August is the month dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
And it is a month replete with feasts, celebrating saints deeply devoted to Our Blessed Lady. First, is the Feast of St. Dominic, instrumental in the spreading of the Holy Rosary. Then, we find that of St. Jean Eudes, who, in the eighteenth century, was foremost in disseminating devotion to Her Immaculate Heart.
The Feast of St. Bernard, attributed author of the beautiful Memorare prayer to Our Lady, also falls within August. So does that of St. Jean de Chantal, who, along with her dear friend St. Francis de Sales, shared a particular devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And St. Philip Benizi, to whom She appeared, announcing that he should enter the order of the Servites, wholly devoted to Her sorrows.
Then, towards the end of August, we find three more saints profoundly devoted to the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph Calasanctius, St. Rose of Lima and St. Raymond Nonnatus.
Yet, most importantly within this month, we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And the Octave day of this glorious feast, is that of the Immaculate Heart itself.
It was Venerable Pope Pius XII, who, having consecrated the world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart in 1942, (this consecration is found below) extended the Feast of The Immaculate Heart to the entire Church, two years afterwards. It was he who placed it on the Octave day of Her Assumption, the twenty-second of August, where in the Traditional calendar, it is still celebrated today.
For placing it there emphasises Our Lady’s capacity to intercede for us from Heaven, into which She was assumed, body and soul. And from Her heavenly seat, Her Immaculate Heart bathes us, Her earthly children, in Her pure love.
In this vein, the St. Andrew’s Missal states:
Mary in Heaven goes on interceding lovingly on our behalf. Her Heart is the symbol of the ardent love, which she fosters first for God and for her divine Son, but also of her maternal care for all human souls which Jesus entrusted her when He died.
Venerable Pope Pius XII also promulgated the dogma of the Assumption, which declares Mary to be entirely free from the bonds of death. This, of course, is inevitable. For from the moment of conception, Our Lady was free from Original Sin, of which death is a consequence.
As perfect creature, She ascended, like Her Son, body and soul, into Heaven. And like Her Son, She is seated there, crowned as Heavenly Queen.
Yet, unlike Her Son, She is not divine. Therefore, She has a very special connection with all creatures, ourselves.
For She represents perfect creation. And Her Immaculate Heart is the seat of perfect created love, which cannot ever cease to flow from Her Immaculate Heart, not simply towards Her Creator, but towards each and every one of us, Her dear, dear children.
It is therefore Her place to intercede between Creator and created, Our God and ourselves.
So, as this month of August draws to a close, let us not forget that She awaits us always. Her Immaculate Heart forever shines Her motherly love upon us. Let us then not hesitate to sincerely pray to Her for all our needs.
In the beautiful words attributed to St. Bernard, we pray:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen
O Blessed Mother, protect us under Thy mantle and show us Thy Immaculate Heart and the Heart of Thy Divine Son.
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, prayed by Pope Blessed Pius XII during World War II, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, 1942.
Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, in this tragic hour of the world’s history, we entrust and consecrate ourselves to Thy Immaculate Heart, our only refuge, our hope, our salvation. Have pity on this world, torn by the most terrible conflicts, burning with the fires of hate, victim of its own sins. May Thy Heart be moved at the sight of so much ruin, pain and sorrow.
We consecrate to Thy maternal Heart our persons, our families, our country-the whole of humanity. Protect and save us!
O Heart of Mary, source of true love, fill our selfish hearts with divine charity and with that true brotherly love without which there can never be peace. Grant that men and nations may understand and fulfil the precept of Thy Divine Son, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, in order that true peace may be firmly established in the Justice and Truth of Christ.