Heart of Mary that he found no better identification for his missionaries whom he wanted to be and be called Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (cf. Aut 488). No wonder, Claret felt close to the apostle John who welcomed the mother of Jesus to his home (cf. Jn 19:27) and was formed in the forge of her Heart to be an apostle on fire with God’s love with a deeper grasp of the Gospel message. Understandably, our founder looked to the “beloved disciple” of Jesus to find a suitable description for the sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, See how great a love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and in fact, we are. (cf. 1 Jn 3:1).  We can be truly sons of the Immaculate Heart when we conform to her Son in the interior as well as in our conduct, and like apostle John, know that each one of us may be a disciple whom Jesus loved (cf. Jn 13:23; 19: 26).

Let us now reflect on the mystery that the Immaculate Heart of Mary signifies for our spiritual life and ministry.

  • Holiness in the homeliness of God with us. In the annunciation event, the bold Fiat to God’s call by a virgin girl from an insignificant village inaugurated a new era for humanity. It happened in the simplicity of a hearth and home, in the intimacy of a heart in love with God with no cameras zooming around, not going viral in a real-time transmission on social media for a million “likes”. The firm “yes” to God happens in the heart falling in love with God in the ordinariness of our daily lives. Let us make a home for God in our interior home (heart) like the Virgin Mother, and welcome the Spirit to transform us into witnesses and messengers of the joy of the Gospel.
  • A Heart that contemplates. Mary’s heart knows how to treasure God’s Word and reflect on the events of life in the light of the Word (cf. Lk 2:19, 52). Mary acts and does not react in response to what happens because she has her Lord in her heart.  The inner serenity of her heart enables her to seek the meaning of events and treasure the hidden pearls in them before giving a grace-filled response. Her sons also need to learn not to react to situations out of anxiety, fear, or anger, but to seek serenely what the Lord asks of them in each situation. It is an art of a heart rooted in God. Let us not deprive our hearts of its daily food of the Word and the Eucharist.
  • A Heart that cares for others. Mary is not self-centered but looks toward God and others. She visits Elizabeth to be of help to her in old age without getting close up with her trials. At the marriage in Cana, She comes to the aid of the distressed family as a consoling mother. She invites us to go out of our comfort zones to be present to those who need the consolation of God’s word. For our Founder, all Claretian missions are the sending of the Mother to the mission of her Son after forming them in the forge of her Heart. If we lose the tenacity of the heart to delight in privations, welcome work, embrace sacrifices, smile at slander, and rejoice in torments and sorrows, it could be that we have kept our hearts away from the fire of God’s love for a long time! Let us not allow the fire within us to be smothered by the ashes and go cool at the sight of the struggles of our brothers and sisters.
  • A Heart faithful to the very end. Mary’s heart follows her son to the very end and bleeds at the foot of the cross while the disciples except John disappear from the scene to save themselves. When love has roots deep enough to suffer with the loved ones, the heart grows to the divine heights to love one’s own to the very end (cf. Jn 13:1). A heart dwelling on transient things is unable to be resilient in times of suffering and trials, and incapable of remaining faithful to the call of God. The Heart of Mary is our solace and refuge in times of suffering, illness, trials, and persecution. Let our hearts be rooted in Christ and audacious in mission.

The jubilee year is a time to take our hearts to the fire of God’s love which Mary’s Immaculate Heart signifies. Our Founder, our Blessed Martyrs, and thousands of the missionaries who left us a spiritual legacy knew how to connect to the source and flow from there. I want to thank the Claretian family and all our friends and benefactors for our journey together on the synodal path.

Let us pray to the Immaculate Heart to teach us how to be faithful missionaries today radiating joy and gratitude from our hearts set on fire with God’s love.

Wish you all a grace-filled feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!


Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF

Superior General

 Rome, June 08, 2024.

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