Photo: Fr Simon Henry's Silver Jubilee celebrated at St Catherine Labouré in Leyland
Looking at us today many outside the Church -- and sadly many within -- would think we were having some nice cosy devotion -- a little extra hobby for those who liked that sort of thing.
But that is NOT what is happening here. To characterize it as such is the work of the evil one, for it domesticates, privatizes and trivializes the great act of God accomplished among us.
Our prayer today -- the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and our honouring of the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary are, in fact, at the centre of the cosmic battle of good and evil, in which we unite ourselves, through our Immaculate Mother, to the cosmic events of the salvation of the world.
Pope St John Paul in consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary turned to her saying: 'Mother of Christ, may the infinite salvific power of the Redemption be revealed once again in the history of the world; power of merciful love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May the light of hope be renewed to all in your Immaculate Heart.'
That is what we are involved in today in this great Feast. Mary’s heart is immaculate from the moment of her conception by the power of Christ’s saving sacrifice: the living action of the power of merciful love called down into human history those centuries ago as Mary was conceived in Anna’s womb and that same power called down still into the world of today; putting a stop to evil; transforming consciences; bringing the light of hope to the culture of death;
And Her Immaculate Heart will help us - you and me - to do this.
Devotion is at its heart the gift of oneself. So if we say we have devotion to Mary we must make of ourselves a gift to her; consecrate ourselves to her; make an explicit offering of ourselves to her. That we might become her children.
Become children of Mary - Why? Because God himself became a child of Mary.
Jesus and I are children of the same Mother. And the more we become the children of Mary, the more we become the brothers and sisters of Our Lord - what our very Baptism into Christ calls us to be...