At a glance, it almost looks like a mirror image.
And that’s probably not by accident. In many traditional devotional images, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are paired together. In many instances—here is one example—Jesus and Mary are wearing nearly identical clothing and are both pointing to their hearts in similar fashion.
As Catholics, we grasp the association on an intuitive level. Just as the Sacred Heart is an emblem of Jesus’ love for us, so also Mary’s Immaculate Heart indicates her maternal love for us. That Jesus and Mary are always together is a conviction reflected in the titles of Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix and the dogma of the Assumption. The Son of God and His Mother are as inseparable as Adam and Eve.
But is the Immaculate Heart of Mary grounded in the gospels? Of course, it doesn’t have to be, but the question naturally arises because the Sacred Heart is most definitely biblical: Jesus was pierced through the side in such a way that theologians and other experts are certain that the spear penetrated all the way to His heart.
Mary is truly a mirror to Christ. So it would be most fitting if the Immaculate Heart was likewise rooted in Scripture. Here are four ways that it is.
1. Jesus took his flesh from Mary.
The doctrine of the Incarnation, which is certainly founded in Scripture, holds that Jesus drew His humanity from Mary. Because of this, the Church has always sensed—and more recently, in the nineteenth century, defined as a dogma—the truth that Mary’s humanity was free of the stain of sin from the moment of her conception. Like the purest white marble ready for a master sculptor, her humanity was immaculately preserved for her Son. Just as His body was fashioned out of hers, so also did His Sacred Heart came from her heart.
Put another way: the Sacred Heart could not be understood apart from the Immaculate Heart any more than Jesus’ humanity is conceivable without His mother.
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