Circular Letter No. 6/2010
June 21, 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the MMP,
First of all, we are happy to note that some people have already visited our website. Despite its limitations, we hope that it serves its purpose of promoting the work of Our Lady by sharing our activities and experiences in the Philippines through the Marian Movement of Priests. We thank our initial visitors for their appreciation. We hope that they share our website with others, too. There is indeed an urgency of making our Blessed Mother known and loved by all. We need her more than ever in these times of our lives, in the life of the Church and of the whole humanity.
Doing her work in the Marian Movement of Priests is not an easy task. But, her words are reassuring, and that is more than enough. ‘For this, you will receive everything from me; walk in simplicity and total abandonment. Never let your heart be troubled. . . In this, consider yourself as nothing, truly incapable of anything, because that is just what you are. But in the measure you offer your utter nothingness to me, I will be able to act and operate according to my plans’ (Message48, g).
Today, we honor our Blessed Mother as we celebrate the feast of her Immaculate Heart. As early as the end of the 11th century, this devotion was already mentioned. It was, however, in 1944 when Pope Pius XII instituted the feast every 22nd of August on the Octave of the Solemnity of the Assumption. Later in 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the feast to the Saturday right after the Feast of the Sacred Heart, seeing the analogous linkage of the Heart of Jesus with the Heart of Mary. In that same year also, he designated August 22 as the feast of the Queenship of Mary, giving the mystery of the Assumption greater significance.
The Church invites us to look at the mystery of the Immaculate Heart. Scripturally, ‘heart’ signifies person, much more than ‘head.’ Hence, the‘heart’ of Our Lady denotes her entire person: her will, her intellect, her soul, her passions, and even incorporates her body in so far as it includes reference to the physical organ. Spiritual writers commonly use the Immaculate Heart as a devotional name to refer to Mary’s interior life, her joys andsorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and above all her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for all people.
In the book "To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons", Mary describes her Immaculate Heart as the garden that the Holy Trinity has prepared for Itself and for us. For Itself, because Its most pure light is reflected in it; it is the place where God is most glorified. For us, because we have need of this delightful garden especially in these times in which we are living (Message149, h). In particular, she points out that her Immaculate Heart is the greatest gift that the heavenly Father offers as the safest refuge and means of salvation for the Church and for humanity (Message88 q-r). Above all, her heart is the heart of a mother, who is real and living for all her children (Message21 b).
Reflecting on this mystery is immensely amazing. But, far from inviting us to do external devotion, we are called to live daily and intensely the consecration we made to the Immaculate Heart. According to Our Lady, this is the only way she can be venerated (Message264 a). In her book, she also points out that what characterizes our consecration is its totality. ‘When you are consecrated, you are then wholly so and forever. You must completely entrust yourselves to me, in a total and everlasting way, that I may dispose of you according to the Will of God’ (Message 287, l-p). To encourage us to live this total consecration, she points to us the mystery of the Annunciation, when, with her Fiat, the Incarnate God entrusted Himself completely to her in her virginal womb (Message 287 q-v). Urging us to imitate Jesus in this, his complete reliance on the heavenly Mother, she asks us to offer ourselvesto her with our consecration (Message 287, y). The motto (Totus Tuus) of our late Holy Father, John Paul II, beautifully describes this life of total consecration.
As we celebrate this feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, let us renew our consecration with greater fervor to live seriously our complete entrustment to her. After all, she told us to be prepared to see her greatest marvels (Message 82 h).
Yours in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
REV. FR. ROMERICO A. PRIETO
Marian Movement of Priests - Philippines