"O Most Pure and Loving Heart"
by Father Charles M. Mangan
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the twentieth century's version of Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), founded the Missionaries of Charity, one of the fastest-growing Religious Institutes of women in the world.
Several times each day those 4,000+ Sisters, while assembled in the Chapels of their various convents, sing a brief hymn to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It goes like this: "O most pure and loving Heart of my Mother and my Queen, Grant that I may love thee, love thee daily more and more. Grant that I may love thee, love thee daily more and more."
Over the past eleven years, I have chanted that hymn with hundreds of Missionaries of Charity after offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them, imparting Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, hearing their Confessions or giving them a conference. No matter how often I join them in honoring the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I am struck by their childlike but sincere veneration of and love for Jesus' Mother.
This simple yet profound hymn takes about twenty-five seconds to sing. But length must not deceive. The genuine sentiments expressed and the theological truths outlined in this musical composition provide a welcome key not only to the Missionaries of Charity and their apostolate in serving "the poorest of the poor" but also to the very essence of the Christian life.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is our Mother and Queen, is the focus of this melodious prayer. Two important characteristics of Our Blessed Lady's Heart are recognized and hailed: purity and love.
The purity of Mary is seen in her complete dedication to her Creator. She never wavered from following Him and adhering to His Will. Her chastity and virginity also manifest that deep purity of heart for which Our Blessed Mother is well known. She cheerfully embraced the unique vocation that God had bestowed on her.
The love of Mary is observed in her loyal service of God and neighbor. She spent herself in promptly obeying the Almighty's commands and responding to the spiritual and bodily needs of others. Whether doing something extraordinary--like miraculously conceiving through the power of the Holy Spirit and bringing Christ forth while retaining her Perpetual Virginity--or something routine--like taking care of Jesus and Saint Joseph by attending to common household chores--Mary was a servant par excellence. Nothing was too grandiose or too small for her to accomplish if God in fact directed her to do so.
Now that we acknowledge Our Lady's purity and love, what is our response? To love her "daily more and more." This is nothing other than the desire of Christ: that each day we learn to love His Mother more. Our happy task is straightforward: to love Mary as Jesus does.
We cannot fully imagine the love the Son has for the Mother. Jesus treasures Mary and would do anything for her. How He must delight in answering her requests! And her requests are those that come from her children. When our petitions are in accord with the unfathomable plan of God, then Mary makes them her own and raises them to her beloved Son.
We are grateful that God has given us that pure and loving Immaculate Heart. We honor her. We ask her help. We imitate her. And we strive, like the spiritual daughters of Mother Teresa, to love her daily more and daily.
O most pure and loving Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
http://www.catholic.org , IT
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 666161125
Immaculate Heart of Mary
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