At the end of her earthly life Mary of Nazareth was taken to heaven body and soul. Why? So that her Immaculate Heart could fulfill its eternal destiny and continue the work for which the Almighty had created her.

When we speak of someone’s heart, we speak of that person in their truest and deepest nature. Our heart is what we are. If we say that someone has a loving heart, a generous heart, a pure heart, we are referring to how they live their life, and how that life touches ours. When we venerate the Immaculate Heart of Mary we venerate her sinlessness, her virginity, her contemplative spirit, her maternity, her discipleship of her Son, her sharing in His Passion and in the outpouring of His Spirit.

Public devotion to our Lady’s Immaculate Heart was given an enormous impetus by the private revelations at Fatima. On 13th July 1917 our Lady appeared to the three Little Shepherds and told them “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart“. Sister Lucia (1907-2005) devoted her long life as a contemplative religious to that purpose – an edifying example of private revelation having a substantial and beneficial influence on the public life of the whole Church.

At Fatima our Lady prophesied that Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. She also asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart as the means of obtaining that country’s conversion. Subsequent Popes have certainly consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart and that is doubtless praiseworthy, but it is not actually what our Lady asked for – a distressing example of political correctness and human respect blocking the works of the Spirit. Russia has not yet been converted.

The Church has not yet done publicly and explicitly what our Lady asked for. But individually we all can. We implore the Immaculate Heart of Mary to help us be converted ever more fully to the love and service of her divine Son. Then, when we come before God’s judgement seat, we shall find our Mother already there, placed beside God’s throne as Advocate of the People of God, graciously interceding on our behalf.

Let us draw near with confidence unto the throne of grace (introit for the Mass of the Immaculate Heart).