Two Pierced Hearts
Mary’s Heart was definitively pierced in the mystery of the piercing of another Heart, that of her divine Son on the Cross. The sorrows of her life and the anxious anticipation of this inescapable moment all came to their climax and full realization as Jesus offered his life in sacrifice for us. The Lamb of God was taking away the sins of the world as his human life was being taken away from Him. Yet we know that this could happen only by his own will and choice, for He said, “I lay down my life, that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (Jn. 10:17-18).
The Mother shared in the sufferings of the Son in a unique and incomparable manner, not only feeling his pain but also sharing in the sacrifice, the offering of his life to the Father. A prayer to Mary, which is part of a devotion to the Five Sacred Wounds of Jesus, speaks of “the offering you made to the Eternal Father of His and your Only-Begotten, for a holocaust and victim to appease His wrath for my sins. I compassionate you for the bitter pain which you suffered. I thank You for that immeasurable love through which you bereaved yourself of the fruit of your womb, true God and true Man, to save me, a sinner…”
As the Mother was about to be bereaved of her only Son, He gave her countless children through his precious words, proclaiming to the whole world, to you and to me, through the holy Gospels: “Behold your mother” (Jn. 19:26-27). Having offered his sufferings for our sins, and then entrusting us to Mary—as an assurance that we would be cared for in this land of exile—Jesus was ready to return to the Father.
I believe that the piercing of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was consummated at the moment Jesus’ own Heart was pierced by the soldier’s lance. Jesus had already died by this time, so He could not feel the lance piercing his Heart. But Mary felt it in her own Heart, and this was her way (we each have our own) of “completing in [her] flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Col. 1:24). Thus the Two Hearts, which were inseparably united in love, were now even more profoundly united in the suffering that is the highest expression of love. And this suffering, this love, were at the heart of the mystery of the redemption of the world.
In an article entitled “The Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary,” Mother Adela, foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, writes this, beginning with a quote from Blessed John Paul II:
“‘At the foot of the Cross, a sword pierces Mary’s soul, fulfilling the words of Simeon… united to the redemptive Sacrifice of her Son is the maternal sacrifice of her heart’ (Homily, September 15, 1988). John Paul II spoke of this singular participation of the Virgin Mary in the redemptive suffering as a ‘spiritual crucifixion.’ It is a ‘spiritual piercing’ whose purpose is to actively cooperate in giving birth, communicating life through the openness of Her maternal Heart. The spiritual maternity of Mary over mankind reaches its full realization on Calvary when, in an explicit way, Jesus exclaims from the cross, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’
“John Paul II, in his visit to the Sanctuary of Fatima in 1982, explained to us that these words of Jesus opened the Heart of Mary for Her spiritual maternity over the Church: ‘Woman Behold Your Son’ opened in a new way Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Then the Roman soldier opened the Sacred Heart of Jesus with a lance shortly after He expired. Thus, ‘Mary’s Heart was opened by the same love for man and for the world with which Christ loved man and the world.’ Just as the Heart of Jesus in the moment it was pierced gave birth to the Church and remained eternally opened to pour graces of salvation over humanity, the Heart of Mary, united spiritually to the piercing of Her Son, remained opened to always embrace with maternal love all those who accept the redemption of Her Son and to exercise Her maternal mediation over all men and in every historical moment…
“The love of the Heart of Jesus was capable of transforming death into life, pain into redemption, and the wound from His side into an open door and fountain of salvation. The love of the Heart of Mary was capable, through Her perfect and unconditional communion with the redemptive work, of bearing the same destiny of Her Son, unto the foot of the Cross. From the pierced Heart of Christ we have received salvation, liberation, and redemption. How many graces flow through the wound of His Heart! From the pierced Heart of Mary is born Her spiritual maternity which she exercises with generous diligence, powerful intercession and maternal mediation over the Church and the world.”
This passage suggests that as the earthly mission of the Heart of Mary would come to a close, her heavenly mission would begin. To this we now turn.
To be continued…