Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Last Day of the Month of the Sacred Heart


An important secret for aiding you to carry out the good resolutions you have formed during this month is to learn to enter into the Heart of Jesus, to leave the Heart of Jesus, and to re-enter the Heart of Jesus.

1. Enter into the Heart of Jesus by recollection and prayer. Make great account of prayer all your life, and, in it never lose sight of Jesus. Remember how strongly St. Theresa recommends prayer. Enter into it, like her, through Jesus Christ.

2. Leave the Heart of Jesus in order to go and labor for Jesus. Lave it as the Seraphim leave paradise without being absent from it. Preserve at least the desire of entering into it again, as speedily as possible. Live always in His presence. Carry Jesus with you, in order to communicate Him to the hearts of those with whom you converse. Leave Jesus, as the ray issues from the sun, without being detached from it and as Jesus left the bosom of His Father without ceasing to be united to Him.

3. Re-enter the Heart of Jesus as soon as possible. This you may do in two ways. The first is by frequently lifting up your mind and heart to Him. While occupied in your employments raise your heart to Jesus every hour or oftener saying, for example, ‘O Heart of Jesus, Thou art my strength, my joy, my happiness.’ The second manner of re-entering the Heart of Jesus is by examination and penance. Call back your heart from its wanderings and let it suffer some punishment for them. Lay your head at the foot of the Crucifix, and, if you have sinned by pride say to Him: ‘Trample this proud head beneath Thy feet, O Lord’' If by impatience: ‘Would that I had the lance which pierced Thy Sacred Heart that I might pierce my own with it and let forth all its bitterness.’ In every fault that you may have committed, whatever it be, have recourse to our Lord and say to Him: ‘I know well, my Savior, that Thou art also my Judge,.and therefore I would gain Thee, before Thou judgest me. Happy shall I be if I do penance before Thou punishest me, for I know well that Thou wilt not have the courage to punish me twice.’ Enter, leave, and reenter the Heart of Jesus in this manner. It is a means of remaining united to Him all your life.

Nor have you any reason to doubt that you will always be well received under whatever circumstances you have recourse to Him though you may have been guilty of some negligence in recalling Him to mind. One Friday, St. Gertrude turning towards her Crucifix, said with compunction: "Alas, my sweetest Lord, what sufferings you endured for my saltation on this day, and I, ungrateful wretch that I am, engrossed by other cares, have allowed this day to pass without calling to mind all that you deigned to suffer each single hour. You who are the life of my life, who for love of my love condescended to die!" Upon which our Lord replied to her: "I have supplied for all your negligence, for at each instant I have formed in my Heart all those sentiments which should have passed through yours, and my divine Heart waited with impatience for this return of yours towards me, in order to offer to God my Father all the merits that I accumulated and which could not be applied to your soul without this intention on thy part." The Saint added, "In this is manifested the most faithful love of our God who supplies in so admirable a manner for our forgetfulness and who appeases His Father by offering Him the regret which the soul conceives for her negligence.

Practice: There is no better way to close the practices suggested during this month than by one which our Lord Himself proposed to the St. Margaret Mary: "One Friday during Holy Mass, I felt a strong desire to honor the sufferings of my crucified Spouse. Upon this He told me that He desired that I should present myself every Friday a certain number of times day and night to adore Him upon the Cross, the throne of His mercy, and prostrate myself humbly at His feet, in the same dispositions in which the Blessed Virgin stood by the Cross during His Passion, and offer to Him those holy dispositions." Our Lord said also to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi: "If every Friday you will honor with particular devotion the hour at which I expired on the Cross, you shall receive in return the choicest graces from my soul which I gave up at that moment to my Eternal Father. And though you may not always feel sensibly the effects of this grace, it shall remain constantly present within you."

Ejaculatory Prayer: May I live, no not I, but may the Heart of Jesus live in me!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Friday, July 3, 2009

THe Thirty-Third Day of the Month of the Sacred Heart

Of the Zeal Which the Heart of Jesus Looks for in Those Who Are Devoted to Him in Spreading the Devotion to the Sacred Heart.

It is not enough to have conceived a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You must also labor, as far as you can, to extend it. And this will be no difficult matter if you have only love: the most unequivocal proof of love is zeal. Whoever has no zeal has no love says St. Augustine.

But in what way are you to exercise your zeal? There are three means of doing it, and these are within the reach of every one. The first is example. Set an example yourself of a tender devotion to the Heart of Jesus. This is the shortest and most efficacious lesson. The second means is to counsel it; to make it known to those who are unacquainted with it and to encourage and foster it in those who have some beginning of it. The third and surest, as it is also the easiest, is to pray ardently to this Sacred Heart to make itself known and loved by means of those interior lights, those secret motions, that enlighten and transform hearts; for this devotion seems to be in a particular manner the fruit of prayer, one of those special graces which our Lord has reserved to be spread in the hearts of His servants by Himself alone.

No one can excuse himself from employing so easy a means as this. The saints in their enterprises of zeal knew well the power of prayer over the Heart of God and hence they never failed to join it to their preaching. For they bore in mind the saying of St. Paul, that "neither he that plants is anything, nor he that waters, but God that gives the increase" Neque qui plantat est aliquid, neque qui rigat, sed qui incrementum dat Deus (1 Cor. iii. 7).

It is related of a Father of the Society of Jesus that he never preached without having first spent three hours in fervent prayer accompanied with abundant tears. A lay brother of the same society, when asked what were the means which he used to gain so many souls to God in his office as porter, replied: "For one word that I address to men, I address a hundred to God." Let us adopt the same means and we may be sure of success.

Let us pray. And if our sins. make us unworthy to be used as instruments by Jesus Christ in making His Sacred Heart known, let us beg of Him to choose others in our place. Let us entreat Him to send into His vineyard apostles of His Heart who, penetrated with a deep sense of the advantages of this devotion, may devote themselves to increase and spread it Yes, let us pray, for everything is promised to prayer. When a holy soul once asked of God why He did not raise up in this corrupt age one of those saints whose zeal changes, as it were, the face of the whole world, "Men do not pray to me enough," was the reply which she received.

The surest means of succeeding in the prayers which we address to God for the good of souls is to offer them to Him through the mediation of the Heart of Jesus. This was made known to Marie of the Incarnation, foundress of the Ursulines in Canada, as she relates in the second hook of her life written by herself. "One night as I was pleading before the Eternal Father the great cause of the salvation of souls, I understood by an interior light, that I was not heard by His Divine Majesty and that He did not, as usual, lend a propitious ear to the vows and urgent entreaties which I addressed to Him. I annihilated myself at His feet. I sank to the center of my own vileness and nothingness that His Divine goodness might deign to teach me what was most pleasing to Him in order that I might obtain my request. Upon this I heard these words: ‘Pray to me through the Heart of Jesus, my most amiable Son. It is through Him, that I will hear you and grant your petition.’ Since that time I have always concluded my daily devotions by this practice, and by this means I gain each day a fresh profusion of graces beyond all that I can express. *

It would be well to mention here the magnificent promises of Jesus Christ in favor of those who zealously employ themselves in making known His Sacred Heart. Saint Margaret Mary says, "Our Lord disclosed to me the treasures of grace and love reserved for those who shall consecrate and devote themselves to give and procure to His Sacred Heart all the honor, love, and glory in their power, treasures so great that it is impossible for me to express them." And in another place, "Our Lord showed me the names of a number of persons written in His Sacred Heart on account of the desire they felt that He should be loved and honored, and He promised, that they should never be effaced."

At the same time, let us bear in mind that to be profitable, our zeal must be prudent and enlightened. There is a wide difference between the affairs of God and those of the world. In the affairs of the world it is necessary to be full of action; in those of God, we must be content with following His inspirations, leaving grace to act and following its movements with all our power. Devotion to the Sacred Heart must insinuate itself by the unction of charity into the hearts of those whom God has chosen for Himself.

Practice: Employ a part of your means in procuring books and medals oi the Sacred Heart and try to spread them where you can. The wicked never fail to find means and resources for circulating their pernicious books. Shall we allow ourselves to be outdone by them?

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Heart of Jesus, grant that I may be consumed with a zeal for Thy glory.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

* Prayer of Mother Marie of the Incarnation.

It Is by the Heart of my Jesus, my way, my truth, and my life, that I approach Thee O Eternal Father. Through this divine Heart, I adore Thee in behalf of those who adore Thee not, I love Thee in behalf of those who love Thee not, I acknowledge Thy goodness, in behalf of all those who, by voluntary blindness, slight Thy divine Majesty and acknowledge not Thy favors. I would fain satisfy through this divine Heart for the duty of all mankind. I traverse in spirit the whole world in search of every soul purchased by the most precious Blood of my divine spouse, in order that I may make reparation to Thee for all through this divine Heart. I embrace them all in order to present them to Thee through Him, and through Him I beg of Thee their conversion. Wilt Thou suffer them, Eternal Father, to refuse to acknowledge my Jesus, to refuse to live for Him who has died for all? Thou seest, O divine Father, that they have no life as yet. Give them life in this divine Heart.

Thou knowest, O Incarnate Word, my beloved Jesus, all that I would say to Thy Father by Thy divine Heart and by Thy holy Soul. In saying it to Him I say it to Thee, for Thou art in Thy Father and Thy Father in Thee. Grant, then, in union with Him. all that I ask. I present to Thee all these souls. Make them one with Thee.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Thirty-Second Day of the Month of the Sacred Heart

Fifth Means of Obtaining a Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: a Particular Devotion to St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Aloysius.

The saints in heaven take a pleasure in obtaining for those who honor them the virtue in which they themselves excelled and the means of salvation which most powerfully aided them in attaining perfection. We have before remarked what an ardent devotion the greatest saints have manifested at all times towards the Heart of Jesus, but we will point out three in particular to whom you can have recourse in a more special manner in order to obtain this devotion.

The first is St. Joseph. When we call to mind the privilege which this glorious saint enjoyed of carrying the Infant Jesus so often in his arms and of living with Him familiarly during thirty years, can we doubt that in the silence of the life of continual prayer which St. Joseph led at Nazareth our Divine Savior revealed to him, the first and most highly favored of all His saints after His Divine Mother, all the treasures of His Sacred Heart? If, then, you would know and love the Heart of Jesus go to Joseph. Jesus has placed in his hands all the treasures of His Heart in order that he might have the power of enriching his faithful clients.

After Joseph go to the disciple whom Jesus loved, St. John the Evangelist. To whom Can you better address yourself if you would be inflamed with a tender devotion to the Heart of Jesus than to the beloved disciple, who reclined during the last supper upon that Divine Heart, and was the first to penetrate its secrets; who alone received the last sighs of that Sacred Heart upon the cross; who alone shared the sorrows of Mary as she beheld that Sacred Heart pierced by the soldier’s lance; who alone saw the blood and water flow from thence, as he bears testimony himself; and who was the first to enter into that wound of love and there to take up his abode?

As for St. Aloysius, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the exercise of an interior life and continual union with God formed his distinctive characteristic. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, to whom it was given to behold the glory which this saint enjoyed in heaven exclaimed: "Oh, how Aloysius loved upon earth! Oh, how Aloysius loved! While he was in this mortal life he was ever winging shafts of heavenly love towards the Heart of the Word Incarnate. Now that he is in heaven those shafts return into his own heart and are fixed there for ever, for the acts of divine charity which he then made fill him now with ineffable joy.

"Oh, how great is the glory of Aloysius, son of Ignatius! Never could I have believed it had not my Jesus allowed me to see it! Would that I might traverse the whole universe and proclaim that Aloysius is a great saint. Would that I might make his glory known to the whole world that God might be glorified in him. He is raised so high in heaven only because he led an interior life on earth. Who can ever appreciate the merits and virtue of the interior life? No, there can be no comparison between the acts of an interior and exterior life."

This amiable saint is your model, interior souls; Christian youth, he is your special patron. You cannot doubt that he interests himself specially in your welfare, and he has given such proof of his desire to see the devotion to the Heart of Jesus extended that you are sure of doing what is agreeable to him in addressing yourselves to him to obtain the promotion of this object. The following incident will serve to increase your confidence.

In the year 1765, a novice of the Society of Jesus, Nicholas Aloysius Celestini, while laboring under a serious illness and almost on the point of death, saw the angelical Aloysius approach his bed. The Saint addressed hun in the most consoling words and exhorted him to love the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to propagate the devotion as a thing most pleasing to Heaven. Nicholas promised to do so and received as a recompense, not only the cure of his malady, but freedom also from any troublesome effects of it, so that though hardly able the evening before, to turn in his bed, he was well enough the following day to walk several miles in very cold weather and to observe the rule like any other novice. This miraculous cure contributed powerfully to extend the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Practice: Acquire the habit of making ejaculatory prayers from time to time after the example of St. Aloysius. There is not a more powerful means for advancing rapidly in a short time in the love of Jesus. Those short prayers are like inflamed darts which go straight to His Heart and meet with less hindrance from the distractions and languor which so often interfere with our other exercises of piety.

Ejaculatory Prayer: Who will give Thee to me that I may find Thee alone, O Heart of my Jesus!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Thirty-First Day of the Month of the Sacred Heart

Fourth Means of Obtaining Devotion to the Sacred Heart: a Great Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Mary has all power over the Heart of Jesus. She is the Mother of fair love: Mater pulchrae dilectionis. It is to her that we must address ourselves if we would have its flames enkindled in our hearts.

The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary are too much alike and too closely united for one not to lead infallibly to the other. There is this difference: The Heart of Jesus more particularly favors pure souls, while the heart of Mary purifies those which are not so by means of the graces which she obtains for them, and prepares them to be received within the Heart of Jesus. Sinners should never despair of obtaining this grace through Mary. She is the refuge of the miserable, the resource of the whole world. Without a tender love towards this Mother of mercy, we can never hope to obtain an entrance into the Heart of Jesus.

One day as St. Gertrude was repeating with great devotion those words of the Salve Regina: Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte, "Turn, then, thine eyes of mercy towards us," the Blessed Virgin appeared to her, and showing her the eyes of the Infant Jesus whom she held in her arms, said: "These are the eyes full of mercy which I can turn at pleasure upon those who invoke me." Let us then cherish a tender love for Mary; we shall soon be inflamed with an ardent love for her Son. This is the recompense beyond all price which she obtains for all who are devoted to her. Every good has come and will come, to us through Mary alone: Omnia per Mariam. Whoever has found her has found life and salvation.

There can be no difficulty in approaching this tender Mother, for she tells us herself that she anticipates those who seek her and that she shows herself first to them. Yes, it is she who inspires us with the desire of loving and serving her in order that she may enrich us with all the treasures which are deposited in her hands. It is through her hands that every grace must pass which the Heart of Jesus designs to shed upon us.

Let us address ourselves to Mary and especially to her Heart, the perfect image of the Heart of Jesus; to that Heart which was so constantly united to the Heart of her Divine Son that it shared each moment His feelings, His joys, His labors, sorrows, and His love for us. Never shall we find Jesus without Mary nor Mary without Jesus. Invenerunt puerum cum Maria, Matre Ejus, "And entering the house they found the child with Mary, His Mother" (Matt. ii. 11).

Let us invoke Mary, especially by her Immaculate Conception, her dearest privilege which exempted her from the sad necessity of being for a single instant the enemy of her God, and let us be sure that she will never refuse us anything. Let us never separate the Heart of Mary from that of Jesus in our devotions. Let us honor and love them both from the bottom of our hearts. Let us devote and consecrate ourselves wholly to these amiable Hearts. Let us address our requests to God the Father through the Heart of Jesus and lot us approach Jesus by the Heart of Mary. We shall obtain everything from the Father by the Heart of the Son and everything from the Son by the Heart of the Mother.

Blessed Hermann never passed a day without paying his homage to the Heart of Mary, and every day of his life he received signal favors at her hands.

Blessed Marie of the Incarnation used no other means than this: she had recourse to the Heart of Mary to present her petitions to Jesus and to the Heart of Jesus to present them to the Eternal Father. The Blessed Virgin herself deigned to tell St. Gertrude how pleasing this practice was to her and how meritorious it was in the sight of God. On the eve of Christmas while this saint was reflecting with bitterness of heart that she had allowed the season of Advent to pass by without having done anything specially in honor of the Blessed Virgin, inspired by the Holy Ghost, she offered to Mary in reparation for this negligence the most noble and gentle Heart of Jesus, her Divine Son. The Mother of Mercy gave her to understand that she received this precious gift with gratitude and great joy, and that it incomparably surpassed in merit all other acts that she could have performed to honor Her.

O Mary, Mother of Grace, cast an eye of pity on our miseries and afflictions with which we are overwhelmed in this valley of tears. Pray to Jesus to open His Heart to us, and teach us to bury our sorrows and our pains in His Divine Heart, which while He was on earth was truly a sea of bitterness. Let it be enough for us to look upon this amiable Heart as the Jews once looked upon the brazen serpent, to be at once healed of all the maladies which afflict our souls.

Practice: As often as you assist at Holy Mass, offer to the Heart of Jesus the dispositions of His Blessed Mother as she stood at the foot of the cross. And, when you go to Communion, offer Him in like manner the dispositions of Mary and her holy transports at the moment of the Incarnation. He Himself taught this practice to St. Margaret Mary. You cannot doubt, then, that it is most pleasing to Him and that you can thus repair with great advantage all your coldness and backwardness in those sacred actions, the most important in spiritual life.

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Mary, I will give myself no repose until I have obtained from thee the knowledge and love of the Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Thirtieth Day of June

Third Means of Obtaining a Devotion to the Sacred Heart: Visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

The Blessed Eucharist does not benefit those only who receive it. To gain from it some of the fruits of life which it contains it is enough to visit Jesus Christ in this adorable sacrament, to desire it, to think of it, to turn in spirit towards some church in which it reposes. Such was the practice of a great number of saints and of Saint Alphonsus Liguori among others. There is nothing, that wins the Heart of Jesus more surely than frequent adoration and visits. This adorable Heart is in His Sacrament as a living fountain which flows unceasingly night and day and asks only to pour itself into all hearts to purify and fertilize them. He Himself invites all to come and draw from thence the waters of life, and seems to cry aloud amid the silence of His sanctuaries, as He did formerly from amidst the crowd of Jews who were assembled at Jerusalem for a great solemnity: "If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink." Si quia sitit, veniat ad me et bibat (St. John, vii. 37).

But the solitude, that reigns in His churches tells us too plainly that He is not more heeded now than then. Hence it seems as though He would fain seek reparation from among the small number of faithful souls who answer to His call for the insensibility of others. It is during these visits which they pay to Him that He delights to shed upon them His graces in greater abundance. And it may be said that there is no favor which He bestows upon them more commonly at that time than the grace of His love, for as friendship is maintained and increased among men by frequent visits and conversations, so it is by the same means that we obtain a more ardent love for Jesus Christ.

Speak to Him during the visits which you pay to Him as a child to its father, as a spouse to the most amiable of spouses. At one time lay before Him your spiritual infirmities: "Lord, behold he whom You love is sick." Ecce, quem amas infirmatur (John xi. 3). At another thank Him for His benefits: "Bless the Lord, my soul, and let all that is within me praise His holy name." Benedic, anima mea, Domino, et omnia quae intra me sunt nomini sancto ejus (Ps. cii. 1). At another praise His goodness: "How good is God to Israel!" Quam bonus Israel Deus (Ps. Ixxii. 1). At another praise His mercy: Lord, Thy mercy is above all Thy works! At another. His love: O Heart of Jesus, wounded and languishing with love, what shall I say of You and of the excess of Your love? Annihilate yourself in His presence: "Shall I speak to my Lord, I who am but dust and ashes?" Loquar ad Dominum meum cum sim pulvis et cinis? (Gen. xviii, 27). Lastly, enter within the tabernacle itself and establish your abode there. Then cast yourself with Magdalen at the feet of Jesus. Bedew them with your tears. Kiss His sacred Hands pierced for the love of you. Repose upon His Heart with the disciple whom He loved and tell Him that it is there that you wish to take your rest for ever without looking elsewhere for joy or consolation, both in this world and in the next.

You cannot give want of time as an excuse for your neglect in visiting our Lord. How much time do you find to waste in useless conversation? Shall it be said that it is for Jesus alone that we cannot sacrifice five minutes? Yes, five minutes of conversation with Him in His adorable Sacrament is enough to satisfy His Heart. Perhaps you live under the same roof with Him. You have to go but a few steps to visit Him and you refuse Him this slight mark of gratitude which He is ready to recompense by the most signal favors. An ancient religious was wont to say, "Is it right to pass by the house of a friend, to live so near him and yet not go in to greet him?

Father Sales of the Society of Jesus was filled with consolation whenever he heard the Blessed Sacrament spoken of. He was never tired of visiting it. If he was asked for at the gate, if he returned to his room, if he had to go a few steps through the house, he would always contrive to renew on each occasion his visits to his dear Lord so that there was hardly an hour in the day in which he did not visit Him. It was this that merited for him the happiness of dying by the hands of heretics in defense of the doctrine of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament."

Aloysius Gonzaga, Stanislaus Kostka, John Berchmans, those angels upon earth and admirable models of youth, found no joy but in the presence of Jesus in His adorable Sacrament. They left their hearts with Him when they were obliged to be absent from Him. There it was that Xavier would come to rest himself after the labors of the apostolate and gain fresh strength for encountering new dangers. In a word, devotion towards Jesus, annihilated upon our altars has been the devotion of all the saints. Let it be ours also.

Practice: Make a firm resolution not to allow a single day to pass without making several visits to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament if you live in some place where He thus resides. If you have not this happiness go at least once a day into a church for this purpose. Let your special object in these visits be to honor the Heart of Jesus and to make reparation to Him for all those who are indifferent towards Him or who set themselves against the devotion towards this adorable Heart.

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Jesus, my God, Thou whose discourse can never tire, speak but one word to my soul. Speak today, speak always, and never be silent.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Twenty-Ninth Day of June

Second Means of Obtaining a Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Frequent Communion.

Devotion towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus is properly an exercise of love. It is enough, then to know what Holy Communion is to understand that there is no surer means of being soon inflamed with love for Jesus Christ than by frequently approaching to this divine Sacrament. The wise man knows it is impossible to carry fire in one’s bosom and not be burnt. This sacred fire is the adorable Eucharist which, as St. Bernard calls it, is the love of loves. Oh, did the soul but consider attentively what passes in this Divine Sacrament, says St. Angela of Foligno, it is certain that seeing herself so strangely loved all the iciness of her heart would be changed into flames of love and gratitude.

Let us frequently approach this source of all good. There, united and incorporated with Jesus Christ the author of grace, we shall daily receive its streams in fresh profusion. Our evil passions imperceptibly weakened will at length wholly disappear. That inclination for evil which we carry about with us will be changed into a sweet attraction towards every virtue of which the Heart of Jesus is the sanctuary, and of which He gives us an example in this adorable sacrament. There, possessing the treasure of Heaven, though hidden from our eyes, we shall receive the pledge of everlasting happiness, promised to those who worthily approach this Sacrament of love. For whoever possesses Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament can want nothing for his perfection and eternal salvation, so that, after Communion the faithful soul may say with St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi: All is accomplished. For indeed this heavenly food contains in itself every good and lays up in the soul every grace, gift, and virtue, so that the faithful soul that enjoys it has nothing more to desire.

Alas, how many graces do we lose by not placing ourselves in a condition to communicate more frequently. The Faithful of the primitive Church communicated every day, and how great in consequence was their faith and fervor! Alas, did we but know what pain we inflict on the Heart of Jesus by our indifference towards the Blessed Eucharist! One day our divine Lord said to St. Margaret Mary: "I have a burning thirst to be honored and loved by men in the Blessed Sacrament, and yet I find scarce any one who tries to allay this thirst, as I desire, by making me some return."

Let us be no longer of the number of these ungrateful souls. Let us often approach the. Holy Table with due dispositions. It is the surest means of giving consolation to Jesus Christ and gaining His Heart. But, if we already have the happiness of communicating often then why do we not make a better use of so powerful a means of perfection and salvation? Why, after so many communions do we continue still the same, still tepid, cold, and without energy to conquer our defects? Is it not because we go to Jesus Christ with a heart attached to creatures, filled with an esteem for the goods, the honors, the enjoyments of this world, with a heart impenetrably barred against the shafts of divine love? Is it not because, though Jesus willingly receives our hearts within His own, we on the contrary close our hearts against Him? For as He has Himself said, he alone that abides in me and I in him can bring forth abundant fruit. Qui manet in me, et ego in eo, hie fert fructum multum (St. John xv. 5).

Why then do we not cast ourselves with faith and confidence at the feet of Jesus Christ, really present within us, and say to Him from the bottom of our hearts: "No, Lord, I will not let You go until You have blessed me. I will not rise until You have given me strength to overcome those inclinations which separate me so frequently from You, and an efficacious and insatiable desire of doing and suffering all for Your love and always and on every occasion accomplishing Your holy will." Let us remind Him that His own glory requires Him to make a heart which has become His sanctuary worthy of Himself. And what is there that He can refuse us after haying given Himself wholly to us?

Practice: Endeavour to make yourself worthy, as far as is possible, to communicate frequently, and do not forget that all it’s fruit depends on the preparation and thanksgiving which should accompany this great action. St. Theresa says that one of the reasons why we receive so scanty a supply of grace, is that we do not turn to sufficient account those moments during which Jesus Christ is really present within us, and that He has hardly entered our hearts when we turn our back, as it were, upon Him and entertain ourselves with other thoughts.

Ejaculatory Prayer: When shall I come and appear before the face of my God? When shall I be allowed to possess Him within my heart?

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Twenty-Eighth Day of June

First Means of Obtaining Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Prayer.

The first means for obtaining an ardent love for Jesus Christ and a tender devotion to His Sacred Heart, is prayer.

"We may well be astonished that Christians are not, so to say, all powerful, possessing as they do a sure and infallible means of obtaining all that they desire, and this means consisting only in asking. There is nothing, to which Jesus Christ has so frequently and solemnly pledged Himself as to hear our prayers" (Croiset). "Ask, and it shall he given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you shall receive, that your joy may he full. All things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.

Prayer is the first need which the soul feels when the Holy Ghost begins to draw it from the abyss of perdition, the first sign of conversion. Ananias was afraid to go in quest of Saul to whom he was sent by our Lord. What was the proof given him by which to know that he was no longer a persecutor but already of the number of the Faithful in heart and will? "He prays." Ecce enim orat (Acts ix. 11).

Prayer is also the first exercise, which the enemy of souls induces them to abandon when he would draw them into his snares. Hence it was that St. Theresa said, "Would that I had a voice that might be heard throughout the whole world and that might repeat unceasingly in the ears of all: Pray, pray!"

Let us pray then, and pray with confidence, humility, and, above all, with perseverance. Let us never grow weary, never abandon it in disgust. The moment we cease to importune the divine mercy is, perhaps, the very moment at which it was on the point of granting our request. Prayer, says St. Laurence Justinian, appeases the anger of God. He pardons the sinner when he prays with humility. Prayer obtains all that it asks for. It triumphs over all the efforts of the enemies of our salvation. It purifies sinners, changes them, and makes them saints. No sooner had I recourse to God, says Solomon, than He granted me wisdom. I had no sooner opened my mouth to pray, says David, than I received help from God.

Our Lord told St. Bridget that His bounty goes far beyond our requests and wishes, and that He would be ready to give, at any moment, did we but bring, on our part, suitable dispositions.

"But, of all prayers, there is none that can be more pleasing to Jesus Christ than that in which we beg of Him a love of His Sacred Heart. Let us pray. Let us entreat. It is impossible to beg this earnestly and not obtain it. The means are easy and efficacious, and we may say that, in this matter, to ask is to obtain. Make use of this Sacred Heart itself to support your request and doubt not but that it will be favorably received" (Croiset).

St. Mechtild declared a short time before her death that, having one day begged of our Lord some great grace in behalf of a person who had asked her to do so, Jesus Christ said to her: "My daughter, tell the person for whom you are praying that she must seek all that she desires in my Heart, and that there she will infallibly find it. Let her cherish a great devotion to this Sacred Heart. Let her ask all that she desires through this Sacred Heart like a child that knows no other artifice than that which love suggests to her of asking of her father all that she wishes."

Practice: You can do nothing more pleasing to the Heart of Jesus, than to unite yourself to Him frequently by spiritual communion. According to St. Thomas, this consists in an ardent desire of receiving Jesus Christ and an affectionate gratitude as if we had actually received Him. These desires and affections you can awaken in yourself at every hour of the day or night. Our Lord expressed to the Foundress of the Convent of St. Catharine of Sienna at Naples the pleasure He takes in these spiritual communions by showing her two precious vases, one of gold and the other of silver, and telling her that in the golden vase He kept her sacramental communions and in the silver vase her spiritual communions.

Ejaculatory Prayer: If I forget Thee, O Heart of Jesus, let my right hand be forgotten: let my tongue cleave to my jaws if I do not remember Thee! Si oblitus fuero tui, oblivioni detur dextera mea; adhaereat lingua mea faucibus meis, si non meminiero tui (Ps. cxxxvi. 5).

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.


I was unable to post the meditations for the Twenty-Eighth and Twenty-Ninth Days due to connectivity issues. They are thus being posted late.

If you wish to keep on schedule you can "double up" and use two meditations a day, one in the morning the other in the evening. Or, you can continue to use them in order. Either way will bear great fruit.

Note that while the meditations are for the month of June, a month of 30 days, there are in total 33 as well as a concluding meditation.

I hope they have served to bring you closer to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and have borne great fruit in your souls.

Fr. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Twenty-Seventh Day of June

Means Of Surmounting the Obstacles to the Devotion to the Sacred Heart: Mortification.

"If you would know how to overcome the obstacles which your examen has disclosed to you, embrace courageously interior and exterior mortification. Both are absolutely necessary for arriving at perfection: the one cannot exist without the other.

"But the most necessary, beyond all contradiction, is interior mortification, and from this no one can dispense himself. This is the violence which we must unceasingly offer to ourselves in order to seize the kingdom of heaven. In fact, it is impossible to live the life of faith for any length of time without dying a thousand times a day to your inclinations and the self-seeking of self-love, for the whole employment of a soul in this life consists in loving and hating: loving God with our whole heart, and hating sin without reserve.

"Opportunities for practicing this mortification are constantly presenting themselves. There is no one who cannot mortify his natural disposition, desires and inclinations, who cannot keep silence when his natural vivacity would urge him to reply or vanity prompt him to speak. It is in such acts as these that interior mortification principally consists, and we succeed by this means in weakening self-love and subjecting it to reason, and thus gradually ridding ourselves of our imperfections. It is useless to flatter ourselves that we love Jesus Christ if we are not mortified. All our practices of devotion, the finest sentiments of piety, are to be suspected if unattended by this perfect mortification. It was for this reason that when some one was spoken of as a saint in the presence of St. Ignatius he replied, "He will truly be so if he is truly mortified."

"But it is not enough to mortify ourselves for a time only and in some one particular. We must mortify ourselves as far as possible in everything and at all times but with prudence and discretion. A single irregular satisfaction that you allow to nature has more effect in rendering her overbearing and rebellious than a hundred victories which you might gain over her would have in weakening her power.

"The practice of this mortification is familiar to all such as have a true desire of being perfect. There is nothing that does not afford them an occasion for thwarting their natural inclinations. It is enough that they have a great desire to see or to speak to make them cast down their eyes or hold their tongue. The desire of hearing news or of knowing what is passing or what is said is to them a constant subject of mortification and it is the more meritorious in proportion as it recurs more frequently and is known to God alone. A happy expression, a witty pleasantry, might distinguish them in conversation, but it may also furnish them with matter for a noble sacrifice. Are they interrupted a hundred times, in some occupation of great importance? A hundred times they will reply with as much patience and sweetness as if they had not been at all engaged.

"Inconveniences, arising from circumstances of place, weather, variety of character, etc., again supply innumerable occasions of mortifying oneself with great merit, and it may be said, that the greatest graces and the highest sanctity depend ordinarily upon the generosity we show in mortifying ourselves with constancy on those little occasions which are unceasingly presenting themselves" (Croiset).

Do not, however, suppose that by entering on the practice of mortification you will have to lead a melancholy and hard life. The yoke of Jesus Christ is sweet, and His burden light. Did the saints deceive themselves when they exclaimed: "I am filled with comfort: I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation?" Repletus sum consolatione, superabundo gaudio in omni tribulatione? (2 Cor. vii. 4). Writing to his brethren in Rome, St Francis Xavier says: "I am in a country where I am in want of all the conveniences of life, but I experience so many interior consolations that I am in danger of losing my sight from the tears of joy which I shed." Where is the worldly person who at the pinnacle of his ambition or in the full enjoyment of his pleasures can make a similar avowal?

"A little courage! It’s the first step only that demands a sacrifice. Make the experiment for yourself. A thing must be worth but little which is not worth the trial.

"If after a fortnight of entire and constant mortification," said a great servant of God, "we do not taste that sweetness which others have experienced, I will allow it to be said that the life of those who truly love Jesus Christ is wearisome and that the yoke of Our Lord is heavy" (Croiset).

Whatever difficulties you may meet with in renouncing yourself, have recourse to the Heart of Jesus, and they will disappear. One day St. Margaret Mary felt so strong a repugnance within herself that it seemed as if she could not bring herself to obey upon our Lord reproaching her for her cowardice in conquering herself for the love of Him. She said to Him: "What would You have me do? My will is stronger than myself." Our Lord replied: "Place it n the wound of my Heart. There it will find strength to overcome itself." "O my God!" she exclaimed with transport, "bury it so deep within Your Heart and secure it there so firmly that it may never escape!"

Practice: Together with the general examen, practice also the particular examen. Take for the subject of it your predominant fault or some virtue which you wish to acquire and practice it in the following manner:

1. On rising, make a firm resolution to be on your guard against this particular defect.
2. About noon, examine whether you have committed any faults in regard of the point you proposed to yourself.
3. In the evening make a similar examen.

The fruit of this examen depends upon the fervor with which our morning resolution has been made, the exactness of our inquiry, our watchfulness over ourselves, the fervor with which we beg the divine assistance, and the care we take to note down our failings, in order that we may observe the progress we make from one day to another.

St. Ignatius practiced this exercise with such exactness from the time of his conversion that, even on the day of his death, he was still careful to note his faults in a little book which was found under his pillow. The most eminent persons of his order have imitated the fidelity of their founder in this salutary practice. If they thought that they were not doing too much in taking such precautions can we regard them as beneath us or as imposing too irksome a restraint upon us?

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Jesus, may Thy desolate Heart teach me to avoid, despise, and hate all earthly satisfactions. (Bl. Henry Suso).

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Twenty-Sixth Day of June

Four Obstacles Which Prevent Our Obtaining Abundant Fruit from Devotion to the Sacred Heart.

I find four obstacles which stop our progress in true devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The first is tepidity, a truly deplorable state. The tepid soul does only what she cannot omit. Without charity, without fervor, she is a burden to herself; and so far from advancing in the way of virtue, she falls back. The danger to which persons engaged in daily practices of piety are exposed is that of growing familiar with these holy exercises. To guard against this they should be constantly afraid of going through them without reverence, attention, and fervor, and should make an effort to arouse and awaken themselves by meditating on the great truths of faith and by rekindling in themselves the vivid flames of divine love.

"The state of tepidity is so much the more to be dreaded as it appears the less dangerous: we avoid more obvious sins and think that by so doing we are safe, but we forget the words of our divine Lord in the Apocalypse: ‘Because you art neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit you out of my mouth,’ As if He would say: ‘You do not deserve to live within me. You shall have no entrance into my Heart since you repay my kindness only by the most guilty coldness.’ Confessions without amendment, communions without fruit, are the ordinary consequences of this deplorable tepidity. Imagine, then, that our divine Lord, in His desire to draw you out of this sad state says to you as He said to St. Gertrude: ‘You have been long enough attached to the earth in company with my enemies. You have gathered the honey of the consolations of this world from amidst its thorns long enough. Return at length to me and I will inebriate you with the torrent of my delights.’ Accept this invitation of our divine Lord. Embrace His hand, pierced with nails for the love of you, which He stretches forth to you in His mercy, and promise Him that you will follow Him from henceforth whithersoever He may lead you.

"The second obstacle is self-love. The practice of the Gospel is shortly summed up in that saying of Jesus Christ: ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ And yet how few there are who think seriously of this! They have no love or taste for any virtues but those which are agreeable to themselves and suit their humor. But how can a heart thus disposed be united to the Heart of Jesus? This divine Heart abandoned itself wholly to us. It reserved nothing for itself. It asks, then, for generous hearts who have no fear of going, too far, of engaging themselves, of placing themselves in the impossibility of drawing back, and to whom all reserve is unknown.

"The third obstacle is our predominant passion which we would fain humor and which we cannot bring ourselves to renounce. Even though we had sacrificed them nearly all, yet if there remain but one of this kind, there can be no union of hearts. Examine sincerely what it is that you still reserve to yourself and sacrifice it generously to the Heart of Jesus, and be assured, that it will cost you less to renounce it altogether than to gratify it by halves.

"The fourth obstacle is a secret pride. We overcome or weaken all other enemies by the practice of virtues, but it too often happens that this enemy gains strength even by means of certain virtues themselves. It may be said, that of all vices there is none which has arrested so many souls in the path of piety, none which has thrown back so many from the highest perfection into tepidity, or even into a disordered life.

"From this spirit of vanity comes the desire we have to bring ourselves into notice, to succeed in all we undertake, that sadness and discouragement which we feel when we have met with bad success, that expansion which is produced in us at the sight of the honors which are paid us, or on hearing the praises which are bestowed upon us. This same spirit insinuates itself into the practice of the highest virtues. We are mortified, it may be, obliging, charitable, filled with zeal for the salvation of souls. We are given to meditation, prayer, etc., but we are well pleased for the edification, as we say, of our neighbor, that we should be known to be so.

"From the same source spring that sensitiveness on the point of honor, those little coolnesses, those annoyances which approach so near to envy, that secret pain we feel at the success of others whom we are ever ready to find a means of lowering, that excess even of sorrow and discouragement upon falling again into some humiliating fault.

"In fine, we pass for spiritual men, we believe ourselves to be such, and yet our conduct is regulated only by maxims of worldly prudence. We wear but the appearance of piety while beneath the surface our passions are alive in all their strength. And, at the hour of death those who are looked upon as loaded with spiritual riches find their hands empty of good works, this self-love, this paltry ambition, this secret pride, have robbed or spoiled all. This is the leaven which sooner or later corrupts the whole mass, the worm which eats into the life of the loftiest oaks. This is the beginning of those stupendous falls which happen from time to time in different ages to afflict the Church and to give to the Faithful a sad but salutary lesson" (Croiset).

The following instruction, given by our divine Lord to the devout Armella, confirms what we have just said of the obstacles that oppose the reign of the Heart of Jesus within us. "On the eve of the Presentation, it seemed to me," she says, "that I was enclosed within the Heart of Jesus with so much glory and liberty that it surpassed all my comprehension. I found myself at large and at my ease. This divine Heart appeared of so vast an extent that a thousand worlds would not have sufficed to fill it. I saw, besides, how those who dwell therein by love enjoy true and entire liberty and a wondrous peace, but on the other hand, I saw that the gate to enter therein was so small and narrow that but very few found entrance. Surprised at this I said, O my love and my all, whence comes it that Your Heart is so large and spacious, that we are so much at large when we are once within, and yet the entrance is so small and narrow? Upon this our Lord gave me to understand that it was because He wished that none but the little, the naked, and the solitary, should find entrance. The little are those, who, with all their heart, abase and humble themselves for the lore of Him. Such as these can enter but others not, for how can anyone who is puffed up with vain glory pass through so small a gate? The naked are those who detach their hearts from all covetousness of the riches and comforts of this life. As for others who are burdened with heavy loads of gold and silver or other things it is impossible that they should be able to pass through so narrow a way unless they first discharge themselves of this burden. The solitary are those who detach their affections from all creatures, for the effect of love is to bind and attach the heart to the object beloved. But it is impossible for two persons, bound and attached to each other, to enter together by a way in which there is barely room for only one.

Practice: If you desire to obtain a true devotion to the Heart of Jesus it is important to ascertain whether you have still some one of these obstacles to overcome. The true means of succeeding in this enquiry is by the daily and constant use of the general examen, which St. Ignatius esteemed and recommended, in some sort, even more than prayer.

To make it well you should follow the method which he has himself traced out and observe these five points.

1. Thank God for the benefits which He has bestowed upon you.
2. Beg of Him to give you grace to know and detest your sins.
3. Examine the thoughts, words, and actions of the present day, going through each hour in succession.
4. Bog pardon for your faults.
5. Make a purpose of amendment and conclude with the Our Father, or any other prayer you may prefer.

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Heart of Jesus, give me grace to know Thee and to know myself.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Twenty-Fifth Day of June

Pictures of the Heart of Jesus.

Whoever loves a friend consoles himself in some sort for his absence by the sight of his portrait. He carries it with him, kisses it tenderly, and often looks at it. This is what the devout Lanspergius advises us to do with regard to pictures of the Heart of Jesus: To keep alive your devotion have nearby some picture of this adorable Heart. Place it in a position in which you may see it frequently, that the sight of it may enkindle in you the fire of divine love. Kiss the picture with the same devotion with which you would kiss the Heart of Jesus Christ. Enter in spirit within this divine Heart. Impress your own heart upon it. Bury your whole soul within it and pray that it may be absorbed in it. Strive to draw into your own heart the spirit which animates that of Jesus, His graces, His virtues, in a word, all the saving power of this sacred Heart, for the Heart of Jesus is an overflowing fountain of every good."

If this were not a salutary practice would the Church teach her children to pay honor to holy images? St. Theresa remarks in her autobiography with that admirable simplicity which is so characteristic of her: "Having but little talent for representing objects to myself, I was extremely fond of pictures. Oh how much those are to be pitied who lose through their own fault the help they might derive from them. It is evident that they have no love for our Lord, for they would be glad if they really loved Him to see His picture just as persons in the world are glad to look on the portraits of those whom they love."

But nothing is better calculated to excite us to this veneration for pictures of the Heart of Jesus than the pleasure which we know it gives Him to see them honored. Hear what St. Margaret Mary says on this subject: "One day, on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, after Holy Communion the Heart of Jesus was represented to me as on a throne formed of fire and flames, shedding rays on every side and brighter than the sun. The wound, which He received upon the Cross, was clearly visible. A crown of thorns encircled this sacred Heart and it was surmounted by a cross. Our divine Savior gave me to understand that those instruments of the Passion signified that the source of all His sufferings had been the boundless love of His Heart for men, that all those torments and insults had been placed before Him, from the first moment of His incarnation, and that the Cross was, so to say, planted in His Heart from that moment, that from that same moment He accepted all the sorrows and humiliations which His sacred humanity was to suffer during the course of His mortal life together with all the outrages to which He was to expose Himself to the end of time, for the love of mankind by dwelling among them in the Blessed Sacrament. My Savior assured me that He took a singular pleasure in seeing the interior sentiments of His Heart honored under the figure of this heart of flesh, in the manner in which it had been represented to me, surrounded with flames, crowned with thorns, and surmounted by a cross, and that He wished that this representation should be publicly exposed in order to touch the insensible hearts of men. He promised me, at the same time, that He would shed in abundance the treasures of graces with which His Heart is filled upon the hearts of those who honored Him, and that wherever this image should be exposed for particular veneration it should draw down upon the spot every kind of blessing."

It is said that the inhabitants of Antioch arrested a violent earthquake by writing the following words over the doors of their houses: Christus nobiscum: state. Cease! Christ is with us! Let us bear upon our heart the image of the Heart of Jesus that in all our temptations we may boldly defy the enemy of our salvation and say to him: Cease! The Heart of Jesus is with me!

Practice: Carry about you a medal or picture of the Heart of Jesus, and place one where you pray. Do your best to have a chapel dedicated to this amiable Heart in your local church.

Ejaculatory Prayer: "Let us go with confidence to this throne of grace, the Heart of Jesus, that we may experience the effects of His mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid." Adeamus ergo cum fiducia ad thronum gratiae, ut misericordiam consequamus, et gratiam inveniamus in auxilio opportuno (Heb. iv. 16).

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Twenty-Fourth Day of June

Devotion of the Saints Towards the Heart of Jesus.

"There is no one so poor as not to have some place to serve him as a dwelling. The very birds, as our Lord tells us, have their nests and the foxes their holes. A Christian alone should not be without a home, a wanderer throughout the world. But where can he make his abode so well as in the Heart of Jesus, a more august, magnificent, and holy dwelling than any monarch’s palace? The saints knew this well and it was here they fixed their abode. St. Bonaventure bore a holy envy towards the lance that opened for us an entrance into this adorable Heart. He said that had he been in its place he would never have quitted it. ‘Would you find me,’ wrote St. Elzear to St. Delphine, ‘seek me in the wound of the side of Jesus Christ; it is the place of my abode.’

"Lanspergius says, ‘Learn to take up your abode in this wound. Do you love repose? It is the bed of the Spouse, besprinkled with roses and lilies. Would you rear your good desires to maturity, and bring to light your good works? It is the nest of the Dove. Do you love recollection? It is the solitary sparrow’s haunt. Do you love tears and sighs? It is here that the meanings of the turtledove are heard. Are you pressed by hunger? You will find here the manna that falls from heaven in the desert. Are you parched with thirst? You will find here the fountain of living water which issues from paradise and pours it’s abundant streams into the hearts of the faithful. Nor need you fear to be badly received. You know too well the endearments which the Son of God lavishes upon those who honor Him. He invites them to repose sweetly upon His Heart, like St. John. He shows them His opened side as to St. Thomas. He gives them to drink from this sacred source’" (Nouet).

"Let us draw near," says St. Bernard, "let us draw near to Jesus. Let us exult and be transported with joy at the remembrance of His Heart. Oh how good, how delightful it is to take up our abode in this Heart! I will adore and praise the name of our Lord in this His Temple, in this Holy of Holies, in this ark of the Covenant, and say with David: I have found a Heart wherewith to pray to my God, and this Heart is no other than that of my King, my brother, and my most loving friend, Jesus.

"Having then found this Heart which is also mine, O most amiable Jesus, I will adore You, my God! Receive my prayers in this sanctuary of propitiation, or rather draw me wholly within this Heart. O Jesus, a thousand times fairer and more amiable than all that is most beauteous upon the earth, wash me yet more from my iniquities. Cleanse me from my sin that I may be able to approach You and be allowed to dwell within Your Heart all the days of my life. For Your Heart has been wounded in order to offer us a secure retreat. Yes, Your Heart has been opened that, delivered from distracting cares, we might dwell therein. Who is there, then, that can refuse to love this Hear, thus wounded for us? Who does not feel his heart bum with love for one by whom he is so much beloved? While we are still bound in the fetters of this body let us make such return as we are able. Let us love and embrace our divine Lord who was wounded for us and pierced by impious executioners in His hands, feet, and side. Let us keep constantly near to Him that our hearts, still so hard and impenitent, may at length be wounded by the darts and bound by the chains of His love."

St. Thomas of Villanova thus develops the text of the royal Prophet: "The sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtledove a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones. As the Son of God has His abode in the bosom of His Father, so the Church has established her nest in the Heart of her beloved, and, entering in by the opening of His sacred side, she reposes there in peace. There she hides her children and shelters them from the storm. This is the Sacred Altar, the inviolable retreat, where the mourning dove secures her young until the time when, opening their wings for flight, they shall clothe this corruptible body with immortality."

Our Lord gave St. Margaret Mary to understand that St. Francis of Assisi was especially united to His Sacred Heart and that he possessed a particular power of obtaining from it the graces which he asked. St. Francis de Sales made the Sacred Heart of Jesus his abode during his life. He would not allow his holy repose to be interrupted by the most important business in which he might be engaged. It would be necessary to give the entire life of St. Gertrude and St. Mechtild if we wished to cite the places in which they speak of the Heart of Jesus.

St. Francis Xavier, and an infinity of other saints whom it would be too long to name, had a singular devotion towards this amiable Heart even before it had made itself known as it has done in our own days to St. Margaret Mary.

Practice: If you cannot go and preach Jesus Christ in distant countries as a missionary, you can at least make Him known to the hearts of your friends. This is your mission. You are under an obligation to look to the instruction of your household. God will demand of you an account of their souls. These functions, though less brilliant, are not the less meritorious.

Ejaculatory Prayer: Happy inhabitants of heaven who see the Heart of Jesus unveiled and love it with an undivided and constant love, obtain for me the grace to know and love it like yourselves for ever.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Twenty-Third Day of June

Practice in Honor of the Heart of Jesus.

God bestows His graces upon us every moment of our lives in consideration of the merits and blood of His Son, and thus places us in the way of gaining boundless treasures for eternity. But we must acknowledge that every day we incur through our negligence inconceivable losses. The greater number of our actions lose their value from want of a right intention. It is time to rouse ourselves from this lethargy. And the best way of rendering our actions as meritorious towards our salvation and as glorious to God as possible, is to make use of the following practice taught us by Blosius. "It consists," he tells us, "in offering our good works and all our actions to the most sweet and sacred Heart of Jesus that they may be purified by this divine Heart, for it is so full of love and tenderness towards us that it is ever ready to complete and perfect the good with which it has itself inspired us." Saint Margaret Mary gave the same advice to a person who had consulted her: "You are grieved at leading a listless life in the service of God. What He seems to suggest to me to say to you in reply is this: do not be disturbed. To satisfy Him on this point you have but to unite yourself in all your actions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This will serve before beginning by way of disposition and at the end by way of satisfaction. If, for example, you find that you can do nothing in prayer, content yourself with offering the prayer which our divine Savior is ever making in our behalf in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar. Offer the ardor of His love in reparation for your tepidity and say as you perform each action: "My God, I wish to do or to suffer this, in union with the Sacred Heart of Thy divine Son and according to His holy intentions, which I offer to Thee in reparation for all that is impure and imperfect in my own." In a word, this amiable Heart will supply for all that may be wanting on your part, for it will love God for you and you will love Him in it and by it.

One day as St. Gertrude was endeavoring to pray with all the attention in her power, she could not avoid, through human weakness, several distractions. Greatly afflicted at this she said within herself: Alas, what fruit can I hope for from such a prayer, made with so distracted a heart? Upon which our Blessed Lord, to console her, presented to her His Heart and said to her: "Behold my Heart, the delight of the Blessed Trinity. I present it to you that you may make use of it to supply for all that is wanting in you. Recommend all your actions to it with confidence—it will render them perfect in my eyes. My Heart shall be ever ready to serve you and will supply for your negligence."

Profit by this instruction. Whatever you love; whenever you pray, labor, or endure any suffering; love, pray, labor, suffer in union with the affections, prayers, labors, and sufferings of the Heart of Jesus. And still more, when you have fallen into any fault, after humbling yourself for it, go seek in the Heart of Jesus the virtue which is contrary to your natural inclination, whether it be humility, charity, resignation, or bearing with your neighbor’s defects, and offer it to the eternal Father in expiation for your faults. It is a short and easy means of paying your debts as soon as you have contracted them and of acquiring an immense treasure of merits. It was the habitual practice of the Saint Margaret Mary. Like her, address yourself with simplicity to the Heart of Jesus and say to Him after your falls: "You see, O Lord, the evil which I have done. Pay, if you please, for your poor slave." At night lay up within this adorable Heart all the actions of the day that it may purify whatever it finds imperfect in them.

Ejaculatory Prayer: I sleep; but Thy Heart, which Thou permitest me to call mine watches for me, over me, and within me.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Twenty-Second Day of June

Complaints of the Heart of Jesus.

Let us give ear to the complaints which the Heart of Jesus deigns to make to us. They are a fresh proof of His love, for He complains, only because He loves, and He loves us solely for our happiness without any consideration of His own, which is neither lessened by our loss nor increased by our salvation. He asks: "What more ought I to have done for you, O Christian people, and have not done it? In what have I grieved you? Answer me. I have set you apart from amongst the nations which I left seated in darkness and in the shadow of everlasting death to impart to you the incomparable gift of the true faith, and you have rendered it fruitless by your indifference. You were a beautiful vine which I had planted with my own hands, and you have borne me but bitter fruit, for, in my thirst you gave me vinegar to drink. And by your ingratitude and coldness, much more than by the point of the lance, you have pierced your Savior’s side. I shed for you all my blood, even to the last drop, and what value have you set upon it? What profit have you derived from it? I called you to my kingdom and my inheritance and you have given me a reed for my scepter and a crown of thorns for my diadem by the inconstancy of your heart and by the pride and haughtiness of your behavior. In taking upon me your nature I have raised you to a participation of my divinity, and you nailed me to the cross by your offences."

"I fed you, not with the manna which your fathers ate and which did not preserve them from death, but with that bread from heaven which contains in itself eternal life, and you have torn my mystical body by denying even this ineffable benefit which is the admiration of angels. O all ye, then, that pass by the way of life, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to that which my Heart feels at such ingratitude."

Our divine Savior complains, again, to His faithful servant Margaret Mary in a manner no less moving; "Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to wasting and consuming itself, to testify to them its love. And nevertheless I receive, from the greater part but ingratitude in return, through the neglect, irreverence, sacrileges, and coldness which they show towards me in my sacrament of love. And what afflicts me still more is, that I meet with this treatment from hearts which are specially consecrated to me." Another time disclosing to her His Heart all torn and pierced with wounds: "Behold the wounds which I receive from my chosen people. Others are satisfied with wounding my body, but these assail my Heart, that Heart which has never ceased to love them."

Alas, are we not of the number of these ungrateful souls? Is it not of us that Jesus complains; of us who have been enlisted in His service by holy baptism and are fed so often with His sacred Body; of us, who are consecrated, perhaps, to His Heart in some association charged with the task of repairing so many outrages and who are nevertheless so cold, so indifferent, towards this divine Heart? Alas with what truth may He not say to us by the mouth of the royal Prophet: "If my enemy had reviled me, I would verily have borne with it, but to be despised and abandoned by my friends, my children, the chosen objects of my love!" Si inimicus maledixisset mihi, sustinuissem utique (Ps. liv. 13).

"My Heart," adds our divine Master to His faithful servant, "may truly complain in this mystery (of the Blessed Sacrament) as it did upon the Cross, that it is exposed to shame and grief without consolation. In this abandonment it seeks for consolation from you, and from a chosen number of fervent souls. I look to you to repair by your homage those injuries which are inflicted on me." Ah, if today we hear the voice of His complaints and sorrows, let us not harden our hearts. How happy should we be, if the Heart of Jesus itself were pleased to choose us, as He chose His Apostles, to make Him some amends, and to console Him for the abandonment in which He is left by so many ungrateful hearts! Let us redouble our fidelity, then, in our practices of devotion towards this amiable Heart, and let us protest to Him that with the help of His grace we will never abandon Him.

Practice: It is in prayer that you will learn the excess of the love of Jesus for you and the ingratitude with which you have repaid it. This knowledge will awaken in you regret and love, and will enable you to undertake all for Jesus. Never pass a single day, then, without making at least a quarter of an hour’s prayer. It is one of the most powerful means of salvation, so that St. Theresa does not hesitate to say that she will answer for the perseverance of those who are faithful in making their prayer, and that on the contrary, those who neglect this holy exercise have no need of devils to drag them down to hell, for they throw themselves into it of their own accord. In this she advances nothing beyond the truth, for Holy Scripture tells us that the earth is desolate and filled with woe because there is no one who considers or enters into his own heart.

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Heart of Jesus, by a prodigy of Thy grace, inflame even my heart, hitherto so ungrateful, with the fire of Thy love.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Twenty-First Day of June

Ingratitude of Men Towards the Heart of Jesus.

"Although the Heart of Jesus is no longer actually wounded, yet He has ever endured strange indignities in His person since the institution of the Sacrament of His love. Can any greater indignity be imagined than the outrages which the Jew, the heretic, the Atheist, have made Him suffer during so many ages, and will continue to make Him suffer until the end of time" (Nouet)?

But, perhaps, even more deplorable still, is the conduct of those who bear the name of Christians, and who still retain some Christian practices. Jesus condescends to dwell amongst men and to enter even into their hearts. He even goes so far as to express Himself, (O incomprehensible excess of love!) in those astounding words: "My delights are to he with the children of men" Deliciae meos esse cum filiis hominum (Proy. viii. 31). But, O Lord, how are You treated by ungrateful men? You deign to reside in the midst of them and they refuse You even a decent dwelling. While they are living in palaces they have the effrontery to lodge You in a hovel. "Do you see," said the holy king David with bitterness of heart to the Prophet Nathan, "that I dwell in a house of cedar, and the ark of God is lodged within skins" (2 Kings vii. 2)? O true ark of the New Covenant, of whom the ancient ark was but a feeble figure, O Lord Jesus, who is there, now-a-days who is disturbed amidst the wealth that surrounds him at the thought of the poverty which attends You in our churches? Even this would seem but little to You if You but found at least in our hearts a ready and respectful welcome in the absence of all splendor in our material temples. But no, day and night in our sanctuaries You art waiting for and calling upon men, while days, nights, and weeks pass without their answering Your call. Or if at times they make a brief visit, it is but custom and human respect that brings them. They are present, indeed, before You in body but how far from You are their hearts! You abide in Your sacrament of love, ever occupied with the thought of them, ever as a victim in the presence of Your Father, offering to Him Your wounds for them, and they, while in Your presence, think of nothing less than of adoring You. Their very attitude shows so little respect that heretics themselves, who deny Your real presence, reproach them with it. At the time of Holy Communion during Mass, Jesus offers Himself to them. They hear those words: "Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him who takes away the sin of the world!" Come all to Him! Jesus Himself invites them in those admirable words: "Eat friends! and drink, and be inebriated with the torrents of my delights, my dearly beloved" (Cant. v. 1). "Come eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you" (Prov. ix. 6). But all go their way as though they had no wounds to heal, no stains to efface. They reply that others have invited them, that they have other friends to serve. Be astonished, O you heavens, at the sight of this prodigy of ingratitude! O Christians! O senseless and perverse nation! Is this the return you make to your Lord and God?"

O Jesus, so tender, so generous, so full of love for us, could we inflict a more cruel wound on Your Divine Heart? Ah, I hear You say to me, "I looked for one of those whom I love, to compassionate my sorrow, but there was none; and for one that would comfort me, and I found none" Sustinui qui simul contristaretur, et non fuit; et qui consolaretur, et non inveni (Ps. lxviii. 21). Non est qui consoletur eum ex omnibus charis ejus (Lam. i. 2).

Our Lord Himself testified to St. Margaret Mary how much He felt this indifference "I suffer a burning thirst to be honored and loved by men in the Blessed Sacrament, and yet I find scarcely anyone who exerts himself, according to my desire, to allay my thirst by making me any return."

Practice: The benefits of God are like a river that flows unceasingly, watering your soul, that city which God has chosen for Himself. In this world, you can discover but the smallest part of these precious gifts, and as gratitude is one of the distinctive characteristics of devotion to the Sacred Heart, you should never allow a single day to pass without recalling to mind the benefits which you have received from God: your creation, preservation, vocation to the true faith, a Christian education, the sacraments, particular graces, graces decisive for salvation, etc. Nay, more, thank God for all the graces with which He would have given you had you been more faithful, and for all those which He has in store for you. Thank Him in behalf of others who, nourished by His favors, either do not think of returning Him thanks for them or make use of them only to offend Him. Gratitude is a necessity felt by noble and generous souls, and the surest means of drawing down fresh blessings, while ingratitude on the contrary, dries up their source.

Ejaculatory Prayer: What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things that He hath rendered to me? Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi? (Ps. cxv. 3). I will take the Heart of His divine Son, and I will offer it to Him with confidence, that I may thus discharge all y obligations.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Twentieth Day of June

Souls Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Love to Meditate on His Passion.

Those burning flames which consumed the Heart of Jesus, those unspeakable sorrows which plunged Him into a sea of bitterness, that immense thirst for our salvation, are prodigies of the love of a God which would surpass all belief and defy all conception, had not our divine Lord given us some striking and palpable proof of them.

To suffer and to die for our friends is the greatest proof of love. Majorem hac dilectionem nemo habet quam ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis (St. John xv. 13). This proof the Heart of Jesus has given us, or no, it is not for His friends but for His enemies—for those who put Him to death that He dies. And who of us is there, whom He could have loved, says St. Augustine, if He had not loved His enemies? He loved us while we were His enemies in order to make us worthy of being called His friends. Our Blessed Savior desires that we should never lose sight of this inconceivable proof of love: the sufferings and death which He endured for us. It is for this that He would renew the remembrance of it every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is impossible to be devoted to His Heart without taking pleasure in meditating on the means, so inconceivable and so worthy of our gratitude, invented by that divine Heart in the excess of its love, in order to give a proof of this love to the insensible hearts of men.

It is not only, then, in the garden of Olives, but in the hands of the soldiers, in the streets of Jerusalem, before Annas, Caiphas, and Herod, at the pillar, in the Praetorium, upon Calvary, that hearts devoted to the Heart of Jesus should follow their divine Savior and unite themselves to His sorrows which finished only with His life.

As regards the fruit and merits of such meditation, all the saints agree in extolling them with one voice. St. Austin tells us that a single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus Christ, is of more value than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and fasting for a year upon bread and water. Why is the number of those who love Jesus Christ so small asks St. Alphonsus Liguori. Because there are so few who meditate on the pains which He endured for us. Whoever meditates on them frequently cannot live without loving Jesus Christ. He will feel himself so constrained by His love that it will not be possible for him to refuse to love a God who has shown such love and suffered so much, only that He might be loved. Our Lord Himself said to Blessed Veronica of the order of St. Augustine, "I would have all men honor my Passion by a sincere sorrow and lively compassion for my sufferings. Should they but shed a single tear, they may be sure that they have done a great deal, for the tongue of man cannot express the joy which is given me by this single tear." The angels revealed to Blessed Jane of the Cross that the divine Majesty took such pleasure in the tears shed over the Passion of Jesus Christ, that they have a value in His sight equal to that of shedding our blood or of suffering the greatest pains.

Our Lord said one day to St. Angela of Foligno: "Whoever wishes to find grace should never turn away his eyes from the Cross, in whatever state he is, whether of sorrow or joy. Those who employ themselves in meditating on my Passion and death, the source of life and salvation, are my true children. Others are my children only in name."

The same saint, having been favored with an apparition of Jesus Christ crucified, heard Him pronounce upon those who compassionate His sufferings and love to take part in them these consoling benedictions: "Blessed of my Father are you, who by compassionating my pains, sharing in my tribulations, and walking in my footsteps, have merited to wash your robes in my precious blood. Blessed are you, who compassionating my immense sufferings and the death which I endured to rescue you from eternal torments, to make satisfaction for you and to work your redemption, have been found worthy to share my poverty, humiliation and sufferings. Blessed are you who faithfully cherish the remembrance of my Passion, the greatest miracle of all ages, the salvation and life of those who were lost, the only refuge of sinners; for you shall share in my resurrection and in the kingdom and glory which are the reward of my sufferings, and shall be my heirs through all eternity. Blessed are you of my Father and the Holy Spirit. Blessed are you with that blessing which I shall myself give on the day of my justice, for instead of rejecting me like my persecutors when I came into my own kingdom, by your lively sense of my abandonment, you gave me an asylum in your hearts. Seeing me tormented with hunger and thirst, pierced with nails, agonizing and dying upon the cross, you would be my comforters and associates, fulfilling thus the works of true mercy. Therefore you shall hear on the terrible day, those words so full of joy for you: ‘Come, you blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom predated for you from the foundation of the world.’ Your title is incontestable, for I was hungry, and you gave me the bread of compassion to eat."

Practice: The Blessed Virgin, according to a pious tradition, never passed a day without visiting the spots sprinkled by the blood of her divine Son. The Apostles, following her example, and after them the Faithful of every age, hastened to traverse this way of sorrows.

The Way of the Cross was established in order to supply, in some manner, the place of this pious pilgrimage. The Sovereign Pontiff enriched it with the most abundant indulgences. Benedict XIV assures us that it is the most powerful means of converting sinners, reviving the tepid, and sanctifying the just. Contrive, then, to practice this holy exercise from time to time, especially at the season at which the Church invites us to meditate on the sufferings of our Lord. Or, if it is not possible to do this where the stations are erected, then meditate on the passion of Jesus Christ in the depths of your heart.

Ejaculatory Prayer: Never will I forget the sufferings of my God. My heart shall preserve a continual remembrance of them, and my soul shall languish with amazement and gratitude. Memoria memor ero, et tabescet in me anima mea (Lament, iii. 20).

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.