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Sunday:       Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Date:         July 1, 2000
Year:         B
The readings: [Lam. 2:2, 10-4, 18-19a; Mt. 8:5-17]
The message:  The Father's Precious Pearl.
Total words:  2002

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** The readings follow the sermon.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, welcome to the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In my opinion, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not just another Marian Feast. It is the greatest of all Marian Feast, culminating all what has been revealed about the Blessed Virgin Mary during the last two thousand years.

As you are aware, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary follows the day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Both devotions are closely linked. "Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it." "This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death". (C.C.C. # 964, 1172)

While the devotion to the Virgin Mary was popular in the 17th century, it was not until 1805 that the Feast of the Pure Heart of Mary received formal recognition by the Church.

When Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three children in 1917, she emphasized the need of steadfast prayers, true repentance and penance for the sins of men. Over and above this, she asked for the Consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart in order to obtain peace in the world and the conversion of Russia.

Within a few years, the Holy Catholic Church officially recognized the apparitions of Fatima. Overnight, the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary reached every continent to find its way in most Catholic homes in the form of holy pictures, statues, medals, etc...

Following this, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942. Two years later, in 1944, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was instituted in the Western Church. In 1945, to promote devotion, the Vicar of Rome established the new Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on August 22 and extended it to the Universal Church.

One of the popular devotions that has arisen from this Divine progressive Plan of God is one's personal consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In this pious act of consecration, the faithful Catholics submit themselves and all what they possess to the trust of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the summary of the history of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

One may wonder, what is so special about the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary? What sets it apart from the many Marian Feasts of the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, the Mother of God, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of the Scapular, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, etc...? It is her "Immaculate Heart." Allow me to explain.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the precious Pearl of God the Father, the greatest of all His creations, far surpassing the greatness that is found in all of the angels. As the Catechism of the Holy Catholic Church teaches and as some of the Vicars of Rome have proclaimed over the years, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the new Eve. (C.C.C. # 411, 511, 726, 975, 2618, 2853) Full of grace by the power of the Holy Spirit, preserved from sin as teaches the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and preserved from the corruption of death according to the dogma of the Assumption, (C.C.C. 2853) the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary culminates all what has been progressively revealed to the Holy Catholic Church regarding her beauty, her honours and her glories. To no other creations has the Lord God given so great honours and glories as He has bestowed upon Immaculate Heart of Mary.

To perceive the fullness of the mystery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is necessary to consider the following subjects:

1. the meaning of the term the "new Eve";
2. the meaning of the soul versus the spirit;
3. the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; and,
4. a Bible passage from the Book of Isaiah.

To perceive the term "New Eve," it is necessary to understand what was so special about the "first Eve," the wife of Adam. Both, Adam and Eve, were created free of all stains of sin. Both were created immaculate, this being the highest state of creation. The created immaculate state, being lower than uncreated divinity, is the fullness of perfection, surpassing all what has been bestowed upon the angels, and mankind that is born from the seed of sin.

While Adam and Eve enjoyed this ecstatic state of perfection for a time, they lost their inheritance through disobedience to God, consequently inheriting sin that was passed on to all the generations.

When the first Eve was created by the Lord God, her whole being was created immaculate, in soul, spirit and body. [Gen. 2:7; Lk. 1:46-7; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 2:26]

To have a greatly appreciation of the creation of the first Eve, it is necessary to perceive the meaning of the words soul and spirit as applied in the Holy Bible which is the inspired Word of God. When references are made to the soul, they are a reference to the ' me,' the 'I,' the self-consciousness of the person. When references are made to the spirit (with a small "s"), they are references to the human spirit, the spiritual form of the person, the spirit usually including the soul. [For human spirit, see: Ezek. 11:19-20; 18:31; 36:26-7; Jer. 31:31, 3; 1 Cor. 3:16]

To further understand this, let us consider the creation of an angel. When we view the picture of an angel, we perceive two important factors about it. The first is that it has a spiritual form with wings that is called a spirit (ghost). We also perceive that this form of the angel is not its soul, the self-consciousness that has a free will and the ability to think. That is because as a thought is without form, the soul of the angel is also formless. Therefore, an angel has a formless soul and a spirit that is its spiritual form. The spirit of the angel is the form through which his soul manifest itself.

At this point, it can be said that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is greater than the angels by the mere fact that in their creation, they did not receive a physical body. Angels only enjoy a soul and a spiritual form (spirit).

In the creation of man, there is a soul, the 'me,' the 'I,' the self-consciousness, also being invisible and formless. Coexisting as one with the soul of man is the physical body and the human spirit, that is the spiritual form that gives life to the physical body. "For a body without a spirit is dead." [Jas. 2:26] While the soul of man presently manifest itself through the physical body, the soul of the saints who have departed from this world manifest themselves through their spiritual form, their human spirit.

Returning to the new Eve, when she inherited sin, her whole being, her soul, spirit and body, stained by sin, were called to experience physical or spiritual death. The same thing happens to all her descendants. When the physical body dies, it returns to dust. Those who have not received the Sacrament of Baptism, they experience spiritual death over and above physical death. This means that they are denied entry into the Kingdom of God because they have not been born again of water and Spirit. [Jn. 3:5-6]

But, for the baptized, there is a living hope. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, they died with Christ, were buried with Christ and resurrected with Christ. During faith in Jesus and the Sacrament of Baptism, all traces of the original and personal sins were erased. During the Sacrament of Baptism, the new convert became a new creation in Christ. As such, those who are baptized have received the first installment towards their salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

When we consider all these factors and the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, including the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from sin, it can then be logically concluded that the Immaculate Heart of Mary was created by God as the New Eve. She was not required to be baptized because she had already received the new creation that we receive during the Sacrament. The Immaculate Heart of Mary was created by God, soul, human spirit, and body, not being born of the seed of man. The male and female seeds that led to the creation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary had to be placed within the womb of Saint Anne, the mother of Mary.

Now, all this may seem quite impossible to believe, that God literally created the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the New Eve for her to become the Holy Temple that would bear the Son of God. If such is true, that the Immaculate Heart of Mary was created by God as the New Eve, it would mean that the Blessed Virgin Mary would have had to enjoy the same state of life that the old Eve enjoyed prior to sin. It would mean that the Immaculate Heart of Mary would not have experienced the pangs of childbearing that came as a result of sin. [Gen. 3:16] Does the inspired Word of God in the Holy Bible support this as a truth? Yes, it does! Please note that whenever the Holy Bible makes a reference to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it uses the symbolic name "Zion." When it refers to the Church, it uses the symbolic name "Jerusalem." Listen to these words from the Book of Isaiah.

"Before she was in labour she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be delivered in one moment? Yet as soon as Zion was in labor she delivered her children. Shall I open the womb and not deliver? says the Lord; shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb? says your God.

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her - that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom.

For thus says the Lord: I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem." [Is. 66:7-13]
Rejoice with Jerusalem, the Church, and be glad for her, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, all you who love her. Rejoice because when she was in labour, she gave birth, "BEFORE HER PAIN CAME UPON HER SHE DELIVERED A SON."

My brothers and sisters, this is the mystery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the magnitude of the honour and glory that God the Father bestowed upon our Heavenly Queen, the Mother of God, the New Eve. The "heart" is symbolic of the word "mind." [Ezek. 11:19-20, 18:31, 36:26; Jer. 24:7, 31:33; Heb. 10:16] In the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the mind through which her soul manifested itself in her physical body and through which her soul continues to manifest itself through her eternal human spirit, it was created by God in the fullness of perfection. Over and above the Immaculate state of her soul, human spirit and body, the Heart (mind) of Mary has always been Immaculate, free of sin from the moment of her creation in the womb of her mother, during her life on earth and now in Heaven.

While we require faith in Christ and the Sacrament of Baptism as an absolute necessity for the inheritance of our salvation and the Kingdom of God, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the precious Pearl of the Heavenly Father, created immaculate in nature, was exempted of this necessity. To the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Father entrusted the birth of His only begotten Son so that through her obedience and servitude, the world may be redeemed. "Surely, from now on all generations will call (her) blessed." [Lk. 1:48]

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The readings...

[The readings were taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America.]

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First Reading...

"The Lord has destroyed without mercy all the dwellings of Jacob; in his wraths he has broken down the strongholds of daughter Judah; he has brought down to the ground in dishonour the kingdom and its rulers.

The elders of daughter Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have thrown dust on their heads and put on sackcloth; the young girls of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground.

My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of my people, because infants and babes faint in the streets of the city.

They cry to their mothers, 'Where is bread and wine?' as they faint like the wounded in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out on their mother's bosom.

What can I say for you, to what compare you, O daughter Jerusalem? To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter Zion? For vast as the sea is your ruin: who can heal you?

Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen oracles for you that are false and misleading.

Cry aloud to the Lord! O wall of daughter Zion! Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! Give yourself no rest, your eyes no respite! Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children." [Lam. 2:2, 10-4, 18-19a]

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Gospel Reading...

"While Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, 'Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.' And Jesus said to him, 'I will come and cure him.'

The centurion answered, 'Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go.' and he goes, and to another, 'Come.' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this.' and the slave does it.

When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, 'Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And to the centurion Jesus said, 'Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.' And the servant was healed in that hour.

When Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him.

That evening they brought to Jesus many who were possessed with demons: and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick.

This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, 'He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.'" [Mt. 8:5-17]

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