We offer, in preparation for tomorrow’s Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Archbishop Lefebvre’s sermon in her honor.
The Name Written on Her Heart
Sermon by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, August 22, 1976
The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose solemnity we celebrate today is a comparatively new feast and an example of what the Church can do and has done in relatively recent times to adapt the spirit and the riches of the Church to the present day. If any feast reminds us of the truths we need, of truths that when meditating we desire to apply to our souls, that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary certainly does.
This feast clearly has a special link to the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, and it was Pius XII who wished that we honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the octave day of the Assumption.
Ah, yes, since the 17th century devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary has existed. We just celebrated this week the feast of St. John Eudes, who founded congregations under the patronage of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. But if our Holy Father Pius XII decided to honor in a special way the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it was because our times had need of the devotion.
In these times of hardship, in these times where Christians are deprived of what they formerly had, we need the manifestation of the charity of Our Lord, which was so clearly seen during other Christian centuries. One saw religious houses everywhere. Throughout Christendom monasteries, convents, and hospitals were thickly sown. So many religious houses peopled our villages, our countryside, and our cities, that we had the impression—I imagine that the people who lived in those times had the impression—to be entirely surrounded by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. For His love was made manifest, as you might say, on every street corner. There were calvaries; there were images of Our Lady; there were hospitals run by religious; there were refuges for the poor, pilgrims, and those in suffering. Everywhere the charity of Our Lord was manifest.
But in our times, how harsh our world has become! We no longer find this charity of Our Lord in our cities or our countryside. Oh, there are still, of course, souls devoted to Our Lord, but how many compared to the total population? And how much work there remains to do in those countries that do not yet know of Our Lord’s charity, enormous lands like China, Africa, and many others that are still far from this charity!
The Divine Love which Fills the Heart of the Blessed Virgin
And so it seems to me that we need the Blessed Virgin Mary in our times. We need the Blessed Virgin to help us keep the faith, to feel the warmth of Our Lord’s love for us. We no longer see His love with our eyes, and as we see it less and less, we need to feel that Our Lady is near us. And I think that is why Our Lady asked at Fatima that we pray to her Immaculate Heart. We need the divine love which fills the Heart of the Blessed Virgin.
And we also need her Immaculate Heart: immaculate, that is without stain, without sin. God knows that we no longer have around us the example of lives entirely devoted to our Lord Jesus Christ, who carry out the law of Our Lord, His law of love, for the commandments of God are contained in love of God and love of neighbor.
But today, you are witnesses of what goes on in our society, where we murder children, where people commit suicide. Did you know that here in Switzerland, there are more suicides than fatalities due to car accidents? A newspaper recently reported that there were 1800 suicides last year, but only 1600 deaths due to car accidents: 1800 suicides! And mostly of young people. What does that mean? It means that these poor souls no longer felt the love of Our Lord around them; they were disgusted by the life that surrounded them, to the point that they committed suicide. And if what happens in a large number of other countries was made public, we would be horrified.
When one thinks about divorce! So many abandoned children who are torn between father and mother. We live painful lives in a harsh society, where charity is no longer practiced.
Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother
I experienced this personally when I was sent to the African nations, where I worked for 30 years. What struck me the most was the hatred one sensed there. The people were full of hate: one village hated another, one family hated another. The result of this hatred was suicide, poisonings and murders. The love of our Lord Jesus Christ did not reign.
We do not know how fortunate we are to have our Lord Jesus Christ as our Father and the Blessed Virgin Mary as our Mother. From these examples we must draw our love for God and for our models. For if the Blessed Virgin Mary had a most loving heart, her love was all for our Lord Jesus Christ and for all those “attached” to Him, and to lead all souls to our Lord Jesus Christ, to her Son Jesus. She lived for this love.
And because she loved Our Lord she was never able to offend Him; she simply couldn’t. She was conceived immaculate, born immaculate, and she remains immaculate all her life. She is then for us a model of purity of heart, of obedience to the law of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And because she loved Our Lord, she wanted to suffer with Him and share His sufferings. Sharing suffering is a sign of love. She saw her Son Jesus suffer and she wished to suffer with Him. When the heart of Jesus was pierced, so was hers, the heart of Mary! These two pierced hearts lived in unity for the glory of God, for the reign of God, for the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. They fought for that alone.
And for this reason we too must be ready to suffer for the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. He no longer reigns in our societies, nor in our families, nor in our own selves. Yet we need His reign. It is the only reason for the existence of our souls, our bodies, of humanity, and this earth and all of God’s creation: that Jesus Christ may reign; that He may give to souls His life, His salvation, His charity, His glory.
. . .
We must therefore be strong and ask the most blessed Virgin Mary on this day that we, like her, may have only one love in our hearts: that of our Lord Jesus Christ; only one name written on our hearts: that of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The above is excerpted. The entire sermon is well worth reading and can be found here.
Ed. Note: As we place Archbishop Lefebvre’s words about Africa in their context, we see that the passage of time has only proved his point; the hatred he witnessed in Africa was the result of the absence of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Immaculate Mother. To the extent that the good African people embraced the faith, the hatred dissipated and contrariwise, to the extent that the hate-filled sect of Allah and other false religions prevailed, so did hatred and violence. And now, as we survey the shambles of the dissolution of Christendom, we should be able to see even more clearly, the need for the pure and perfect love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
My words here are sometimes taken to be an endorsement of a sort of pacifism. To be quite clear: I am saying that our actions must first be based on devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and once we have this solid spiritual footing under us, our Queen and Mother will give us guidance to lead us to the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King. Attempting the material success without adequate spiritual preparation is hubris and it never succeeds in spiritual matters! Have we learned nothing?
For it was in Rianjo, August, 1931, that Sister Lúcia was reminded by Our Lord of His insistence on the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her words,
“… as I was asking God for the conversion of Russia, Spain and Portugal, it seemed to me that His Divine Majesty said to me: “You console Me a great deal by asking Me for the conversion of those poor nations. Ask it also of My Mother frequently, saying: ‘Sweet Heart of Mary, be the salvation of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the whole world.’
At other times say: ‘By your pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, obtain for me the conversion of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the entire world.’ “
At that same time, Our Lord assured Sister Lúcia, “Make it known to My ministers that, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My request, they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.” (Father Alonso in “Fatima Ante la Esfinge”, quoted by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, “The Whole Truth About Fatima, V. II”.)
As our readers have noted, today is also the day we remember the apparition of Our Lady of Knock, Ireland.
For previous posts on Knock:
And so, we urge as always,
Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
† St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!
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