Monday, June 30, 2008

The Thirtieth Day of June

The Three Hearts,

Let us, Christians, terminate the devotions of the month of June by a meditation on the wonders of the Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, that triple abyss of perfection and graces. Let us contemplate these three Hearts so closely united at Bethlehem, in Egypt, and at Nazareth; they were animated with the same thoughts and the same feelings, the same tastes and aspirations. Never has there been, nor could there ever be amongst three Hearts, so perfect an understanding, so deep a sympathy, so absolute a resemblance. If it is said of the first Christians that they had but one heart and one soul, (Acts, iv. 32); with how much greater reason may it not be said of the only Son of Mary, of His Holy Mother, and of His tender foster father! Contemplate these three perfect Hearts: that of Jesus is the Heart of a God, the tabernacle where resides the Majesty of the Most High; that of Mary is the cradle of love, where an Infant God reposed, and the pure and fruitful source from which He drew His life. And what must not have been the merits, the virtues and perfections acquired by the Heart of Joseph during the thirty years of unceasing contact and intimacy with the Sacred Heart of Jesus? He could indeed exclaim with truth what fervent souls love to repeat: "At all times and in all places, I possess the God of my heart and the Sacred Heart of my God." Reflect on these three loving Hearts; they loved God more than all the Saints together they love us also more than all our relatives and friends on earth, more than all the blessed in Heaven. No one is excluded, rich or poor, just or sinner; each has a place in these Hearts burning with love. They love us in our joys and in our sorrows, in our triumphs and in our tears; they love us tenderly, they love us always, in life and in death.

Christians, your Savior tells you that "what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" (Mark, x. 9). In His divine plan, God united intimately the Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; let us, therefore, never separate them in our hearts. When adoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us also bless and venerate the holy Hearts of His Mother and His foster-father Joseph; since they love us so tenderly, let us invoke them with confidence, and say often:

Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Heart like to the Heart of Jesus, pray for us.
Heart of Joseph, always faithful to Jesus and Mary, intercede for us.

And when the awful moment comes for each of us, when the soul passes from this tabernacle of earth to its eternal home, may the last words on our lips and in our hearts be those cherished names, Jesus! Mary! Joseph!

EXAMPLE.

A pious lady who died in 1860, at the age of thirty-two years, had a great devotion to the most holy Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. She took a particular pleasure in often invoking the names of the Holy Family, and in teaching them to her little child when seated on her knee. In her joys and sorrows, she never wearied repeating the holy aspirations: Jesus, Mary, Joseph. Many a time were tears of devotion seen to fill her eyes whilst she pronounced those blessed names. She appeared then in a sort of ecstasy, and her heart was inflamed with devotion to the Holy Family, whom she wished, she used to say, to love in the name of all hearts. During a long and painful illness with which she was seized, she frequently cried out: "Jesus, Mary, Joseph, when I have suffered sufficiently, call me to you." Towards the end, being scarcely able to speak, she breathed but one name: "Jesus, Jesus." That name was her great consolation, her last cry of hope and farewell. At length, after a lingering martyrdom, she gently expired, her hand on the head of her child to bless it, her eyes raised to heaven and the name of Jesus on her lips. O beautiful and precious death! O ever blessed names, Jesus, Mary, Joseph! O Hearts burning with love and tenderness!

PRAYER.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.

PRACTICE.

Recommend yourself frequently to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in life that they may be at your side in the moment of death.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Twenty-Ninth Day of June

The Communion of Reparation.

A few years ago, in the diocese of Avignon, in France, a pious practice was instituted, called the Communion of Reparation. Eagerly adopted by fervent Christians, and sanctioned by the greater number of the bishops of France, it was made known to the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX, who deigned to approve and enrich it with many indulgences. "The Communion of Reparation," he said, "is a divine work, destined to save society." More than a hundred thousand persons are enrolled as associates, and divided into sections of seven members; they communicate once in every week on a day assigned to each. These fervent souls offer to the King of kings, hidden under the Eucharistie veils, the tribute of homage and adoration which is refused Him by so many ungrateful men, and make reparation for the outrages committed against His love and majesty. They assume the office of comforter to Him who is the comforter of all the afflicted, and their mission is not limited to this, for, imitators of the boundless charity of that divine Master, they act as mediators between Him and guilty souls; they plead the cause of sinners, and offer themselves to Him as victims of expiation, to obtain their conversion and salvation. They are truly apostles and mediators, and by averting from the guilty the punishments of God’s justice, they draw down on their own hearts graces of divine mercy. How holy and glorious is this twofold mission, how it must console the adorable Heart of Jesus! Is it not what He asked Himself of His humble servant, Margaret Mary: "I enter into this heart of thine which I have given thee, so that by thy ardent love thou mayest make reparation for the injuries I receive from lukewarm and cowardly hearts, which dishonor me in the Blessed Sacrament."

Christians, let us joyfully enrol ourselves in this fervent band of the Communion of Reparation. Let us weep over the wounds inflicted on the Heart of our Master. Let us bewail the little love which is shown to Him, and on the day assigned to each, let us go to the holy table as victims consecrated to the glory of our Lord in the Sacrament of His love. Let us say to Him: Jesus! Thou art disowned by many, but I adore Thee; Thy sacred Body and Blood are despised, but I make them my nourishment, my drink, my delight. I beg forgiveness, my God, for those who love Thee not. Could I hold in my hands the hearts of men, I would cast them all into the furnace of Thy holy love. "Father, forgive them: spare, Lord, spare Thy people." It is Thy children s cry, the cry of love. Lord, Thou wilt hear it and grant pardon.

EXAMPLE.

A zealous priest wrote as follows:

Our work of the Communion of Reparation makes rapid progress and produces abundant fruit. The communions of the associates are most efficacious in obtaining the conversion of sinners. An Englishman, a Protestant, who, on account of ill health, had taken up his abode in my parish, was reduced to the last extremity. I visited him and endeavored to persuade him to embrace the Catholic faith and thus secure his salvation. "I was born a Protestant," he replied, "and I will die a Protestant." Despairing of converting him by arguments, I assembled the associates of the Communion of Reparation, and I implored them to ask most earnestly of the Sacred Heart of Jesus the conversion of this poor invalid, who was on the point of dying in heresy and impenitence. The associates offered their communions and prayed much for him during that day, and when I went again to see him, he said, with a sweet smile : "I am convinced of the truth, I will become a Catholic." He made his abjuration in the presence of several witnesses, and received the Sacrament of Baptism with tears of joy. "Father," he said to me afterwards, "how happy and peaceful I feel; it seems as if I were returning to life." A few days later he received the Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction with sentiments of the tenderest piety, and the archbishop administered to him the Sacrament of Confirmation. Is not this an example of the consoling fruits of the Communion of Reparation? Oh! may this admirable work be known and propagated everywhere.

PRAYER.

O good and loving Heart of Jesus, we understand full well Thy sadness and sorrow! We will strive, henceforth, to offer Thee, by our fervent communions, our acts of reparation and our daily sacrifices, some small amends for the outrages Thou receivest from those who have been redeemed at the cost of Thy blood. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Make a Communion of Reparation each week on the same day other than Sunday. This is in addition to Sunday Mass.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Twenty-Eighth Day of June

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, and France.

"GOD loves the Franks," said St. Gregory of Tours, "and it is through the Franks that He loves to manifest His power." All nations are equally dear to God, but France must, indeed, be an object of predilection to Jesus, because it was in France that He revealed the ineffable tenderness and infinite riches of His Divine Heart. It was in that favored country, that Jesus first manifested and proclaimed that His Sacred Heart was open to all men. How great and magnificent a gift was this and what a signal honor! On account of the wonderful apparition at Paray-le-Monial, where Jesus appeared to His humble servant, a French nun, may we not say of that privileged town, what the prophet said of Bethlehem: "Thou art not the least of the cities of Juda." To the general favors bestowed on all countries, the Savior willed to add a special one to France, the nation once called most Christian. "My Heart wills to reign in the palace of her kings, to be emblazoned on her banners and engraved on her arms, in order to render her victorious over all her enemies and those of Holy Church. I am preparing for France a torrent of graces when she shall be consecrated to my divine Heart, and all nations shall profit by the blessings that I shall bestow on her" Jesus Himself, when speaking to Saint Margaret Alacoque of the king of France, called him "the eldest son of my Sacred Heart." He promised to that favored land a torrent of graces which would be a treasure and pledge of hope for that now unhappy country, distracted by her infidel children. France was the cradle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, France was the first to receive the glorious mission of being its apostle, of propagating and defending it throughout the world by the voice of her missionaries, by the pastorals of her bishops, and the blood of her martyrs. "We should bless the Lord who has loved and favored France with such privileges, and instead of being jealous of her honors, we should rejoice and exclaim: "He hath not done thus to every nation" (Ps. 147). But, alas! we have no need to envy France. May we not tremble at her fate, for has she as a nation returned Jesus love for love? No, a culpable indifference and a proud rationalism have drawn down upon her the most dreadful punish ments, and that country, according to universal testimony, is passing through the most sorrowful and critical period of her history.

Christians, let us not lose courage at the sight of the miseries which overwhelm that once privileged land, or our own beloved country; let us have recourse to the merciful Heart of Jesus. It is that Heart alone that can find a remedy for the social evils we see on all sides. "How powerful is this Divine Heart," said St. Margaret Mary, "to appease the anger of divine justice provoked by the multitude of our sins, and to avert the terrible calamities with which we are threatened." Let us beg of that tender Heart to bless our country, and to bless also and restore religion to France, that she may deserve to bear once more, the glorious title of "the most Christian nation and eldest daughter of the Church." Then her brave sons will be able to cry out as did their forefathers of old; "May Christ reign who loves France."

EXAMPLE.

Paris was besieged by the Prussian army. Rome had just fallen into the sacrilegious hands of the Piedmontese, and the Communists were plotting in secret their terrible plans. Who was there to come to the assistance of the Holy Father? Who was there to save France? Holy souls cried out, "It is the Sacred Heart of Jesus which will save us; let us make to It a national vow." And what was this national vow? It was a promise to offer in the name of the whole nation, the solemn expression of their repentance by raising a memorial church in Paris, dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Paris, which had been the scene of the greatest disorders, possessed no temple in honor of the divine Heart of Jesus: in no place therefore would an expiatory church be better placed or become more publicly known. There is a spot in Paris which in former times was bedewed with the blood of St. Denis and his companions, called the quarter of Montmartre, or the hill of the martyrs, and it is there that the memorial church of France was built. The national vow was addressed to the Sacred Heart, because this divine Heart is the highest expression of the love of God for men; and because France has in a particular manner wounded the Heart of Jesus which has loved her so much; it is therefore to the Sacred Heart that the expression of repentance and hope should be addressed. Nothing, indeed, could be more Christian or more patriotic than such a vow; it received the blessing of the holy Father and the sanction of the French episcopate. Alms were asked, the funds increased, and subscriptions flowed in from all sides; the first stones were laid and blessed, and now there arises from the heights of Montmartre, the great Basilica which bears testimony to the regret of the French people for the past and their confidence for the future. On its principal front is engraved in letters of gold, the following dedication:

"Christo ejusque sanctissimo Cordi,
Gallia poenitens et devota!"

"To Christ and His Most Sacred Heart
from a devout and repentant France."

PRAYER.

Remember O infinitely good and infinitely merciful Heart of Jesus, Thy love for your repentant children. Remember the blessings which Thou hast showered down on us and Thy mercies towards us. However guilty we are, reject not our humble prayer, and bring all nations to the happiness and truth of the Catholic faith. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Pray for the conversion of all nations to the Reign of the Sacred Heart.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Twenty-Seventh Day of June

Devotion to the Agonizing Heart of Jesus.

This devotion has for its object, first, to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus undergoing the greatest interior sufferings for the salvation of souls during His life, and, above all, during His Passion; secondly, to obtain, by the merits of this long agony, a happy death for the thousands of persons who each day die throughout the world. Nothing can be more simple and admirable than the history of this touching devotion. About twenty years ago, a saintly religious was inspired with the desire to make it known to the faithful, and for this end he composed a little prayer for those who each day are in their agony. Approved and enriched with many indulgences by his Holiness Pius IX, this prayer was distributed everywhere, and, being translated into several languages, it became known in most Catholic countries, and has given rise to the pious associations established in many towns, the object of which is to implore of God the salvation of the dying.

It is easy to understand how pleasing this devotion must be to the Heart of God, who, leaving the glory of heaven, descended on earth to save mankind from hell; it is the means of drawing down graces of conversion on a multitude of Christians, who, in this age of indifference and impiety, do not prepare for death, think not of eternity, and find themselves in the presence of the Sovereign Judge without having once reflected on their danger. It is also a means of cautioning souls against the infernal doctrines of freethinkers, who endeavor to banish the priest from the cradle of the new-born babe, from the nuptial contract, and from the bedside of the dying. Oh! what graces of salvation has not this devotion drawn down from heaven! What comfort has it not procured for the agonizing! How many expiring sinners has it not snatched from the abyss of hell, and how many souls has it not saved from eternal fire! Blessed be the agonizing Heart of Jesus for having inspired such a fruitful, opportune and providential devotion!

Christians, pray for all who are in their agony, recommend them often to the merciful Heart of Jesus, and remember that each day many thousands of persons fall under the sword of death, appear before the dread tribunal of God and begin an eternity of joy or woe. Alas! of this number how many thousands are in a state of mortal sin! Pray for the dying; they are your brethen in Jesus Christ; perhaps relations, friends, and benefactors, for whom you should obtain a happy death. Pray for the agonizing; one day you, too, will stand in need of prayers when you are in your agony, and you will rise victorious from your last struggle to enjoy eternal happiness. Lastly, make known this devotion to the agonizing Heart of Jesus to those who are in ignorance of it: speak of it in your families and amongst your friends, and this Sacred Heart will bless you. If, by the union and fervor of our prayers we could each day save a soul, what a rich harvest we should have stored up at the end of the year! What a pledge of our own salvation, and what a crown for all eternity!

EXAMPLE.

At the recommendation of a Protestant family, living in the town of Liege in Belgium, a young lady who had been long ill was received into the hospital. She was an excellent musician, had lived entirely amongst heretics, and although nominally a Catholic, had no idea of religion and scarcely believed in the existence of God, giving herself up to all the pleasures of the world. When anyone spoke to her of religion, she became irritable and declared that such conversations fatigued her. The nursing sisters who were in charge of the hospital, despairing of her conversion, made a novena for her to the agonizing Heart of Jesus. On the last day of the novena, the poor sinner asked one of the sisters for a prayer book and after reading a page, exclaimed: "I will go to confession and communion." She made her confession and communion, and from that day she said to all who came to see her: "Oh! how truly happy I am." On the near approach of death, she expressed her desire to communicate again, and during her agony she repeated with fervor the words: "My Savior, my Savior, forgive me all my sins!" peacefully expiring with the holy Name still on her lips. Thus was this poor soul saved by being recommended to the agonizing Heart of Jesus. Glory and love to this divine Heart!

PRAYER.

O most merciful Jesus! full of love for souls, I implore Thee by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, to purify in Thy blood the sinners of the whole world, who are now in their agony, and this day to die. Amen.
Agonizing Heart of Jesus, have pity on the dying.

PRACTICE.

Do not fail to pray for the dying every day, especially in your night prayers. The vast majority of those who die at night do so unprepared and without the sacraments of the Church.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Twenty-Sixth Day of June

The Last Testament of the Heart of Jesus.

It would seem that, after giving us Himself in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus had exhausted the treasures of His charity; nevertheless, at the point of death, His Heart kept for us one last proof of love, and from the cross He wished to leave us a pledge of His immense and unceasing tenderness. Ah! yes, the love of our good Jesus is, indeed, unceasing and inexhaustible. He knows not how to say, "It is enough." Yet He had already given us His words to instruct us, His sacraments to purify and strengthen us, His Heart to love us, His body and blood to nourish and quench the thirst of our souls. He was going to give us His last breath when expiring on the cross: what more could He give? Oh! His Mother still remained to Him. She was His dearest and most precious possession. Her tenderness was the only earthly joy He had ever known, and it is this sweet Mother whom He bequeaths to us. From the cross, where He hung in agony, casting His eyes on Mary, standing near Him, and on the beloved disciple, He let escape from His parched lips, or rather from His Heart, these four words which have touched all hearts: "Woman, behold Thy Son." And to the beloved disciple: " Behold thy Mother." As if He would have said: "My Mother, I am about to die; but I bequeath to you a son; I give him to you; he will love, console and protect you. And you, my dear children, whom my disciple represents, I will not leave you orphans: I am dying, but I bequeath to you my Mother. She will love you as only a mother can love, as she loved Me: Behold your mother." O sublime legacy! O precious inheritance! which, alone, would suffice to reveal all the tenderness of that divine Heart. The angels of heaven received that loving testament, and Jesus sealed it with His precious blood.. O Mary, thou art truly my Mother, and I am thy child!

Christians, let us accept, with gratitude, this last gift of Jesus, the gift of His Mother. Oh! how great a treasure has He given us, for the heart of Mary is the most pure, the most holy and loving that the hand of Almighty God has formed after that of Jesus. Let us bless Jesus for this wondrous gift, and let us thank Mary; but, above all, let us love this tender Mother. And whatever be our trials or our sins, let us place all our confidence in her. Can a mother ever forget her favorite child? No, indeed, and what does our Lord say by the mouth of his prophet? "And if she should forget, yet I will not forget thee" (Isaias. xlix. 15). Oh! what greater proof could He give us of the love of His Heart? He gives as His Mother, and assures us that He loves us much more than she can ever love us. Glory, then, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our merciful Redeemer and Master, and never-ending love to the immaculate and tender heart of Mary, our Mother, the Queen of Angels.

EXAMPLE.

History relates that the Tartars, having spread terror throughout Europe, besieged with a large army Kinwalous, the capital of European and Asiatic Russia. After a vigorous resistance, the city was taken by assault and sacked by the enemy, who, having massacred great numbers of the inhabitants, finally set fire to it. When the victorious army entered the town, St. Hyacinth, a Dominican monk, was at the altar saying Mass. His religious brethren came and warned him that there was not a moment to lose, and that if he wished to save himself and his community it was necessary to fly at once, otherwise he would fall into the hands of the barbarians. He followed their advice, but, unwilling to leave the divine Eucharist exposed to the profanations of the enemy, he took in one hand the ciborium, and in the other the image of the Blessed Virgin, saying to his religious: "Follow me, my brothers, and be full of confidence; the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the immaculate heart of Mary will save us." He left the church, followed by the community, traversed the burning streets, and passed by the hordes of barbarians, who gazed on him with respect and admiration. Reaching the banks of the river Eorysthenus, and not finding any boat there, he recommended himself to Jesus and Mary, and stepping on the water which remained firm beneath him, he crossed the river with dry feet, accompanied by all his brethren, and thus they were saved! Christians! receive the divine Host into your heart, place upon your breast the image of Mary and you will triumph over all the enemies of your salvation. Heart of Jesus, Heart of Mary, be always our hope, our love, our refuge and our salvation.

PRAYER.

Heart of Jesus, give us a filial love for her whom Thou hast bequeathed to us as our Mother, with Thy last breath on the cross. Grant that her protection may be our safeguard, her example the rule of our conduct, her heart our refuge and shelter in all dangers. Grant that she may be our hope during life and at the dread moment of death. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Do not fail to thank Jesus for giving you his Mother to be your Mother also. In gratitude honor her with some act of devotion each day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Twenty-Fifth Day of June

Fourth Means of Honoring the Heart of Jesus: to Venerate its Pictures.

"My Savior," said Saint Margaret Mary, "has assured me that He took the greatest pleasure in seeing the interior sentiments of His Heart and love honored under the representation of His human Heart, the same as He had manifested It to me, encircled with flames, crowned with thorns and surmounted by a cross; and He desired that this representation should be publicly exposed, in order to touch the cold hearts of men. At the same time He promised to pour forth abundantly on those who honored it, the treasures of grace with which His Sacred Heart is filled, and that wherever this representation should be exposed it would draw down all manner of blessings." St. Margaret Mary spared no efforts in having this holy image engraved and distributed every where. Her desire was to show it to all sinners in order to convert them, and to all the just so that they might be inflamed with love. She even painted one of these pictures with her own blood, and composed a prayer and an act of consecration, in which she gave herself to Jesus without reserve, and for ever.

Relying on this solemn promise of our Savior, those who are devoted to the Sacred Heart love to venerate Its holy representations, and to distribute these pictures so that the sight of them may console and encourage all. It is related in the Acts of the Apostles that the shadow of St. Peter healed the sick; should we then be surprised that not only the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but even Its image is powerful enough to heal the maladies of our souls? St. Teresa wished to see it in all the places where she cast her eyes. "Being," she says, "unable to represent objects to my imagination, I was jextremely fond of pious pictures. Unhappy those who lose by their own fault, the help which they might draw from them. It is evident that they do not love our Lord, for, if they loved Him, they would rejoice to see His picture, just as in the world, people are pleased to see the portraits of those whom they tenderly love."

Christians, in order to excite your devotion, have in your room some representation of this adorable Heart, painted, so to speak, by the hand of our Savior Himself. Place it where you can often see it, so that the sight of it may enkindle in your heart the fire of divine love. Kiss it even with the same respect as you would the Sacred Heart of Jesus Itself. Shrink from no sacrifice in order to propagate these holy pictures. Distribute them in the remotest villages, in the humble cottage of the poor laborer, so that at night, at the time of prayer, all may understand the treasures of love with which this Sacred Heart is filled for us. The more these pictures are distributed, the more the Heart of Jesus will be known and loved.

EXAMPLE.

A few years ago, a loving mother, on bidding farewell to her son, leaving for the African war, gave him a medal of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, making him promise to wear it always on his breast. Faithful to his word, the young officer never laid aside this pledge of his mother’s tender affection and confidence, and to it he owed his life. In that glorious campaign, in which the French soldiers behaved so nobly, he was chosen, as being one of the bravest and most valiant, by the commander-in-chief, for a perilous enterprise. Entering a dangerous ravine, the troops suffered greatly from the enemy s fire. The general ordered them to charge, and, the young officer leading the way, they rushed on the Arabs who occupied the pass. His regiment was almost entirely annihilated, and he was himself hit several times; but the bullet, which struck him full in the chest, and would have caused his death, was flattened against the medal of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and he escaped uninjured. Full of fervor and gratitude for so miraculous a protection, the young officer never ceased to proclaim the praises of the Sacred Heart, and to publish everywhere the wonders worked in his favor. Often he has been seen to kneel at the altar with his pious mother, to receive and thank the God of victory for having preserved him from certain death, and restored him safely to his paternal home.

PRAYER.

Divine Jesus, I will cherish and venerate the representation of Thy Sacred Heart, which recalls to my mind the love with which It burns for me. I will give it to my friends and relations, to the sick and afflicted as a pious remembrance. Grant that it may be for all a pledge of benedictions during life and at the hour of death. Amen.

PRACTICE.

You will have already seen to it that the image of the Sacred Heart has a place of honor in your own home. Now give copies of this image to others that it might occupy a place of honor in their homes.

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."

EXAMPLE.

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.

PRAYER.

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.

PRACTICE.

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

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Twenty-Third Day of June

Second Means of Honoring the Heart of Jesus: Visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

Consider that next to hearing Mass, and receiving Holy Communion, there is nothing so acceptable to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or so beneficial to our souls, as to visit often our divine Lord in the Sacrament of His love. Yes, both day and night, the Master is there on His throne of mercy. He is there with His Body, His Blood, his soul, and divinity, in a word the same as He is in heaven, except that His glory is veiled. He is there with His boundless love for us, He is there as the Lamb ever mystically immolated, whose Blood pleads for mercy for all poor sinners. He is there with His Heart, so good and so compassionate, so afflicted by our ingratitude, so eager to pour into our souls streams of grace. The Master is there and honors us by His loving invitation: "Come to me all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you (Matt, xi. 28), Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world (Matt, xxviii. 20), My delights are to be with the children of men (Prov. viii. 31), Every day I stretch my hands to you; come to me; my Heart overflows with graces ready to enrich you." Oh! how ungrateful and indifferent shall we not be if we refuse to listen to the call of so good a Master! Does not a devoted child love to meet its father and take pleasure in being with him; and what greater consolation is there on earth than conversing with a faithful friend? "It is impossible," says a pious author, "to enumerate all the graces which a soul receives during these visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Lights which illuminate the understanding are there obtained, divine inspirations which soften the heart and graces which sanctify; so that it might almost be said, that the salvation of a soul faithful in making the daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament is secure." St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Stanislaus Kostka, and St. John Berchmans all found their only happiness in being near Jesus in the Eucharist. And it was there that St. Francis Xavier sought repose after the labors of his apostolate, and gathered fresh strength to undertake new conquests. In a word, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus hidden under the Eucharist veils, has always been the favorite devotion of all the saints.

Christians, examine your conscience on this point. Have you a fixed hour for visiting the most holy Sacrament? Are you faithful in keeping to it? Do you not prefer visits to your friends and acquaintances, visits which are often useless and dangerous to your salvation? In short, in your temptations, your discouragements, and afflictions, is it at the foot of the Tabernacle, that you seek comfort and strength? Resolve, from this moment, never to let a single day pass without visiting Jesus the Prisoner of love, and in these visits, propose to yourself to honor in a special manner the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to make reparation to Him for the coldness and neglect of others. When retiring from the church, leave your heart in the holy Ciborium with the divine Host, continue in spirit to adore and love Him, thus you will be able to say with the great apostle St. Paul: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

O Heart of Jesus! may the fire of Thy divine love daily increase within me.

EXAMPLE.

Some years ago, a young man was, unhappily, led astray into the paths of Jewish infidelity.

While still in the flower of youth, his heart was filled with dreams of glory, and, being a distinguished musician, he hoped to achieve it, by introducing on the stage the inspirations of his genius. One evening, he was asked to play the organ in one of the principal churches in Paris; and this unexpected occasion for displaying his talents was eagerly accepted by the young man. There in that church God, awaited him, and prepared for him, not a triumph for his self-love, but an humiliation a thousand times more glorious. Already the roof of the sacred edifice re-echoed the sound of the solemn chants, and the melodious tones of the organ had filled all hearts with recollection and prayer; every head was bowed and the God of the Eucharist had blessed His children prostrate in lowly adoration, The unbelieving musician, alone, dared to raise his haughty brow before that God despised by his fore-fathers, but it was in vain. A mysterious and invisible hand bowed his head and humbled him to the ground. A miracle of grace was effected, the young man was conquered; he knelt down a Jew, he rose up a Christian, unbelief had given place to faith. Bewildered, his heart wounded, as it were, by the Real Presence in the sacred Host, he left the church. Soon the waters of baptism were poured upon him, and exchanging his fashionable attire for the coarse serge of a monk, he bade an eternal farewell to the pleasures of the world. A living example of the power of the Blessed Sacrament, he went from city to city, and from village to village, proclaiming everywhere the love of that God who had vanquished his unbelief, and in the unspeakable joy of his happiness, repeating again and again: "The days of grief are departed. I have found peace of heart since I have tasted the delights of the tabernacle of the Lord." If you would know the name of this privileged soul, ask it at the cloister of Mount Carmel, still fragrant with the sweet odor of his memory, and they will tell you it was Father Augustine, of the most Holy Sacrament. Augustine, to remind him of his errors and wanderings; and of the most Holy Sacrament, to excite him to bless for ever the divine cause of his conversion. If one single visit to the God of the Eucharist transformed an obstinate Jew into a good Christian and holy monk, what may we not hope to obtain in future, by fervent and devout visits to the Blessed Sacrament of the altar?

PRAYER.

O Jesus! incomprehensible love! since Thou art so good as to dwell amongst us, I now resolve to visit Thee frequently in the Holy Eucharist. Shower down Thy graces upon me during the happy moments of intercourse with Thee. My poor heart needs rest, and this rest may be found in Thee even here below, whilst we wait to possess it in all its plenitude in our heavenly home. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Visit the Blessed Sacrament everyday without fail. Even a short visit is better than no visit at all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Twenty-Second Day of June

First Means of Honoring the Heart of Jesus: Frequent Communion.

Consider that the object of devotion to the Sacred Heart is to inflame all hearts with love. Now the memorial of all the miracles of love accomplished by our Savior is the holy Eucharist, that divine food which He has prepared for those who fear Him; and the greatest proof of gratitude and affection that we can give, is to receive Him who gives Himself to us. Sister Agnes of Jesus, of the order of St. Dominic, was so convinced that the Man God, in instituting the Blessed Eucharist, had willed to enkindle divine love more and more in our hearts, that at the moment of Communion she exclaimed in a transport of joy: "Let us approach to the God of love." One day she received the Sacred Host under the form of a fire, which so inflamed her heart with love, that she seemed during the remainder of the day unmindful of all things else. St. Teresa, when dying, regretted she could not die of love, and her desire for Holy Communion was so great, that she would willingly have exposed her life to danger, if by so doing, she could have partaken of the Bread of angels. It is said in Scripture: "Can a man hide fire in his bosom and his garments not burn?" (Prov. vi. 27); in like manner it is impossible that our hearts should not burn with love, if we often receive Jesus in the Sacred Host. Pious souls, truly devoted to the Sacred Heart, eagerly desire to participate frequently in this divine banquet, and they rejoice when the days of Communion come round. With them, as with the heavenly spirits who are continually nourished with God with out ever being satiated, the more they communicate, the more they desire to communicate. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque used to say: "without the Blessed Sacrament I could not live."

Christians, are you animated with a great desire to communicate, or do you not feel a sort of indifference, nay, even repugnance to approach the Bread of Angels? Oh! if you did but realize the pain you cause the Heart of Jesus. Communicate in future, as often as you can. Your good Master invites you. "Take ye and eat, this is my Body" (Matt. xxxi. 26). "With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you" (Luke xxii. 25). Communicate then often; the faithful of the early Church used to receive every day; how great was their fervor and faith. Communicate often in order to make reparation for the indifference, the coldness, the insults, the treachery of which Jesus complains when speaking of the Holy Eucharist. Yes, communicate often, and may you be able to say with Saint Margaret Mary: "I have so great a desire for Holy Communion, that in order to obtain it, I would willingly walk bare-footed along a path of flames." In return you will merit to hear the consoling words which Jesus addressed to his humble servant: "My daughter, I have chosen thy soul to be for me a place of repose on earth, and thy heart shall be a throne of joy for my divine love."

EXAMPLE.

In an ecclesiastical seminary of the diocese of Rouen, one of the students was distinguished for his piety and intelligence, and was generally the first in his class. The day after he had made his first Communion, he went, as was the custom, to his director, to show him the paper on which he had written his resolutions. These consisted of one only, couched in these words : "I am resolved to continue to wear the white neck-tie of my first Communion, as long as I do not commit a grievous sin." The priest was surprised and said to him: "I cannot take upon myself the responsibility of allowing you to keep so strange a resolution; you must go to your mother and first ask her permission." This he did and explaining the whole matter, he pleaded his cause so well, that he was permitted to follow his pious wishes. George, for such was his name, was not satisfied with keeping only this memorial of his first Communion in order to preserve himself in the grace of God, he made a rule to receive Holy Communion every Sunday and on the principal feasts of the year. In 1870 he finished his studies and took his degree as Bachelor in Arts. He had then completed his eighteenth year. When the war broke outbetween France and Germany he obtained his father’s permission to join the Pontifical Zouaves under General Charette. He had been a model of every Christian virtue at college, and he was one also as a soldier continuing every Sunday his weekly Communion. In the month of January, when near the town of Le Mans, the Zouaves were ordered to retake an entrenchment from the Prussians. George distinguished himself by his bravery, and though his side was victorious, he fell mortally wounded. Immediately he asked for the chaplain and said to him: "Father, three days ago I went to confession and Communion and I have nothing on my conscience; be so good then as to bring me the holy Viaticum. I will also ask you to do a little commission for me; go to my knapsack, you will know it by its number; there you will find a white neck tie, a white ribbon, and a rosary; they are the memorials of my first Communion; be so good as to bring them to me." When the priest returned, George said; "Put the white tie round my neck." This the priest did, and having received the holy Viaticum, George added, "When I am dead, take off this necktie and send it to my mother; write to her and tell her from me, that this necktie of my first Communion has never been stained, except with the blood I have shed for our unhappy country." Oh! how beautiful was such a death! Was it not the result of his frequent Communions?

PRAYER.

O my God! how much does my indifference terrify me, and my lukewarmness afflict me. Alas! how often have I not forgotten to eat the Bread of life; how many communions have I not missed through my own fault. Divine Jesus, grant me a great hunger and thirst for thy sacred Body and Blood; I will in future communicate as often as I am allowed, and every day if I am able. Amen.

PRACTICE.

In addition to Sunday and Holy Day Masses, go to Mass at least one additional time each week.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Twenty-First Day of June

Fifth Thorn of the Heart of Jesus: the Ungrateful Soul.

It is related in the life of St. Francis of Assisi, that, urged by zeal for the glory of God, he passed weeping through the towns and villages of Umbria, exclaiming: "Love is not loved, love is not loved." If this was the cause of so lively a grief in the thirteenth century, in that age of faith when St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Bonaventure, St. Louis and St. Elizabeth effected, by their examples, so much good, what words would now be required, and how many tears would have to be shed, to deplore the ingratitude of the present age towards the loving Heart of Jesus? Listen to the complaint He uttered: "Behold this Heart which loves men so much and which is so little loved in return." Sad as the thought is. it is, unfortunately, true, for how many souls are there who do not know the tender and generous love of the Heart of Jesus for them; their number cannot be enumerated. How many others are there who have some knowledge of it and yet are not faithful in making a return for so much love, Alas! there is nothing more common in the world than ingratitude; and how this fresh and painful thorn must cause the Heart of Jesus to bleed. We have the assurance of it conveyed in the words He addressed to His servant St. Margaret Mary: "That which grieves me more than all I have suffered in my passion is the ingratitude of men. They receive with coldness and indifference every sign I vouchsafe them of my willingness to confer benefits on them." Who would not deplore, from the bottom of their hearts, such deep ingratitude; who would not shed tears of blood over the thought, that all the proofs given to us of the tenderness of Jesus Christ become, in consequence of our indifference and wickedness, the cause of the great sorrows of His adorable Heart!

Christians, since gratitude is one of the distinctive marks of devotion to the Sacred Heart, you should endeavor never to pass a day without recalling to your mind the blessings you have received from God; the blessings of creation, of preservation, of the call to the true faith, of the sacraments, of the Heart of Jesus, and many other particular graces. Do yet more; thank God for all the favors He would have bestowed on you if you had been more faithful, and for all those that, in the future, will be granted to you. Thank Him for all those who, receiving His favors, return Him no thanks, or use them only to offend Him. Gratitude is the special virtue of noble and generous souls, and is a most sure means for obtaining fresh blessings, whilst, on the contrary, ingratitude dries up their source. O Jesus! give us Thy loving Heart, we will offer It to Thy Father, and this offering will fully discharge our debt of gratitude.

EXAMPLE.

During the reign of terror in 1871, the prisoners of the Commune, in Paris, in the dungeons of Mazas, were preparing to make the sacrifice of their lives to God. They ceased not to repeat again and again: "Veni, Domini Jesu! Come, Lord Jesus." And the answer was: "Yes, behold I come quickly: Etiam venio cito" (Apoc. xxii. 20). Suddenly the doors opened, the captives did not leave, but Jesus entered. A courageous woman, whose twofold character of American and Protestant enabled her to visit the prisoners without exciting suspicion, brought to the confessors of Jesus Christ a little box, containing several consecrated hosts, which a priest had secretly given her, begging her not to fail in placing it in the hands of the captives. The prisoners were filled with joy and consolation. "I am no longer alone," wrote one of them; "I have our Lord as my guest in my little cell; I feel as I did on the day of my first communion, and I shed tears of joy. O my God! how good Thou art! how true it is that the mercy of Thy Heart will never fail! What thanks do we not owe to the benevolent woman who has procured us so much happiness; we cease not to pray for her, and we hope that the gift she made to us may be rewarded, more especially in the time of trial." On the 24th of May, the hour sounded for leaving earth for heaven; fortified with the holy Viaticum and Jesus in their hearts, the saintly prisoners went forth to yield up their lives into the hands of God. A volley was heard, then one or two single shots; all was over, the victims were no longer victims but martyrs. Their grateful prayers were not offered in vain; the Protestant lady who had brought them the Sacred Hosts, received in return, from the Heart of Jesus, the gift of the true faith. She is now a Catholic. Happy woman! who found thus a heavenly treasure in the midst of the horrors of a siege, which destroyed so much earthly wealth. On her return to America, she was able to proclaim the gratitude of the French martyrs and the generosity of the Heart of Jesus.

PRAYER.

Divine Heart of Jesus, I bless and thank Thee for all the favors that Thou hast bestowed on me, notwithstanding my unfaithfulness to grace. I thank Thee also for all that Thou hast granted to my relatives, friends and benefactors. I offer Thee in return the thanksgivings of all fervent souls, those of the Blessed Virgin and the saints, and with Thy prophet I will never cease to say: "Give praise to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever." Amen.

PRACTICE.

Do not fail at the end of every day to thank the Sacred Heart for all He has done for you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Twentieth Day of June

Fourth Thorn of the Heart of Jesus: the Soul Which Communicates Seldom.

To unite Himself to us by communion, such was the principal end which the Heart of Jesus designed when instituting the divine Eucharist. He said: "Take ye and eat. With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer. Come, eat my bread and drink the wine which I have mingled for you. Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." How do men respond to this appeal? Alas! they feel nothing but coldness and indifference for the God of the Eucharist. Strange delusion, they fly from the embrace of their tender Father, they desert the holy table, and thereby excommunicate themselves.

It is true that faithful adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus still remain, devoted friends who, like Veronica, endeavor to wipe His adorable face, and who receive Him frequently in holy communion. But, how small the number when compared to the multitude of impious, indifferent and ungrateful Christians whose places ever remain vacant at the Eucharistic banquet. In what a sad state are these poor souls who, for so many years, have not received their God, nor quenched their thirst at the chalice of salvation? Alas! they are dying of hunger and thirst. Who does not eat has not life. "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you" (John vi. 54). Oh! how this neglect, this indifference, this spiritual death must wound the tender Heart of Jesus; what an additional thorn for that loving Heart. Listen how He complains by the mouth of His prophet: "I have brought up children and exalted them, but they have despised me" (Isaias. i. 2).

Christians, will you not be moved by the lamentations of the Heart of your Master? Take pity on Him, and whilst the crowd keeps away from His tabernacle, come and pray and weep at His feet. Let the sad example of those who abandon Him cause you to redouble your zeal, your devotion and love. Approach the Eucharistic banquet as often as possible, and ask yourself if you have not frequently missed holy communion through your own fault? Yes, love Jesus for those who love Him not; visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament for those who come not near Him; and, especially, open your heart to Him for those who will not open theirs. In return may those beautiful words, which He addressed to blessed Margaret Alacoque, be addressed also to you: "My daughter, I am coming into the heart which I have given thee, so that, by thy ardent love, thou mayest make reparation to me for the injuries I have received from lukewarm and cowardly hearts, who abandon and dishonor me in the most holy Sacrament."

EXAMPLE.

We read in the lives of the saints that St. Alexis, who was born of noble and wealthy parents, renounced, at an early age, all the goods of this world, and left his paternal home to embrace the voluntary poverty of Jesus Christ. He had been rich he became a beggar. At the expiration of a few years, he returned and knocked at the door of his father’s house, asking for alms and shelter. His relatives did not recognise him, want and privations having so changed his appearance that they took him for a stranger, and allowed him to take up his abode under the staircase of the castle, giving orders to a servant to take him daily a piece of bread and a glass of water Many years passed by; Alexis saw his parents leave and enter the castle without knowing him, although he himself remembered them well. One day he fell seriously ill and sent to ask to see his mother. Just before breathing his last, he addressed her in these words: "Mother, I am Alexis, I am your child." When the poor mother recognised her son in the inanimate body of the beggar, who, for thirty years had lived under the staircase of her palace she threw herself on his neck, and, embracing him, exclaimed, weeping: "O, my child, my dear child, I recognise you, but too late!"

How many sinners, after death, at the sight of Jesus, whom they have disowned, will cry out, in like manner: "O my Savior! O God of the Eucharist! I recognise Thee too late; I have passed thirty, forty years of my life close to Thy tabernacle, almost under the same roof with Thee, and I have not known Thee, and I have refused to receive Thee." What will Jesus answer? And I also, I know you not. Depart from me" (Matt. xxv. 12-41). To deprive oneself of our Lord in this world, and to be deprived of Him for all eternity, O God how terrible a misfortune!

PRAYER.

O Jesus! it is with a heart overwhelmed with grief that I ask Thy pardon a thousand and a thousand times, for the indifference of all those who refuse to receive Thee. From henceforth I will communicate frequently, in order to console and make amends to Thee for the neglect of others. Grant that I may always approach Thy holy table with a heart free from sin, and adorned with virtue. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Make a visit to Jesus in the Tabernacle in reparation for all those who ignore Him and leave Him alone where he remains a prisoner of love.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Nineteenth Day of June

The Third Thorn of the Heart of Jesus: the Sacrilegious Soul.

Consider, Christians, that, though all the sacraments emanate from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the one in which His great love for us shines forth the most conspicuously is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, so deservedly called the Sacrament of love. Nevertheless, how does it come to pass that it is the mystery in which Jesus is the most outraged by those whom He has loved to excess? A painful experience proves that sacrileges become more and more frequent in these days, when charity has grown cold, and piety is feeble and more rare. This new passion, as it may be truly called, of our Savior, though more secret and less known, is more cruel to His divine Heart than that which He suffered at Jerusalem and on Calvary. Jesus! what crime can equal that of crucifying Thee afresh and profaning Thy adorable body, by uniting Thy spotless Heart to a heart full of corruption, to tread under foot Thy precious blood, and to renew the treachery of Judas and the plots of the Jews. O what contempt of God, and what a triumph of hell! Angels of the tabernacle, witnesses of these abominations, veil your faces with your wings, and weep bitterly. Christians, represent to yourselves, with horror, the fatal moment when the Eucharistic God enters into a sinful soul, which is like a sepulchre full of corruption. What must be the humiliation, and how sharp a thorn for the Heart of our Jesus! It would seem as though the scene of the night on which He was scourged, and the day when He was be trayed by the infamous Judas, is there renewed, and it lasts so long as the sacred species remain in the breast of the perfidious and sacrilegious traitor. O God! what will be the punishment reserved for so terrible an outrage?

Faithful souls, souls devoted to the Sacred Heart, omit nothing which can make amends to this adorable Heart, for the insults and injuries to which He has willingly exposed Himself, in order to be able to give Himself to you in the most holy Eucharist. Endeavor to repair these insults by multiplying your visits to the Blessed Sacrament; pray, weep, expiate the crimes of these guilty souls; but, above all, testify your love, for the wounds of love are healed by love alone. Hasten to make a fervent communion in the spirit of reparation, and, to supply for your insufficiency, offer the dispositions of Mary when she received the Sacred Host from the hands of St. John. Oh! may you, by the earnestness of your prayers, the ardor of your love, the purity of your heart, and the abundance of your tears, console the Heart of Jesus, for so many sacrileges and profanations. May the sweet Savior be able to reverse in your regard the words of Scripture, and say: "I looked for one that would comfort me, and I have found one." May the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the Holy Eucharist, be everywhere loved and adored!

EXAMPLE.

A poor man asked an alms of St. Paulinus, Bishop of Nola. The prelate, observing that one of the beggar’s hands was withered, asked him the cause. "I am the son of a widow," he answered, in an agitated voice; "from my childhood I was disobedient to my kind mother, and, as I advanced in years, I ran through all her fortune. One day, when she refused to give me the last bit of money that was left her, urged by a diabolical frenzy, I struck her with this hand, which is now withered, and she fell dead. This dreadful crime took place on the night before Maundy Thursday, when I was preparing to receive my Easter Communion. Having hidden the bleeding corpse of my poor mother, I had the audacity to approach the holy table; but, truly dreadful miracle! no sooner had I received the Sacred Host than my hand stiffened, and, with the most terrible pains, became withered. My cries attracted the astonished gaze of the whole congregation, and, overwhelmed with confusion and shame, I fled, to escape being seen by those I knew. From that fatal day, I wander about here and there, bearing with me this withered hand, as the just punishment of my frightful sacrilege. Willingly would I bear this temporal punishment, if I had not to expect the still more fearful pains of hell." Touched by this recital, St. Paulinus said to him; "There is in the Heart of Jesus, whom you have so grievously offended, enough compassion and mercy to pardon you. Do penance, confess your sins with deep repentance, and then make a fervent communion in reparation for your sacrilegious one." A ray of hope illuminated the countenance of the poor sinner, and he followed the advice of the holy bishop; hardly had he received the body of the Lord with all the ardor and devotion of which he was capable, than warmth and life returned to his withered hand: he was cured. O ineffable goodness of Jesus! who pardons every crime on true repentance, and changes a traitor into a friend of His divine Heart.

PRAYER.

O Jesus! I would rather die a thousand times than ever approach Thy sacred table unworthily. Before seating myself at the banquet of angels, I will prove and purify myself from all stains; then, Lord, Thou wilt descend into my soul, reign over it with joy, and find there Thy delights. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Receive Communion in reparation for sins committed against the Most Blessed Sacrament at least once a month, preferably on a weekday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Eighteenth Day of June

The Second Thorn of the Heart of Jesus: the Tepid Soul.

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.

EXAMPLE.

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.

PRAYER.

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.

PRACTICE.

Spend some time reflection on what Jesus has done for you and then on what you have done for Him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Seventeenth Day of June

The First Thorn of the Heart of Jesus: a Soul in Mortal Sin.

Consider that an innocent soul is the dwelling-place of God, and that in Comunion it becomes in a particular manner the abode of Jesus Christ. In the words of St. Paul it can exclaim: "I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. ii. 20). Yes, Jesus is at home in an innocent soul, there He finds His delight and there He desires to remain for ever. To commit a sin, a mortal sin, and voluntarily to continue in this dreadful state is to admit the devil into our soul, it is to make him our master in the place of Jesus, who at once departs, driven out ignominiously and complaining in the words of Isaias: "To whom have you likened me and made me equal, and compared me?" And whilst Satan chains down this poor soul and makes it his slave, Jesus stands at the door, lovingly knocks, and breathes forth these touching reproaches: "What more could I do for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee a most beautiful vine; and thou hast proved exceeding bitter to me." "I shed for thee my blood even to the last drop, and what has it profited thee? I nourished thee with my own flesh, and thou hast despised, persecuted, and betrayed me. O all you that pass by the way of life, attend and see, if there be any sorrow like to the sorrow that my Heart feels at such base ingratitude. Guilty soul, if thou didst know the gift of God, if thou didst know who I am, and what I give to those who open their hearts to me." "No;" answers the sinful soul, "no, I will not have Thee to reign over me." Oh! what a cause of anguish for the tender Heart of Jesus! How this cruel thorn must make His divine Heart to bleed. "Is there no one," does He exclaim, "who will take pity on me, and will compassionate my grief, in the miserable state to which sinners have reduced me, above all in these present times?"

To this cry of distress, Christians, let us answer with words of love and reparation. Let us hasten to our Savior’s aid, let us by our prayers, our alms, and our communions, convert sinners. St. Teresa never ceased to pray for them; she continually asked Jesus Christ for souls; and we read in her life that one day when she was praying with greater fervor, she uttered so powerful a cry, so vehement a prayer from the depths of her heart, that the heavenly Spouse was touched, and revealed to her that by her petition she had just saved six thousand souls, who owed to her their salvation and whom she would one day see in heaven. Let us also ask the Heart of Jesus for souls: Give me souls. If we could but save one, only one, ours also would be saved, we should give joy to the angels, we should console the Heart of Jesus. What a happiness and what a reward! Souls, my God! give me souls, and keep all things else. Eternal Father, look on the face of Jesus, and transform all poor sinners into saints!

EXAMPLE.

During the siege of Metz in 1870, a brave captain of artillery was carried wounded to the ambulance. "Surgeon," he said, "do with me what you will, but save my life. I have a wife and children, I cannot, I will not die!" Alas! all was of no use, and it was necessary to prepare for that last great journey; but the poor man was obdurate and would not put his conscience in order. Who was there to have pity on this soul and save it from the eternal abyss? Another captain of artillery, a fervent Christian, determined to render him this important service. He put on his uniform as if to pay him a visit, and approaching the bed of the dying man, said to him with tears in his eyes: "Come, my dear fellow, a soldier ought to know how to die; give your poor wife and children the only comfort which is left to them, namely, that of knowing you died as a good Christian." He then insisted that the dying man should no longer put off his religious duties, and remained with him until the priest arrived to hear his confession. Reconciled to God, and fortified with the sacraments of the Church, the dying man exclaimed in the fulness of his joy: "I am happy, I am ready for the great review. I shall go up there unburdened and decorated; all is in order." He then kissed with a lively faith a medal of the Sacred Heart, which he had received at Rome from the hands of the sovereign Pontiff, saying: "I have never left off wearing this medal, Father; when I am dead, be so good as to send it to my wife, it will be my last remembrance, my last fare well." Thus was a sinner saved by a pious friend having pity on him, and bringing him back to the fold of Christ. Oh! if we did but know the value of souls, if we did but know the desires of the Heart of Jesus!

PRAYER.

Lord Jesus, pardon the numberless Christians who disown Thy love, refuse to serve Thee, and despise Thy commandments and those of Thy Church. Pardon the unhappy sinners who voluntarily remain in this wretched state, forget their ingratitude and hard-heartedness open Thy adorable Heart, so that copious streams of grace, mercy, and pardon may flow from It. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Make a diligent examination of conscience and confess your sins as soon as possible.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Sixteenth Day of June

Fifth Desire of the Heart of Jesus: the Propagation of the Devotion to His Sacred Heart.

"Our Lord," said St. Margaret Mary, "manifested to me the treasures of grace and love, which He would bestow on those who would consecrate and sacrifice themselves, in order to procure for His Sacred Heart all the love and glory which was in their power; treasures so vast that it is impossible for me to describe them. Our Savior also showed me the names of a great number of persons written in His divine Heart, on account of their zeal in causing It to be loved and honored, and that for this reason their names would never be effaced." The longing desires and magnificent promises of the Heart of Jesus, excited to the greatest degree the zeal of the saintly religious of Paray-le-Monial. It is not in our power to relate all the efforts, the holy inventions, the generous persistence of her ardor in propagating the devotion to the Sacred Heart. She even made a vow never to refuse any labor or suffering, however painful, that could spread this devotion. In writing to one of her superiors she thus expresses her self: "What joy is it to me that the Sacred Heart of my divine Master is known, loved, and glorified. I live only for this end, and there is nothing that I would not endure in order to make Jesus Christ reign in all hearts; even the pains of hell itself without the sin, of which they are the punishment, would be sweet to me. O God! it is more pleasing to me, and I would rather suffer in order to make Thee known and loved, than be one of the number of the seraphic choir!" What can equal the zeal and heroic devotedness of this holy soul!

Christians, let us also labor, as far as we are able, to extend devotion to the Heart of Jesus. There are two means of propagating it which are within the reach of all: the first is prayer; let us frequently ask of God the Father to make the Heart of His beloved Son known and honored throughout the whole world; this Heart which has procured for Him more glory than all the saints and angels together. Let us often repeat the ejaculatory prayer: "May the Sacred Heart of Jesus le everywhere loved!"

The second is to indnce those with whom we are acquainted to practise this devotion, by making known to them its objects and advantages. A word spoken with prudence and conviction, a remark uttered in and inspired by charity, will often suffice to gain hearts for the Heart of Jesus. Oh! if the fire of divine love but animated our souls, how easily should we be able to communicate to others the ardor which we ourselves experience. St. Augustine says: "If we have no zeal, the reason is that we have no love."

Yes, Lord, I will be Thy faithful apostle and I will place my glory in procuring Thine.

EXAMPLE.

Providence has reserved for this century which is one of material things and earthly interests, the example of a saint whose only thought was for heaven, and who loved but the Heart of Jesus. To give an idea of the love of God with which Monsieur Vianney, the Cure of Ars, was animated, says his historian, it would be necessary to describe all the zeal, energy, gentleness, and generosity of which a human soul, aided by grace, is capable. He thought and spoke unceasingly of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and his words seemed flames of love. He continually preached on the devotion, recommended it to all those whom he directed, to the sick, to the afflicted, and to poor sinners. One day, it was the morning of the beautiful feast of the Sacred Heart, he said with tears in his eyes: "Let us all go to the Heart of Jesus, to the throne of divine goodness; there flows from It love and mercy sufficient to wash away all the sins of the world. Oh! if we knew how much this divine Heart loves us, we should die of joy. The only happiness on earth is to love It, and to know that It loves us."

After the example of this holy priest, of this indefatigable apostle, let us recommend and propagate the devotion to the Sacred Heart. "Let us diffuse in the world the sweet odor of the Heart of Jesus Christ," said the blessed Margaret Mary, "and we shall be Its joy and crown."

PRAYER.

O Heart of Jesus! Heart infinitely amiable, and infinitely holy! to what else shall we devote our lives, if not to making Thee known? To love Thee, Lord, is not enough for us; we wish to make others love Thee. We would fain possess all hearts, so that we might place them in Thine. Give us the zeal of apostles, that proclaiming Thy mercies, we may save souls redeemed at the price of Thy blood. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Spread devotion to the Sacred Heart by sharing your devotion with others either directly in conversation or by giving someone literature to read.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Fifteenth Day of June

Fourth Desire of the Heart of Jesus: the Relief of the Souls in Purgatory.

The Heart of Jesus cannot be indifferent to the sufferings of these poor souls; they are His elect, His favored children, the heirs of His glory, called to bless Him eternally in heaven, His spouses whom He tenderly loves. If He could suffer, He would again offer His life to pay their debts and open heaven for them. To restrain the force of His love, it needs all the wisdom and all the merciful justice of a God who has a horror of the least stain. He can no longer suffer, He can not die again; but from the Tabernacle, where love keeps Him a prisoner, He urges all the faithful on earth to think of the souls in Purgatory, and by their prayers and sacrifices to obtain refreshment and peace for all who are in that abode of expiation. One day He said to St. Gertrude: "Each time that you deliver a soul by the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, it is as pleasing to me as though you redeemed me from captivity, and I shall know how to reward you." On the altar, where He immolates Himself, Jesus prays for them. He wills that each time this sacrifice is offered, His suffering Church should, in the Memento for the Dead, experience its effects. Further, still, and oh! how admirable are the holy inventions of the Heart of Jesus; He unites in one vast treasury all His merits, all those of His holy Mother, and the saints; and He desires that the faithful should draw liberally from this source, so as to pay the debts of these captive souls. As soon as they are freed, He Himself comes to seek them, conducts them into the heavenly Jerusalem, and inundates them with a torrent of delights. Then, clothed with the nuptial garment, they can follow the Lamb and unite with the choir of the elect in saying: "To Him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb, benediction and honor and glory and power for ever and ever" (Apoc. v. 13).

Can, then, our hearts remain indifferent to the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory? Can we close them to the supplications of these prisoners who implore their liberty, these poor exiles who demand their country? From the depths of that burning abyss, they cry out to us: "Have pity on us, at least you our friends" (Job. xix. 21). Let us not forget that it is a father or mother who is, perhaps, suffering for having loved us too much. It is a brother, it is a sister, whom we have sworn never to forget. It is a friend who has loved us much, and whose only hope is in us. Let us hasten to satisfy divine justice for them by our prayers, by our good works, by the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, by our communions, and by gaining indulgences. When, through our suffrages, they are admitted into heaven, they will become our most powerful intercessors. "It is, therefore, a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins" (2 Mach. xii. 46). Heart of Jesus give them eternal rest!

EXAMPLE.

Father Lacordaire, in a letter addressed to a lady of the world, relates that a Polish peasant was, at his death, condemned by the justice of God to the expiatory flames of Purgatory. His devoted wife ceased not to pray for the repose of his soul; but thinking that her prayers were not sufficiently powerful, she wished to have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and have Mass celebrated for the deliverance of him whom she mourned. Being poor, and not having wherewith to make the offering, which is customary, towards the support of the priest who says the Mass, she went to a rich person, who was not only a philosopher, but an unbeliever, and humbly asked him to help her; the gentleman felt compassion for her and gave her some money. The widow lost no time in having Mass offered for the soul of her husband in the chapel of the Sacred Heart, and with great fervor received Communion for the same intention. A few days after, God permitted that the deceased peasant should appear to the rich man and say: "I thank you for the alms you gave towards the offering of the Holy Sacrifice; this Mass has delivered my soul from Purgatory, where it was detained, and now, in gratitude for your charity, I am sent by our Lord to tell you that your death is near, and that you should be reconciled to God." The rich man profited by the warning, was converted and died shortly after, in the most edifying dispositions. Let us often recall those words of Scripture: "It is a good and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins."

PRAYER.

O Lord Jesus! these poor souls belong to Thee; they loved Thee on earth, they still love Thee amidst the flames of Purgatory; by the merits of Thy cross and Thy divine Heart, deliver them from that abode of expiation. Above all, deliver the souls of my relations my friends and benefactors, so that, united to the choirs of angels, they may praise and bless Thee through all eternity, Amen.

PRACTICE.

Regularly have Masses offered for those who have died, especially family members and those who have no one to pray for them. Do not succumb to the false and ungrateful idea that the dead are not in need of our prayers. If by chance the souls of those for whom we have Masses offered have gone to heaven, the Masses will be applied to those who need them most.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Fourteenth Day of June

Third Desire of the Heart Of Jesus: the Salvation of Souls.

Consider that the Heart of Jesus burns with an immense desire to save our souls, and to make them eternally happy. Yes, to save our souls, this is the object of His divine mission, the end of the Incarnation; it is for this that He descended from heaven, took the form of a servant and the name of Savior. St. John says: "God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him" (John iii. 17) and "through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace through the blood of His cross, both as to the things on earth and the things that are in heaven" (Col. i. 20). "Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts iv. 12). To save our souls, such was His office, His great work for three-and-thirty years. His examples, lessons, miracles, sacraments, sufferings, His life and death, all were directed to our salvation. To save our souls was the object of His sacrifice: "Christ hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness." He ended His life in the midst of the most terrible torments, exclaiming that He thirsted for the salvation of men "Sitio!" "I thirst." Finally, it is for our salvation that Jesus gives us His eucharistic body, the pledge of eternal life, and His divine Heart; the sacred ark where we may all enter, and find protection and salvation. He says: "My Heart desires to manifest Itself to men, so that they may enrich themselves with this precious treasure which I disclose to them, and which contains sanctifying graces capable of rescuing them from perdition, and of saving them all." Oh! how many mysteries are there not in the burning love of Jesus for our souls, what an immense desire to save us all: can we ever sufficiently thank Him for such love?

Christians, help the Heart of Jesus to quench the burning thirst which consumes It. Alas! thousands of souls are lost, whilst you are enriched with all sorts of spiritual favors; endeavor to bring them back to God by your prayers, your good works, and example. This was what the saints did with such admirable zeal, and it was revealed to St. Teresa, that her prayers had converted to God many thousands of Indians. Church history relates that a single slave in the fourth century converted the whole of the Iberian nation. An easy way of contributing to the salvation of souls, is to join the admirable association of the Propagation of the Faith, which snatches so many victims from the devil and hell, and opens to them the gates of heaven. Let us love this beautiful work and spread it around us, and we shall save many souls.

O Jesus! give me the heart of an apostle, enkindle in me the fire which consumes Thine own.

EXAMPLE.

In the year 1821, a pious young woman in the city of Lyons, was moved with compassion on hearing of the sufferings and destitution of the French missionaries in heathen lands. One evening, while her companions were playing at cards, she was musing on the object she had at heart, and she asked for the money won at the game to help the missionaries. Seated quietly by the fire, she wrote down in pencil on a card, the simple and fruitful plan of the propagation of the Faith, and little by little, she induced the needlewomen and servants of the town to join in her work. The first year she collected fifteen hundred francs; these details were given by the foundress herself. At the present time the subscriptions amount to five million francs, three millions of which are collected in France. Brought in by so many hands, the weekly penny became like the grain of mustard seed, it grew and multiplied each day. On every side, men and women, rich and poor, great and small, joined the association. If God had said fifty years ago to that young girl, as He did to Abraham, "Look at the heavens and count the stars if thou canst; the souls that will be saved by thy work will exceed them in number," would not her faith have been put to a severe test? Yet today, if still alive, she would not be able to count the millions of souls saved by the work that God inspired her to commence. Oh! how the Heart of Jesus must rejoice at this abundant harvest; how rich a reward must He not reserve to the foundress and associates of this fruitful organization! Let us then love and spread this devotional and Catholic work, and we shall save those souls for whom Jesus has shed His blood.

PRAYER.

O Jesus! I also thirst for the salvation of my brethren. Would that it were in my power to include them all in the embraces of Thy love. Supply my deficiency, O divine Heart. Make Thyself known and loved by all the souls for whom Thou hast shed Thy blood and sacrificed Thy life. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Work for the salvation of souls according to your ability. Donate to the missions, teach religious education classes, pray for the conversion of fallen away or non-Catholic or some like act.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Thirteenth Day of June

The Second Desire of the Heart of Jesus: the Honor of His Mother.

Who can say what the love of the Heart of Jesus was for His Blessed Mother? As God, He loved her as the purest and most perfect of His creatures; He preserved her from, all sin, and adorned her with all graces and virtues. As Man He loved her as would the most respectful, the most docile, the most submissive and affectionate of children. What favors, what sanctity must not the Heart of the Son have communicated to the Heart of the Mother during the nine months He reposed in her virginal womb, and during the thirty years of intimacy which He passed with her at Nazareth! During the time of His public ministry, it was frequently at the request of His Mother that Jesus worked His miracles, as He did at Cana in Galilee, so that the women of Israel, envious of such great glory, cried out: "Blessed is the womb that bore thee" (Luke. xi. 27). In Heaven, He wills that His Mother should be the dispenser of His treasures, the channel by which His graces descend to earth. He takes pleasure in granting the prayers which are addressed to her, and to confirm by miracles the confidence that is shown by her servants. He wills that the Church should have for her the most profound respect, the most tender love, the most entire confidence; He loves to see her name united to His, and when a temple is raised to His glory, it is necessary in order to please Him, that its vaulted roof should give shelter to the humble altar of Mary. Finally, He wills, that wherever the Son is adored, the Mother also should be honored: "And entering the house they found the Child with Mary, his Mother" (Matt. ii. 11).

Christians, if we wish to please Jesus, let us love and respect Mary; let us love her as dutiful children love their mother; she has for us all the tenderness and devotedness of a parent; her heart, like that of her Son, is an abyss of love and mercy. In our devotion, let us never separate the heart of Mary from that of Jesus; let us honor and love them both with all fervor; they were always closely united, let us not, in our affections, separate them. Let us address our petitions to God the Father through the Heart of Jesus; let us appeal to Jesus through the heart of Mary; we shall obtain all from the Father through the Heart of Jesus, and all from the Son through the heart of the Mother. Let us delight to repeat frequently the touching invocation:

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us!

Immaculate heart of Mary, heart like to the Heart of Jesus, pray for us!

EXAMPLE.

During the fatal war of 1870, between France and Germany, a virtuous and only son, when on the point of starting to join the army, placed himself under the powerful protection of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. His good parents had also placed in this twofold refuge their hopes for the preservation of a child so dear, and whom they looked to as the stay and support of their old age. As it always happens these hopes were not deceived. The young man, a captain in The army of the Loire, encountered the greatest dangers: he was exposed to the fire of the enemy’s cannon and saw blood flowing on every side, and yet he received no wound. He devoted himself day and night to nursing a soldier ill of smallpox, and he was preserved from the contagion. In a word, under every circumstance, Jesus and His holy Mother watched over this faithful servant with the tenderest care, and he on his side, in the midst of the toils and perils of war, never failed a single day to recite his rosary. Protected by the Sacred Hearts he returned safe and well to his family. To mark their sense of this favor, the relatives of the young man placed a slab of white marble in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin, bearing in golden letters this inscription: "Gratitude to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who have preserved and restored a beloved son to his family during the war of 1870." Under every circumstance, in every danger let us invoke Jesus and Mary, let us take refuge in their Hearts and we shall always be safe.

PRAYER.

O Heart of Jesus, grant that I may be always the favored child of the most holy Virgin! Inspire me with the most tender and filial confidence towards her, and give me the grace to invoke her unceasingly. Grant that her blessed name, united to Thine may be always on my lips, that thus living here below with Jesus and Mary, I may one day behold them in heaven. Amen.

PRACTICE.

Always have recourse to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, especially when tempted to sins of impurity.