The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary


OPENING

Jesus' heart is filled with an eternal and powerful love so great that it can overcome all evil, even death.  Because he loves us, he was willing to suffer for us.  His care for us is beyond anything we can imagine.  Mary, his mother, made a choice when she was still just a girl.  God invited her to be the mother of his Son, and in the simplicity of her heart, she gave her whole self over to God.  In Jesus' heart of great love and Mary's heart of simple willingness to give all to God, may we learn the love of God and live in his peace.


READING

A reading from the first letter of Saint John:

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God.  Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.  And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him.  This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.  Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another.  No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us.  The Word of the Lord.


GOSPEL

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke:

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.  When Jesus was twelve years old, they went to the festival as usual.  When the festival was over, they started back home, but the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem.  His parents did not know this; they thought that he was with the group, so they traveled a whole day and then started looking for him among their relatives and friends.  They did not find him, so they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.  On the third day they found him in the Temple, sitting with the Jewish teachers, listening to them and asking questions.  All who heard him were amazed at his intelligent answers.  His parents were astonished when they saw him, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us?  Your father and I have been terribly worried trying to find you."  He answered them, "Why did you have to look for me?  Didn't you know that I had to be in my Father's house?"  But they did not understand his answer.  So Jesus went back with them to Nazareth, where he was obedient to them.  His mother treasured all these things in her heart.  The Gospel of the Lord.


SILENT REFLECTION

Mary did not always understand her son. Jesus.  But whenever things happened to him that confused her, the Bible tells us that she "pondered them in her heart."  We too can ponder God's love in our hearts.  Jesus' loving wisdom and the gift of his own heart, which he has shared so generously, can become like treausres we keep at the center of our attention always.


CLOSING PRAYER

God our Father, we thank you for the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  May we be filled with the same love and simplicity that filled them until that love spills out into the world.  May we become a way that your love and healing can enter the world and bring your peace.  Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.



Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


OPENING

When the angel Gabriel came to tell Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, he told her something else too.  He told her that her cousin, Elizabeth, who was old and had never been able to have a baby, was pregnant!  Mary left her home right away to visit Elizabeth and to share her joy.  As Mary arrived, she greeted her cousin, and when Elizabeth heard Mary's voice, the child within her leapt for joy!  Then she spoke the beautiful words of the prayer we have come to know so well.


PSALM

Praise the Lord, all you nations!

Extol him, all you peoples!  For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord, all you nations!


READING

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke:

Soon afterward Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea.  She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby moved within her.  Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said in a loud voice, "Your are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child your will bear!  The Gospel of the Lord.


SILENT REFLECTION

Can we imagine how Mary felt when she heard Elizabeth speak these beautiful words: "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb"?  Where else have we heard these words?  We, like Elizabeth, can say the same words to Mary.


CLOSING PRAYER

God our Father, we praise you and thank you for Mary.  Let her visit our hearts, just as she visited her cousin.  May we, like Elizabeth, be filled with the Holy Spirit and may we bless and praise Mary, along with her son.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen. 


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