To be neither hot nor cold towards the Heart of Jesus which merits so much love and has manifested Itself to the world to arouse tepid souls, to drag oneself listlessly along in the service of so good a Master, fearing little to offend Him, desiring little to please Him, to be without gratitude for His favors, without care for His glory, without zeal for what concerns Him, these are the characteristics of tepidity. What disorder is this guilty apathy in a soul which professes to honor the Sacred Heart; and what does Jesus say to such a soul? "Because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will banish thee from my Heart, and I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth." Unfortunate soul, do you hear this dreadful threat? does it not give you a terrible idea of the disgust with which you inspire Jesus, and the difficulty of your return to the adorable Heart whose indignation you have provoked? Yes, He who hastens to meet the greatest sinners, and who receives the prodigal child with tenderness, even He can no longer bear with you, but will vomit you out of His mouth. O Jesus! what, then, has this poor soul done to excite to such a degree Thine anger? Has it been guilty of the sin of scandal or sacrilege? "No, but it is with out zeal for my service, without a generous love for my Heart which has loved it so much; it is lukewarm. Oh! I would prefer a great sinner, capable of generous resolutions, to this soul steeped in the languor of tepidity: I would thou wert cold. I can no longer bear with it; it excites the indignation of my Heart; it disgusts It; I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. Oh! is not this the greatest misfortune; is not this a more sad fate, in one sense, than that of the sinner?
Christians, if, unhappily, you are infected with this disease which so often proves fatal and which is yet so common, remember that there exists two remedies which are infallible. The first is prayer to the Heart of Jesus; He has promised that He will cure and save all those who invoke with confidence His Sacred Heart, yes, even lukewarm souls; He will cast down upon you a spark of love, and you will be restored to fervor and life. Say often to your merciful Savior: O Jesus! he whom Thou lovest is sick, come and heal him, and He will give back to you the strength and fervor of your early years; take courage, then, and throw yourself into this divine Heart. The second remedy is to let no day pass of this beautiful month, without offering to Jesus some small sacrifice, some little effort to overcome your inclinations. He will at once reward you by the peace and joy of His love. Yes, do this and you may rest assured that not only will you be cured, but that you will no longer be in danger of the spiritual death, which is the infallible consequence of tepidity.
It was not in vain that our Lord revealed the devotion of His Sacred Heart as the great remedy for the dreadful evil of lukewarmness. Each day a happy experience confirms the truth of the divine promises made by our Lord to His servant, Margaret Alacoque. The following incident took place in a town in the north of France.
A priest, zealously devoted to the Sacred Heart, came there on a visit for a few weeks. One day a woman, somewhat advanced in years, accosted him and begged him to hear her confession. "I am unable to do so," he replied, "for I have not the necessary faculties to hear confessions in this diocese; besides you have plenty of confessors in the town." The woman answered: "I will try to obtain for you the necessary faculties; the salvation of my soul is at stake." These words made a deep impression on the mind of the worthy priest, who agreed to meet her in the course of a few days. In the meantime he made inquiries concerning the woman, and learned that she had for years been very fervent and occupied in many good works, but little by little she had become disgusted with her way of life, had given up her pious practices, and, without as yet committing serious faults, she was adding infidelity to infidelity: she was lukewarm. On the day appointed she came to the priest, and revealed the dangerous state of her conscience, without manifesting any determination to amend her self. The confessor, seeing in how great peril her soul was, earnestly exhorted her to pray, and spoke of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At these words the woman replied sharply that she did not like novelties, nor superstitious practices, which were only suitable for enthusiastic imaginations. The minister of God ordered her to be silent, and made her promise that for eight days she would reflect for five minutes on these two questions: "What has the Heart of Jesus done for me? and what have I done for It?" After much opposition she made the promise and kept it. No more was needed: in a week’s time the Heart of Jesus had transformed this languid and lukewarm soul into one full of energy and burning with zeal, and she became the apostle of this devotion in that part of the country. After some years she died, leaving behind her a wonderful reputation for charity and devotedness to the Sacred Heart.
Divine Heart of Jesus, I wish to love and serve Thee fervently and generously, but, alas! my fervour and piety quickly die away, and I remain without love or zeal. Oh! how many of my days have been spent in lukewarmness and tepidity! Generous Heart of Jesus, be my strength and support, and grant that in future I may always labor for my salvation with energy, courage and perseverance. Amen.
Spend some time reflection on what Jesus has done for you and then on what you have done for Him.