Sunday, 2 February 2014

The presentation of the Lord

Mary - Softener of Evil Hearts
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Today we remember the heart of the Blessed Virgin. In Luke we read of Simeon's prophecy - that her immaculate heart would be pierced so that the hearts of humanity could be opened. (Luke 2: 22-35).

Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary
(Catholic) Images of the Immaculate Heart of Mary often show the heart/soul  of Mary pierced by a sword- to show her pain and suffering.  She is our mother and a mother who knows the deepest of human pains: the pain of seeing one we love suffering.  Mary suffers with us.

This idea of Mary suffering is to be found in images of  Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows and  Our Lady of the Seven Dolours (right)  in the Catholic tradition. The sorrows  in such  images are represented by 7 swords piercing her heart. *

This image of Mary with a heart wounded by seven swords  is also one we find in the Orthodox tradition - in  icons of Mary of the Seven Sorrows or Mary - Softener of Evil Hearts (above left). Unlike the devotion to the Sacred Heart, the devotion to the Seven Sorrows  of Mary++ is common to both the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.

Such images remind us that the Blessed Virgin - the Theotokos - is our mother  who understands and shares in  our pain and sorrow.

She stood at the foot of the cross and shared in his pain.
She is with us as we carry our cross. 
She was with Jesus as his heart was wounded.
She is with us when our hearts are wounded.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us, now and at the our of our death.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, To thee do we send up our sighs, Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Akathist to the Mother of God, Softener of Evil Hearts

Soften our evil hearts, O Theotokos,  and quench the attacks of those who hate us  and loose all straitness of our soul.  For looking on thy holy icon  we are filled with compunction by thy suffering and loving-kindness for us  and we kiss thy wounds;  we are filled with horror for the darts with which we wound thee.  Let us not, O Mother of Compassion,  according to the cruelty of our hearts, perish from the cruelty of heart of those near us,  For thou art in truth the Softener of Evil Hearts.

*The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34-35)
The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:43-45)
Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary.
Jesus dies on the cross. (John 19:25)
The piercing of the side of Jesus, and Mary's receiving the body of Jesus in her arms. (Matthew 27:57-59)
The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb. (John 19:40-42)

++ The Seven Sorrows of Mary. There are many devotional prayers which consist of meditations on her Seven Sorrows. See, for example  Servite rosary,  the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady and the Seven Joys of Mary. The "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary" refers to the combined devotion of both the Immaculate Heart and the Seven Sorrows of Mary.


  1. Bless..... Beyond words.... Thank-u...

    Most Holy Mother of God.... Save us.....

  2. Bless..... Beyond words.... Thank-u...

    Most Holy Mother of God.... Save us.....