the effects of mary’s heart

this wonderful painting by claretian artist fr. cerezo barredo c.m.f. captures various dimensions of the immaculate heart of mary.

cordis mariae filius in latin means son of the heart of mary. that is what st. anthony claret named our congregation of missionaries. we sign the acronym c.m.f. after our name as part of our being; it is our identity as claretians. we are missionaries– sons of the immaculate heart of mary.

the first thing i notice in the picture are the eyes: the people– the church– have their eyes fixed on mary in love. mary’s loving gaze goes out to us who are looking back at her. the look is extended as the connection symbolized by her arms around the people of God.

the man and woman are symbols of us in mary’s embrace. they are clothed in white: the symbol of our baptismal call to holiness. mary accompanies and supports us on that journey of discovery. in turn, the man and woman in white have their hands on the young people. this could show their care and protection of the vulnerable ones represented by children.

in the upper left portion is a woman with a bible. her eyes are fixed on the scripture to show the importance of the living word of God. she is with mary and the community, but she symbolizes the primacy of the word in our lives.

next to her is a man embracing a sign– community, solidarity, peace. these are all aspects of love that mary offers to us through her immaculate heart. the man is holding the sign to his heart not above his head in protest. is his desire to live in community, solidarity, and peace more deeply into his very way of being?

it is the same with the woman with the other sign– justice, service and to evangelize. these are more action oriented words that are part of mary’s heart. is it this woman’s desire to do more faithfully these actions of justice, service and sharing the good news of God’s love? mary’s love through her immaculate heart is a key that opens these doors to others.

it warms my heart to see a man with a guitar in the artwork. he will carry music to others. could this be mary’s love coming through song? could it be mary’s prophetic song in the magnificat (luke 1: 46-55) that we must sing too? the gift of music is a way to shape us and grow in justice, service and peace by doing justice, serving and sharing the gospel.

in the back right corner is a woman who is more distant than the others. even though her eyes are fixed on mary, does she desire to be closer to her? what is holding her back? will she remain distant or come closer to mary’s heart?

lastly, in the bottom corners of the picture are two people holding bread and a cup. this is an echo of the last supper: the eucharist is the foundation of all of the above reflections and symbols. we celebrate Christ’s real presence in community; we share the gifts that God has given us through community. the oneness that beings us to the same table puts us in solidarity with one another. jesus gives us the peace that this world cannot give. eucharistic love impels us to be instruments of justice in the world, service to others by the washing of feet (john 13: 1-15), and share this love– evangelize– with all we encounter.

mary’s heart brings us closer to her son jesus in remembering the last supper and entering into his passion death and resurrection.

i am no art expert; i am barely an expert on myself as art(hur). but i know what i like and i like this painting. i pray that the immaculate heart of mary gives us all these gifts represented in the picture, brings our world closer to the Kingdom of God and helps us all — especially as claretians– be truer to our call to share mary’s heart as her daughters and sons.

let us pray:

hail mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, jesus. holy mary mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. amen


p.s. for more information and pictures of the immaculate heart of mary in our claretian flavor, see

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