Immaculate Heart on Canvas - Unframed




Devo­tion to the Heart of Mary goes back cen­turies, prob­a­bly to the mid­dle ages, becom­ing wide­ly pop­u­lar­ized by the preach­ing of St Bernard of Clair­vaux. In the 17th cen­tu­ry, St. Jean Eudes com­piled enough research and writ­ings to get per­mis­sion for adding spe­cial prop­er prayers for Mass and the Divine Office com­mem­o­rat­ing the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 

Not long after, St. Cather­ine Labore had visions of Jesus and Mary, in which she was given the images for the Mirac­u­lous Medal. On this medal, the Hearts of Jesus and Mary were shown side by side, each bear­ing sym­bol­ism. Since then, images includ­ing the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immac­u­late heart of Mary have become very pop­u­lar, as well as devo­tions to them. In Fati­ma, Our Lady made speci­fic men­tion of con­se­cra­tion to her Immac­u­late heart, and Jesus told Sr. Lucia that repa­ra­tions need­ed to be made for sins again­st the Immac­u­late Heart of Mary.

The image shows the Blessed Moth­er, heart exposed… She is hold­ing lilies, which most like­ly makes ref­er­ence to her ever-vir­gin­i­ty. There is anoth­er sin­gle lily on top of her heart. This prob­a­bly makes ref­er­ence to her heart being Immac­u­late, and a ref­er­ence to her Immac­u­late Con­cep­tion. How­ev­er, it can also be inter­pret­ed that this lily rep­re­sents Christ, com­ing forth from the fire of her love, con­ceived and birthed in her vir­gin­i­ty.

The sword is shown pierc­ing her heart, which recalls the prophe­cy of Sime­on at the Pre­sen­ta­tion of Jesus in the Tem­ple in Luke 2:35. The fire rep­re­sents the burn­ing love of the Blessed Moth­er for Jesus her Son. 

The five lilies set this image apart from many oth­ers… Most images of the Immac­u­late heart show sev­en wounds, sev­en thorns, or sev­en ros­es, in hon­or of the Sev­en Sor­rows of Mary. This one shows five. This very like­ly rep­re­sents the five wounds of Christ, which would have ful­filled Simeon’s prophe­cy that Mary would suf­fer so that the hearts of many could be changed. The num­ber five is very sig­nif­i­cant in ref­er­ence to the Immac­u­late heart of Mary: Jesus told Sr Lucia of Fati­ma that there were five sins again­st Mary’s Immac­u­late Heart, and the repa­ra­tion request­ed was Mass and Con­fes­sion on five con­sec­u­tive Sat­ur­days.

This image is deeply mov­ing and beau­ti­ful. Mary is depict­ed as quite youth­ful. In con­trast to oth­er Immac­u­late Heart images, Mary is not hold­ing her heart in her hand, but rather pulling back her out­er cloak to reveal her heart in a pos­ture which is far more vul­ner­a­ble and hum­ble.

Please also check out the com­pan­ion Sacred Heart of Jesus Image.

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