Monthly Devotion

 

The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart. Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of August is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The physical heart of Mary is venerated (and not adored as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is) because it is united to her person and is the seat of her love (especially for her divine Son), virtue, and inner life. Such devotion is an incentive to a similar love and virtue.

This devotion has received new emphasis in this century from the visions given to Lucy Dos Santos, oldest of the visionaries of Fatima, in her convent in Tuy, in Spain, in 1925 and 1926. In the visions Our Lady asked for the practice of the Five First Saturdays to help make amends for the offenses committed against her heart by the blasphemies and ingratitude of men. The practice parallels the devotion of the Nine First Fridays in honor of the Sacred Heart.

On October 31, 1942, Pope Pius XII made a solemn Act of Consecration of the Church and the whole world to the Immaculate Heart. Let us remember this devotion year-round, but particularly through the month of August.

 

 

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart

Pope Paul VI, on the floor of the Vatican Council at the close of the third session, renewed publicly the consecration of the Church and the world to Mary's Immaculate Heart. He said that his thoughts turned to the whole world "which our venerated predecessor Pius XII . . . not without inspiration from on high, solemnly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. . . . O Virgin Mary, Mother of the Council, to you we recommend the entire Church." When he visited Fatima on May 13, 1967, the same Pope recalled this "consecration which we ourselves have renewed on November 21, 1964 — we exhort all the sons of the Church to renew personally their consecration to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of the Church and to bring alive this most noble act of veneration through a life ever more in accord with the divine will and in a spirit of filial service and of devout imitation of their heavenly Queen."

Before making a consecration it is most desirable to make a careful preparation extending over some period of time. One good way to make that preparation is described in the last part of St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion book.

The most essential thing is not making an act of consecration, with or without some solemnity, though that is important. The essential thing is to live that consecration.

Living a consecration could be described as following three attitudes or spirits:

    Union — Imitation of Jesus and Mary, so as to become like them, and trying to develop as constant as possible a realization of His and her presence.

    Dependence — Give to Jesus and Mary the right to dispose of everything we have, temporal and spiritual.

    Obedience — Jesus and Mary have the right to ask us to do anything at all, even without reward. In consecration, we recognize that right, give it on a basis of love, and plan to carry it out with fullest generosity.

St. Maximilian Kolbe liked to speak of the relation of consecration to our baptismal promises, in which we promised to renounce satan and all his works, and to follow Jesus, by whom we are "sealed" in baptism as His property. Consecration is the fullest kind of response to and carrying out of these promises. Mary, in view of her Immaculate Conception, was most fitted to respond most fully, and that she did, with a fullness and perfection beyond our ability to visualize — for we recall that Pius IX told us that even at the start of her existence, her holiness was so great that "none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it."

Excerpted from Our Father's Plan, Fr. William G. Most