Categories
Alessandra Ink Slingers Marriage Matrimony Novenas Testimonials

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your Mercy Saved Me


I have a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Being that this is His month, I wanted to share a little story of my childhood.

Growing up, my mom had this image of the Sacred Heart in our living room. This is the image I would look at day in and day out. This was HUGE by the way it measured about 5 feet x 3 feet, think a big poster. I experienced many sad moments in my childhood: the loss of my father, sexual abuse by my step father (I’ve shared in Broken Childhood, Healed by Christ), my mother’s alcoholism due to the first two, and much more. But this image always gave me hope, even when we didn’t go to Mass, even when my mom fell away from the Church.

One time when we were moving for what felt like the 1 billionth time, she wanted to change the frame it was in because it was heavy and she and I were moving our entire apartment alone with my little sisters (I was 12 then). She messed it up and sprayed the image itself in silver. She cried and cried so much! I told her that it didn’t matter, it was beautiful anyway. Once we moved she never put it back up on the wall. Mind you this move was to get away from the abusive man that had hurt all three little girls and in the process my poor mother. My uncle saw it in a corner and thought it was trash so he was going to throw it away but then thought to keep the frame for another picture. So he starts pulling the picture off and guess what?

There was a second intact image underneath it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For us it was a miracle and gave us the strength we needed to move forward and away from the life we had lived for so long that was so far from God. I knelt before this image begging God to help my mom and her alcoholism MANY MANY times. I screamed at Him many times too, in those moment where I felt so alone and helpless. He pulled me/us through though. Many years later, when I was 25, my mom stopped drinking completely, not even socially. She had dry moments but that wasn’t enough. She went through a retreat and at the end of it there was a Mass and then followed testimonies of Faith. She stood up and told this story and then publicly apologized to me and thanked me for my Faith in Him, which is what helped her she said.

I have an incredible devotion to the Sacred Heart, can you see why?

But God’s amazing mercy didn’t stop there. When I met my husband, Peter, (on what used to be SaintRaphael.org and now CatholicMatch.com) he had this image as his profile picture for some time. It was a photo of the one that hung in his living room! The same exact one! It was what made me curious about him and got us chatting. His screen name was “SacredHeart1220”! In our bedroom we have a smaller but exact same image. My screen name was “LittleFlower1220”. Notice the 1220 that are similar? We have the same birthday, Dec. 20th. For me, there is no such thing as coincidence! Maybe God-incidences? See, I had just prayed a 30 Day Novena to the Holy Ghost and in it I wrote 30 things that I wanted my future husband to be like. I am not lying when I tell you he had all 30 things. It was just amazing, I giggle each time I remember…I met him on day 30!

Sometimes, it is hard to realize this but

God is always with us, even when men and the world, and the Devil want to hurt us. Cling to Him through the storm and in the end He will reward you!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

 

Categories
4th Commandment Adrienne Catechism Doctrine Faith Formation Ink Slingers Mary Sacred Scripture Saints Ten Commandments

Mary’s Sinlessness and Our Salvation

Photograph by Adrienne Taylor
Sinless suffering.

Have you ever thought about what it would have been like if Mary hadn’t been sinless?  After pondering on Jesus’s adherence to the fourth commandment (Commanded to Love Mary) I realized that by the implications of the commandment, to honor thy father and mother, Mary had to be sinless.  Also, in writing this article, I’ve come to realize how the Church’s Marian teachings highlight both God’s sovereignty and the utmost importance of our salvation.

In God’s perfect plan for our salvation, He chose to involve Mary from beginning to end.  The Holy Spirit did not descend upon her until she gave her consent to Angel Gabriel.  Likewise, Mary was compelled to give her unwavering consent throughout the entire gruesome passion of her Son as He died for our sins.  Mary’s sinlessness is less about her never having done anything “bad” and more about the relationship God had (has) with her.

In the Gospel of Matthew (16) we read about Jesus calling Simon blessed, renaming him to Peter and then building His Church upon him.  Jesus promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail over His Church!  Yet, the Gospel of Matthew continues on to record Jesus next exclaiming to St. Peter, “Get behind me Satan!”  This is quite a letdown for the next words uttered to our first pope.  What drew such a remark from our Savior?  Jesus had for the first time revealed to the disciples that He must suffer and die.  Naturally, St. Peter, who loved Jesus with a love we can only hope to achieve, cried out upon hearing the news, “God forbid, Lord!  No such thing shall ever happen to you.”  How could this cry out of love be worthy of being attributed to Satan?  The Catechism provides several definitions of sin, the first of which concludes, “… It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.’”   St. Peter, out of love for Jesus, committed a sin against the eternal law by desiring Christ would not suffer and die.

What would have been the implications for our salvation if Mary had harbored desires contrary to the eternal law?  Sadly, though by God’s perfect plan, St. Joseph had passed away sometime between Jesus’s childhood and adulthood, but, Mary remained by Jesus’s side through His death, resurrection, and ascension.  By consequence of Jesus’s perfect adherence to the fourth commandment, Mary had an unfathomable amount of power.  When she expected a reluctant Jesus to turn water into wine, Mary demonstrated the power she had over her Son.  This power, of course, was not of her own.  God willingly gave her this invincible kind of power over Jesus when creating a mother for Himself, and God found it fitting for her to be beside Jesus with this power throughout His life.  Could God have allowed this in His plan had Mary been ordinary?

Photograph by Adrienne Taylor
Mary with her expired Son.

Imagine how much Satan lusted after the power of Mary.  Satan tried to tempt Jesus in His weakness during His 40 days in the desert, but of course failed because Jesus is the all powerful God.  However, Mary was a mere human.  Since sin, in its most basic definition, is anything that separates one from God, and because Satan must be rather powerful himself to be a worthy adversary of God’s, it stands to reason that Satan would have been waiting for any opportunity for Mary to have been separated from God in order to successfully worm his way in.  Satan could have corrupted Mary even through original sin, since original sin is being created in a state separated from God.  All Satan needed to happen was for Mary to show even a little maternal remorse at any crucial part of Jesus’s passion, or utter words against God’s eternal law like St. Peter did, and Jesus would have been conflicted in His mission.  His parents would not have been united.  He would have felt compelled to carry forth with honoring His Father, but at the expense of dishonoring His mother, which would have been sinful.  Or He would have been compelled, in His perfection, to honor His mother’s wishes and avoid suffering the death upon the cross, but that contradicted His Father’s plan.  God’s perfect plan for our salvation demanded a perfect sacrifice, a sinless Jesus.  God’s perfect plan for our salvation also included Mary every step of the way.  In order for Mary to have been allowed to be present throughout Jesus’s life, and in order for Jesus to remain sinless while adhering perfectly to the fourth commandment, Mary too, had to be sinless, she had to be perfectly in union with God’s eternal law.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was the singular most important event in salvation history, would we expect anything less than the best possible plan from our God?   Our Church’s teachings on Our Lady demonstrate just how great God is and just how important our salvation is to Him.  Let us be thankful that He made His Mother so miraculously holy!  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”, this is the first commandment with a promise.  Ephesians 6:1-2

O Jesus,
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works,
joys and sufferings
of this day for all the intentions
of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,
and in particular
for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Amen