With thanks to Randwick Parish Magazine No.39 Aug 2016...
When the Servant of God, Father Jules Chevalier, the Founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary the title, ‘Our Lady of the Sacred Heart’, in 1857, he did so as an act of thanksgiving for her special assistance in making it possible for him to found our Congregation.
Fr Chevalier wrote, ‘This title means that Mary is our Queen, our Mother and consequently, Our Lady’. He was convinced that Mary would hear every prayer made to her under the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. One of his favourite Gospel stories was the Marriage Feast at Cana, where at Mary’s request Jesus turned water into wine. He wrote of the wonderful influence Mary had over the Heart of her Son.
This Gospel story was the Gospel of the very first Mass of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. While the emphasis may have changed, it is still very much part of the Thursday Novena to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart which draws people to this Church each week, to pray for their special needs and intentions. But as Mary said to the servants, so she says to us today, ‘Do whatever he tells you’. It is Mary who presents our petitions to her Son on our behalf but we must accept his reply.
But Jules Chevalier also stood, as it were, with Mary at the foot of the Cross and saw the side of Jesus pierced with a lance and the blood and water flow from his side. The Centurion’s lance opened the way into the very heart of Jesus, as St. Augustine wrote, ‘Longinus has opened the side of Christ for me, and I have entered in’. These are the riches that Father Chevalier believed were given, by her Son, into hands of His Mother, to be showered upon those who turn to her in their hours of need. ‘Come to me’, Jesus said, ‘all you who labour and are heavenly burdened and I will give you rest’. It is Mary, His Mother that Jesus has entrusted all the graces and blessings of his Heart to bring true peace and rest to all who turn to her in their hour of need was the firm belief of Father Chevalier. It was from the fl esh and blood of Mary that the heart of Christ was formed in her womb.
‘Learn from me’, Jesus said, ‘For I am gentle and humble of heart’. It is also Mary who leads us into the love of her Son, into his Sacred Heart, to learn there what it means ‘to be gentle and humble of heart’! What it means to live a true ‘heart spirituality’! St. Bernard assures us: ‘With Mary as guide you cannot go astray . . . So long as she is in your mind you are free from deception’.
Where better to learn how to love Jesus, where better to adore, praise thank and love Jesus than in his very Heart, and it is Mary, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who is our sure guide into true heart spirituality. Pope Paul VI wrote beautifully of Mary as the woman of faith, as the strong but gentle woman, as the woman for our times.
The late Brother James Maher msc, in his song called Mary ‘Woman of the Sacred Heart’, reminds us that she is one of us, a woman who had to live by faith, a woman who had to stand on Calvary and see her Son die like a common criminal, still believing that he was the Messiah, the Holy One of God. It is she who will lead us into the depths of the Love of Christ, into the depths of the love of God made real and human in the Heart of Christ Jesus.
It is in this church, for over 130 years, that Mary has been honoured as Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. It is the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. We as members of this parish community are in a very special way under her protection. Let us realise this special privilege that we too can stand with Jules Chevalier, beside Mary on Calvary, and contemplate that pierced side of Christ and enter into the mystery of God’s love made real for us in Jesus.