Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Twenty-Fourth Day of June

Third Means of Honoring the Heart of Jesus: to Sanctify the First Friday of Every Month.

Our Lord, when appearing to Blessed Margaret Mary, said: "My child, be attentive to my words and to what I shall command you for the accomplishment of my designs. You must communicate on the first Friday of every month, so as to honor my outraged Heart." Margaret Alacoque faithfully observed this injunction, and she received at those times most abundant favors. The first Friday in each month is, therefore, a feast day established by our Lord Himself, a day on which His divine Heart expands to bestow on us copious and special graces. On this favored day, fervent souls rejoice and feel the need of drawing near to the adorable Heart of Jesus which loves man so much; of being intimately united to Him in Holy Communion; of visiting Him in the Sacrament of His love, to rekindle at the burning furnace of His Sacred Heart the fire of their zeal and their desire for perfection. They also set apart this day to recollect themselves, and to examine their consciences before God as to how they have spent the last month; and they make resolutions to sanctify better the one which then commences. In many parishes Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is given on the first Friday of the month, preceded by an act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and in several religious communities, there is Exposition during the day, followed by Benediction. Many miracles of protection in danger, cures and conversions to God, testify that the first Friday of the month is a privileged festival, a day on which all graces can be asked for and obtained from the merciful Heart of Jesus: "This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein" (Psalm cxvii. 24).

Christians, since we know that the first Friday of each month is the day which Jesus has chosen, let it be for us a day of grace and recollection. A God condescends to make known to His creature what will be pleasing to Him and beneficial to us, and shall we neglect to perform it? No, it shall not be so; in the morning let us make our meditation on the riches of that adorable Heart, and ask It to instil into our souls holy thoughts with which to occupy our minds throughout the day. Let us also hear Mass and receive Communion with all fervor, offering to Jesus the ardent love of His servant Margaret Mary to supply for our deficiencies. We should, if possible, choose a quiet time to make a review of our conduct during the past month, to ask pardon for our faults, and thank God for all His graces, concluding the day by a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and an act of consecration to the divine Heart of Jesus. If we are faithful to these pious practices, how many favors and blessings shall we not draw down upon our souls, and transported with holy joy we shall be able to exclaim with the Psalmist: "O Jesus! O Lord of Hosts ! How lovely are Thy Tabernacles! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For better is one day in Thy courts above thousands elsewhere."


A few years ago, as is related in the Messenger of the Sacred Heart, a poor woman who had scarcely ever known the blessing of health, was at last obliged to keep to her bed, being reduced to a state of complete exhaustion. The doctor, thinking she was in a hopeless condition, did not prescribe any remedy; and being forced to send her children out to work every day, the poor widow was left almost entirely alone. She used to leave her door open from morning to night, so that the neighbors and charitable passers-by might come to her aid in case of need. Her patience was wonderful, and no one ever saw her yield to impatience or sadness. One thing, however, grieved her: it was the thought of dying without seeing the beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart, which had been placed in the parish church. "Ah!" said she, "it is certain that I shall never be able to go to church again; I shall never see the Sacred Heart." Those about her replied: "Do not lose confidence; if it is necessary, you can be carried to the church." The poor woman began a novena to the divine Heart of Jesus, and asked to have a Mass said for her on the first Friday in the Month of May, at the altar of the Sacred Heart, hoping to be able by some means to assist at the Holy Sacrifice. Her friends agreed to wrap her in a large shawl and carry her to the church; but this was not enough for her, she insisted on fasting so that she might go to Communion. The first Friday in May came round, and her daughter and a neighbor carried her in their arms to the church. After hearing Mass and receiving Communion, she heaved a sigh and exclaimed: "I am cured! I return thanks to the Heart of Jesus." She rose up and walked alone to the altar which was decorated for the month of May, where for some space of time she remained on her knees praying. She then returned to her home without support, and without experiencing any inconvenience. Her cure was complete and lasting. The poor woman restored to health became the joy and happiness of her little house hold, and she showed her gratitude towards the divine Heart of Jesus by never failing to communicate in thanksgiving, every first Friday of the month.


O Jesus! in future I resolve to keep each first Friday of the month as a festival in honor of Thy Sacred Heart. I will invoke Thee with greater confidence, I will communicate with more fervor, and Thou wilt shower down on me Thy most abundant graces and blessings. Amen.


Resolve, as in the above prayer, to devoutly keep each First Friday for the rest of your life.

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