In Catholic tradition, we are blessed with a whole bunch of devotions—basically a fancy word for different forms of prayer/ways to connect with God and grow in faith. The images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are two of these devotions, and two of the best, I think. If you look closely at the image of the Sacred Heart, which is an artistic depiction of Jesus’s heart after His resurrection, you see that it is surrounded by a crown of thorns. We know this signifies the wounds he endured to die on the cross to save us. Sometimes when we think about that, we gloss over the fact the Jesus was fully human (and fully God). He felt pain like we do! His crucifixion and death hurt, and He didn’t really want to go through with it, in some way. I mean, He did want to save us to be with us in Heaven forever, obviously, but He didn’t want to suffer! Just like we don’t want to suffer! Remember what He prayed in the garden the night before He died while He was so nervous and anxious that He was literally sweating blood? “Lord, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” He didn’t want to suffer, but He wanted to do God’s will. “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) He chose God’s will instead of His own comfort and literally saved the world.
Similarly, the Immaculate Heart of Mary (often pictured with the Sacred Heart) is an artistic expression of Mary’s heart, and is shown being pierced by a sword. In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, at the Presentation of Jesus, the prophet Simeon told Mary as she held her brand new baby boy that “a sword would pierce her heart.” Talk about a chilling thing to hear as a new mom, amirite? Mary didn’t know at the time what kind of pain she was headed for, but she knew it was going to hur. And she chose to trust God anyway. She chose to give Him her “yes,” at that moment and over and over again, even when it caused her to watch her only Son, completely innocent of doing anything wrong, suffer gruesome torture and die at the hands of people who hated Him though they didn’t really know why. I always found it interesting that the name Mary means “bitter,” but you can kind of get it, right? God asked Mary to do some pretty hard things. And yet she didn’t get bitter, deep in her heart anyway. She accepted and loved His will more than her own, even when it hurt. “Yes, Lord. Be it done to me according to your word.” She chose God’s will over her own comfort, and set in motion the chain of events that would ultimately bring us home to Heaven.
We owe them both more gratitude than we can probably give, and we can be inspired by their heroic generosity as well. The Sword & Crown Candle Co. was created to share encouragement from the Saints in Heaven, who all live in eternal bliss now because of the beautiful hearts of Jesus and His Mother, always willing to say “yes” to God. May we be inspired today to have these kinds of hearts—ready at all times to accept His will and His Love, even when we might not want to.
Like Jesus and Mary, we all suffer. We all have swords and crowns that pierce our hearts and heads. And when we suffer, we all have a choice. We can resist it, or we can say “not my will God—yours.” My prayer is that you will be encouraged through the pains of life that your sufferings—small or big, visible or hidden—will ultimately lead you to the glory that awaits you! And never forget that the Saints are cheering you on! ❤️
Prayers for you today, friends!