"I don't do mornings," as the saying goes, so it is fitting that I would get around to posting a "Daily Offering," or morning prayer, at nearly noon. The tradition of starting one's day by consecrating it to God is very old. This prayer was a familiar one a few generations ago, and so was devotion to the "immaculate heart" of Mary. (More on that below.) I love how this prayer pulls you out of your sluggish, queasy, self-absorbed misery (okay, speaking for myself here), and thrusts you into robust fellowship with every Catholic in the world, the guys in Rome, the souls in God-knows-where...suddenly, it's about more than just stumbling out of the house on time.
Daily Offering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and suffering of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians; I offer them for the intentions of our Bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month. Amen.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary flourished relatively late in the Church's history, fueled by various mystics who reported seeing visions of alarming cardiological revelation. Often their two hearts are revered together, Christ's heart surrounded with a crown of thorns and Mary's pierced by seven swords. And we Catholics wonder why we scare people? I grew up around this sort of holy card imagery, with its cheerful mix of gruesome symbolism and dainty insipidity. (The only thing that ever bothered me was the anatomical incorrectness--why a valentine pinned to the middle of the chest?)
We don't lay these heavy trips on the kiddies any more, man. Now it's all rainbows and butterflies. But the notion of a heart on fire, visible for all the world to see, seems to grow in resonance as I get older. Today, those mystic nuns would probably be getting Risperdal if they reported seeing this stuff, but the truth of a mother's heart being pierced for her child just gets truer as your kids get older. And the notion that a path to God's mercy could be found through such a heart--pure, vulnerable--is sweet and intuitive. There are worse ways to start the morning.
Bonus Immaculate Heart
It's not easy to find depictions of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that don't conform to the looky-here iconography of the holy cards. But the Blessed Mother in this 1901 painting by Charles Bosseron Chambers is a darling. (He also painted Ziegfield girls.) The passionate heart is just suggested. But it's still in the wrong place. But I quibble.