"Him that cometh to me, I will not cast out." - John 6:37
If God has created amongst His Saints, hearts so tender, so noble, so generous, so compassionate, that those words of Job could be applied to them - "From my infancy mercy grew with me;"* what did He not do when fashioning the Heart of Mary? What treasures of goodness, mercy, and love has He not lavished on this Heart? What can we say, how find terms in which to extol the compassion, the tenderness of the Heart of Mary our Mother, the Mother of our God? No, after the Heart of Jesus, you will not find a heart on earth or in Heaven so constantly open to you, none that takes so lively an interest in your salvation, which so tenderly compassionates your sufferings, enters so intimately into your joys and sorrows. The Heart of Mary is the heart of a mother, but of a Mother incomparably more tender and devoted than you can even imagine. It is the living image of the Heart of Jesus, Who was pleased to imprint in it all the movements, all the feelings with which He was Himself animated. It is into Mar/s Heart that Jesus has cast without measure that divine fire which exhausted and consumed Himself for the souls He had come to save. Unite then, if you will, all the burning ardour created hearts have ever entertained for one another, all the flames that have consumed the Saints most inflamed with love for God and their neighbour; all these flames together are but ice compared with the love of the Heart of Mary for you. Like that of Jesus, this Heart is ever ready to assist you, ever as present to you, as if all its affections were concentrated in you alone. Nothing can distract or turn it aside from that one •design - your eternal welfare; and at whatever hour you recur to it, you will find it occupied about you. Ah! love invokes love, heart calls on heart. Since you are so much loved, love you in return; for Mary makes but one request - that we sometimes call to mind, that we believe, this incomprehensible love; and if we think, if we put faith in it, we who are so tender towards those who love us, can we refuse to give her our confidence, our love, our heart?
Run then, Christians, all, run to the Heart of your Mother; it will not reject the child that comes to it. It can compassionate our miseries, for it is the Heart of the Queen of Martyrs , which at the foot of the Cross endured within it all sorrows, exhausted all bitterness. It will pour oil upon the wounds of our souls and bodies, for it is the Health of the Sick . It will be our asylum, our sanctuary in perils, temptations, afflictions, abandonment of creatures, for it is the Help of Christians. What do you fear? Where besides will you find a heart so tender, so powerful, so gracious? You have offended Mary by sinning against her Divine Son, and her Heart pardons you. You have been unmindful of it; never did it lose sight of you. You have wandered far away from the fold of the Divine Pastor; the Heart of your Mother pursued, harassed you incessantly, with remorse. You closed your heart to the impressions of grace; it kept at the door and knocked, and by that gentle violence, which has roused so many sinners from the sleep of eternal death, it effected an entrance as though in spite of you, and restored you to life.
Be mindful, therefore, of this excess of love; never lose the remembrance of it, and endeavour to repay it by the most solid devotion and lively gratitude.
Our heart created to be the sanctuary of the Divinity, becomes too frequently the abode of the enemy; faults, or at least numerous infidelities, tarnish its lustre. For this reason the Saints, jealous of this interior beauty, which charms the Heart of God, endeavoured to regain it by daily confession. You cannot imitate them in this point, but every evening, after your examen, confess to Mary, as the Church herself teaches - "I confess to Blessed Mary ever Virgin." This tender Mother, whom one of the holy Fathers styles "Sacerdotal Virgin," will doubtless obtain for you, together with contrition, the remission of those slight faults you will have accused yourself of to her. If you have had the misfortune to sin mortally, this act of filial confidence will merit for you the grace of promptly coming forth from that sad state, by a good and fervent sacramental confession.
O most loving Heart of Mary, take possession of our hearts both in time and in eternity.
On Sunday, 15th February, 1857, the Confraternity of our Lady of Chartres was celebrating its Patronal Feast, and the thirtieth anniversary of its consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This twofold circumstance brought to all the Offices a large concourse of people, and especially in the evening at the solemn hour of the recommendations, every avenue leading to the chapel of the pilgrimage was beset by a vast and recollected crowd, eager to hear the touching requests forwarded from all parts of the diocese, and even of all France, and which express such confidence in our Lady of Chartres. Among other favours demanded of Mary, her maternal solicitude was invoked in behalf of a little orphan of five; the petition was framed in the following terms - "The prayers of the confraternity are earnestly requested for a little girl of five, who has just lost her mother, to the end that our Lady of Chartres may take her under her holy protection, and may inspire some charitable soul to complete in her what was so well begun by her mother." Now, who can help admiring here the goodness of her none ever invoked in vain? At this confident appeal to our Lady of Chartres, a generous inspiration from Mary descended into the heart of one of the con- gregation, who immediately said to herself - "For the love of Mary, our common Mother, I will be that charitable soul. I will be a mother to this child who has no longer one."
So far all had passed in the secret of the sanctuary between the Immaculate Virgin and her faithful servant. What then were our surprise and delight when, the ceremony ended, the person disclosed to us the pious project, formed at the foot of the miraculous pillar of Mary.
On inquiry we learned that the orphan belonged to a poor but honest family of Viabon. To make known to the Curd the happy lot in reserve for his youthful parishioner, and send to Chartres this new child of Mary, was the work of some days. Received with open arms by her protectress, the poor child found in her a mother in every sense of the word.
By a refinement of modesty, that enhances still more the merit of the charity, the generous benefactress to whom Mary has confided the sweet mission of acting the part of mother to this child, imposed but one condition to her goodness, namely, that her secret be not divulged, but that our Lady of Chartres be left all the honour of an adoption which is her work. It may, however, be said without indiscretion, that the little girl was immediately placed at one of the best schools in the town, there to receive a Christian education. Perhaps the most striking and most consoling feature in the case is, that everybody who had known the mother, regards it as a manifest recompense of her tender devotion to Mary. On this head she was a real subject of edification to the whole parish in which she resided; and she had nothing so much at heart as to implant similar sentiments in her child. Moved by a concurrence of circumstances so evidently providential, a large number of the inhabitants of Viabon, headed by the Curd, have hastened to get themselves enrolled in the Confraternity of our Lady of Chartres, thus to perpetuate among them a souvenir that entitles them to rely in all things on the kindness of the Heart of Mary.
Previous to her arrival at Chartres, our little orphan was called "Aimée;" now she is universally recognized as "Aimée de Marie," a name which Mary herself will doubtless glory in ratifying, by continuing in favour of her adopted child the maternal protection, whose salutary effects she has already experienced in so remarkable a manner.
Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
"No, no, it was not thus that Your Saints loved."
My Lord, and my God, it is with confusion and grief of heart I come to Your feet, I dare to approach You in this tabernacle. Most frequently I present myself with a heart unmoved, with distraction of mind. Time appears long, and I retire without asking anything, without having loved, praised, or thanked You. Ah, it was not so Your dear friends approached You, those Saints of all ages, whose admirable lives are a condemnation of my tepid and slothful one. Alas! when I remember the fervour with which they visited You, the effort it cost them to withdraw from the holy altar, I know not how to excuse myself, or how You can suffer me near You. O my merciful Lord, can I hope one day to love You, 1 who act in no way as Your Saints, who bear nothing for Him Who has suffered so much for me? My God, I too desire to love You! Pardon me, animate me, for the sake of Your friends reject me not, turn not away Your face from me!
O Mary, you who above all, during your mortal life, after the Ascension of your Divine Son, found your repose and joy only in the Sacrament - for sake of this beloved Son, for your own sake, whom my coldness grieves, give me a heart capable of making some return of love to Jesus, annihilated for me under the sacred species.
- taken from The Month of May Consecrated to the Glory of the Mother of God, The Queen of Heaven