Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Heart To Heart
As a Sacred Heart was no stranger to rebuff, dread and pain, an Immaculate Heart shared astonishment, anxiety and inability to understand. I speak of Jesus and of Mary. Heart symbolizes a person; it focuses on one’s core self.
It is all too easy to lose sight of the person of Jesus, whose most sacred heart does not exist apart from him. Our baptism and confirmation conform us to the likeness of his person, and his eucharist nourishes us with the personality of his Spirit in order that we find ourselves by losing ourselves in Jesus.
Similarly, it is all too easy to lose sight of the person of Mary, whose heart-pierced life shaped her heart into its immaculate and ever-pondering selflessness.
When we forget the humanity of Mary and that the Trinity chose to work through it for the reconciliation of each of us and all people, we risk living outside the atmosphere of the Incarnation. In Mary’s son the divine and the human embraced so that the destiny of each person is to become fully divine and human.
We already participate in divinity by our sacramental share of our Messiah’s life which he offers us. We share it in our humanity. The opening prayer reminded us: “as Mary was a fitting home for [God’s] Holy Spirit,” she prays for us to be a “more worthy temple of [God’s] glory.” St. Paul was fond of that image. New creation conveys that we are human temples of Holy Spirit.
Mary’s prayers are not solely for our future. She prays each moment for us to have a deeper felt knowledge of God’s glory and to allow it to motivate our actions and shape our desires: to be living, breathing temples.
Because the first human temple of Holy Spirit continued to feel everything human, including astonishment, anxiety and the inability to understand, we, Holy Spirit temples, take heart, knowing Mary prays for us with intimate knowledge of our fragile and broken lives.
To consider our humanity in the light of Mary’s humanity and God’s desire to work through it and with it offers a refreshing way to appreciate ourselves, Jesus and the mission he entrusts to us: we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us [and gracing us] so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
We might summarize this with the phrase “heart to heart.” Our humanity gives us kinship with Mary and with her son. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn used the phrase when he spoke of human happiness:
“It is not the level of prosperity that makes for happiness but the kinship of heart to heart and the way we look at the world.”/*/Mary’s heart includes all our experiences, not just happiness. Recalling the fitting home she was for God’s Holy Spirit, bearing God into our world as Jesus, and praying for us to be a “more worthy temple of [God’s] glory” affords us a new way to see the world and ourselves--the way the Trinity gazes upon it and upon us.
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