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.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Nineteenth Day of June

Of the Agony of the Heart of Jesus in the Garden of Olives.

One day while St. Margaret Mary was absorbed in meditation on the sadness and agony of our Lord in the Garden of Olives, our Divine Master said to her; "It was here that my interior sufferings were greater than in any other part of my Passion, for I saw myself wholly abandoned by heaven and earth and loaded with all the sins of mankind. I appeared thus before the sanctity of God, who, without regard to my innocence, punished me in His fury, making me drain the chalice which was charged with all the gall and bitterness of His just indignation; as if He had forgotten the name of Father, that He might sacrifice me to His wrath. No creature can understand the greatness of the torments, which I endured at that time for mankind."

In the next place, compassion for His own sufferings, and for those of the whole human race, combined with this terrible view of His Father's wrath, to fill the Heart of Jesus with agony.

The third suffering of the Heart of Jesus was His compassion for Himself. The anticipation of evils is ordinarily more painful than the endurance of the evils themselves. Now Jesus Christ, during His agony, allowed all the torments of His Passion to fall together upon Him and present themselves to His mind with all the circumstances which made them so full of sorrow and ignominy, He would give Himself a foretaste of all their bitterness, and bear them in His Heart, before actually enduring them in His body. The nails, the cords, the cross, the rods, the thorns, the gall, the vinegar, the spittle, the blows, the purple robe, the scepter of scorn, the insults of His enemies, the abandonment of His friends, the treachery of one of His Apostles, the denial of the other—He foresaw all, He accepted all, during that painful and sorrowful agony.

The fourth suffering of the Heart of Jesus was His compassion for mankind, whom He loved with a sovereign love. "He did not confine Himself to deploring their loss in general. He felt for the evils of each one of that vast multitude, and grieved for their sins, not indiscriminately and in a mass, but individually and in detail, so that there was no sin that ever was or ever will be committed, mortal or venial, which did not contribute in its measure, to rend the Heart of our Lord" (St Angela of Foligno). Whoever we are, just or sinners, we all contributed to cast our share of bitterness into this compassionate Heart; we all caused Him this cruel agony. We should count then, the vast multitude of men who have ever lived or who ever shall live to the end of time, measure the number and frightful enormity of their crimes, the unbounded love for souls which burned in this Heart, the ardent desire which urged it to save them all, if we would form an idea of the anguish of the agony of this divine Heart.

To this sight of the loss of so many souls, and of their ingratitude, must be added all the sufferings, all the physical and moral trials of the human race, which cast themselves into this ocean of bitterness and which our divine Lord was pleased to endure by compassion in His Sacred Heart, in order that we might be able to say truly with the Apostle, "We have not a High Priest who is unable to compassionate our infirmities."

Such are the incomprehensible sorrows which encompass on every side and rend in pieces the Heart of Jesus. Thus He exclaims: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death. My Father, if it he possible, let this chalice pass from me!" You see Him abandoned by His Father, given over to fear and sadness, and reduced to such a state, that a sweat of blood streams from His Sacred Body and runs even to the ground, forced from Him by the violence of His sorrow and love before the executioners, the nails, the thorns, or the scourges have done their work. Alas! it is because the Heart of Jesus suffers almost as much here as upon the cross; it is because He would be the model, the refuge, and the consolation of all afflicted hearts. The Jews, who witnessed the tears shed by Jesus over the grave of Lazarus, exclaimed in admiration; "Behold, how He loved him!" Ecce quomodo amabat eum (St. John, xi. 36). What should you, then, say or think, O Christian soul, at the sight not merely of the tears, but of the blood which Jesus sheds today in order to prove to you His love?

Draw near, then, to your agonizing Savior. Compare, if you have the courage, your pains with those which transpierce His Heart, and beg of the Eternal Father to allow you, all unworthy as you are, to take the place of the angel sent by Him to console Him, to stay beside Him, to watch with Him, as He invites you to do Himself: Sustinete hic, et vigilate mecum (St. Mark, xiv. 34).
Patience and resignation under your sufferings are the consolation, which the afflicted Heart of Jesus looks for at your hands.

Practice: When you are preparing for confession, beseech the Heart of Jesus to deign to receive your heart within His own, that you may have some share of the bitter sorrow which He felt for those sins of which you are going to accuse yourself, and which were present to Him during His sorrowful agony.

Ejaculatory Prayer: By Thy Heart, O Jesus, pierced with sorrow, I beg Thee to pierce mine with regret for all its sins.

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

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Eighteenth Day of June

Of the Agony of the Heart of Jesus in the Garden of Olives.

Though the whole life of our Lord was a cross and continual martyrdom, from His constantly having before His mind the prospect of all that He was to suffer for mankind, yet it may be truly said, that the most painful moment of this life of bitterness was that in which He allowed all those evils to press together upon His Heart, and endured their full weight and suffering during His three hours agony in the Garden of Olives. It is there that souls, who are devoted to this Divine Heart, should repair to contemplate Him every day and to measure the full extent of His love. This is the time of the martyrdom of His divine Heart. The physical sufferings of His Passion acted, in some sort as an alleviation to His sorrow of Heart and as a satisfaction to His love, but here He suffers without relief and without consolation. He refuses His soul every thought that might give Him comfort.

Let us consider, then, what were His sufferings during that cruel agony.

The first suffering of the Heart of Jesus was His compassion for His Father. Deus charitas est "God is charity" (1 John iv. 8), says the Apostle whom Jesus loved. The definition is worthy of St. John. It is worthy of the Heart of Jesus from whence he drew it as he reclined upon the breast of his divine Master. This God of love has loved us with an everlasting love. From all eternity we have occupied His thoughts and designs of mercy. In charitate perpetua dilexi te (Jer. xxxi. 3). When man had forfeited by sin all those gifts which His goodness had destined for him, God, in a still greater excess of liberality, loved him so far as to give him His only-begotten Son, the object of His complacency and affection, and to deliver up this divine Son to the most painful and ignominious death in order to save sinful man. Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium unigenitum daret (St. John iii. 16). But the world ignored this incomprehensible love. It would not believe it. It lost all remembrance of it.

Indeed, who is there that meditates on this wondrous prodigy of love, which ravishes the angels and saints of heaven with astonishment? Who is there that tries to fathom its depths? Who is there that shows his gratitude for it, as far as it is in the power of any creature to be grateful for so unspeakable a gift?

As no one is so truly a father as God, so it may be said, never did Son feel for the most tenderly loved father so deep a love as that of the Son of God for His Eternal Father. In His agony, then, the Heart of Jesus compassionated, beyond all expression, this incomprehensible love of His Father, outraged by the ingratitude and innumerable crimes with which mankind have repaid it.

The second suffering of the Heart of Jesus, was His compassion for the sorrows of His Mother. To understand what Mary suffered during the sorrowful passion of her divine Son, we should have to penetrate the secrets of her Heart. This Heart was gifted with a power of feeling so noble, so deep, so excellent, that no other mother’s heart can bear comparison with it. She alone could say with truth that the outrages heaped upon her divine Son rebounded upon her heart. She alone felt all the bitterness of the scorn, the insults, the blasphemies directed against Jesus. She heard the sighs, the groans, the last words of her Son. She saw Him abandoned by His Father, stretched upon the ground, nailed to the cross, and expiring in the most cruel agony without being able to wipe away the tears which flowed from His eyes, to staunch the blood which streamed from His wounds, or to render Him any of those sad offices which might soothe His last sufferings, above all, without being able to pout the least comfort into His afflicted Heart. As she looked on, she spoke only by her silence and her tears: Stabat Mater dolorosa juxta crucem lacrymosa, dum pendebat Filius.

What a martyrdom it is to see those whom we love suffering, and still more to see them suffering on our account! Thus the unspeakable sorrows of Mary added to the sorrows of her divine Son. He made them His own, and bore them in His own Heart, by His compassion for her, during His agony.

Measure then, if you can, the weight of these sorrows which were endured for you. Beg of the Heart of Jesus to pour into your heart one drop from that sea of bitterness which encompasses and penetrates His own, that the sense of the sorrows which He endures may give you generosity to suffer and undertake everything in order to make some return to so much love.

Practice: Among the different practices, which our divine Lord Himself prescribed to St. Margaret Mary in honor of His Sacred Heart, He taught her that which is now known under the name of the Holy Hour: "I beg of you to spend in prayer each Thursday night, from eleven o’clock until midnight, that you may share with me the sorrow which I experienced in my agony, in order to appease my anger against sinners and to sweeten in some manner the bitterness which I felt at that time at being abandoned by them, and which forced me to reproach them with not being able to watch with me one hour." If age, health, or the wishes of your superiors do not allow your adopting this salutary practice, you cannot at least excuse yourself from forming the intention and from offering to our Lord every Thursday evening, in place of the prayer which you cannot make yourself, the prayers of so many holy souls who are faithful to this practice. And you may pray your good angel to take your place near the Heart of Jesus.

Ejaculatory Prayer: Oh! who will give me to enter into the interior of Thy Heart, O Jesus!

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Seventeenth Day of June

The Heart of Jesus Is an Unfailing Remedy Against Every Malady of Our Souls, Whatever May Be Their Disposition.

The Heart of Jesus is an abyss of wisdom. It is the fuhiess of every good. You will find in it a sure remedy for all the evils of your soul. Above all, it is an abyss of love in which we should lose every other love, especially the love of self, with its evil fruits, human respect, the desire of raising ourselves, and the love of our own satisfaction. It is by burying these inclinations in this abyss of divine love, that you will find every assistance you may require, according to the different states of your soul.

"Are you in an abyss of aridity and helplessness? Go plunge yourself into the Heart of Jesus Christ, that abyss of power and love. But do not be too eager to taste the sweetness of that love, except when it shall please Him to impart it to you.

"Are you in an abyss of privation and desolation? This Divine Heart is an abyss of every consolation in which we must lose ourselves, though without desiring to feel its sweetness.

"Are you in an abyss of poverty, and stripped of everything? Plunge yourself into the Heart of Jesus; it is filled with treasures, and will enrich you, if you leave it to do with you as it pleases.

"Are you in an abyss of weakness and miseries? Go to the Heart of Jesus; it is an abyss of mercy and strength, and will raise you up and strengthen you.

"Do you feel within yourself an abyss of pride and self-esteem? Bury it at once in the profound self-annihilation of the Heart of Jesus; This humble Heart is an abyss of humility.

"Are you in an abyss of ignorance and darkness? The Heart of Jesus is an abyss of knowledge and light. Learn, above all things, to love it, and never do anything but what it wishes of you.

"Are you in an abyss of infidelity and inconstancy? The Heart of Jesus is an abyss of constancy and fidelity. Plunge yourself therein and you will find in it a love that loves us constantly and constantly does us good.

"Do you find yourself buried, as it were, in death? Go to the Heart of Jesus. You will find there an abyss of life, a new life, in which, from henceforth, you will see but with the eyes of Jesus Christ, act only by His movements, speak only with His tongue, and love only with His Heart.

"Do you find yourself in an abyss of ingratitude? the Heart of Jesus is an abyss of thankfulness. Draw from its depths all that you would fain offer to God, for all the blessings you have received, and beg of Jesus to supply for you out of His abundance.

"Do you find yourself in an abyss of agitation, impatience, and anger? Go to the Heart of Jesus. It is an abyss of gentleness.

"Are you in an abyss of dissipntion and distraction? You will find in the Heart of Jesus an abyss of recollection and fervor which will supply for all your deficiencies and fix your heart and imagination by uniting them to Him.

"Are you plunged in an abyss of sadness? Bury this sadness itself in the Heart of Jesus, for it is an abyss of heavenly joy and the treasure of delight to saints and angels.

"Are you troubled and uneasy? This divine Heart is an abyss of peace, and this peace will be communicated to you.

"When you are in an abyss of bitterness and sufferings, unite them to the abyss of the infinite sufferings of the Heart of Jesus and you will learn from Him to suffer, and to be happy in suffering.

"If you are in an abyss of fear, the Heart of Jesus is an abyss of confidence and love. Abandon yourself to it. In it you will learn that fear should give place to love.

"In fine, on every occasion and under every circumstance, plunge yourself into this abyss of love and charity, and, if possible, never more quit it until, like iron in the furnace, you are penetrated with the fire "with which this Heart bums for God and man" (St. Margaret Mary).

St. Mechtild, while absorbed one day in God, beheld in spirit Charity under the form of a virgin, who dipped a diamond in the Heart of Jesus Christ and frequently repeated the action in order to give her to understand that there is no heart, however hard and impenitent, which the Heart of Jesus will not soften to contrition. Though our hearts should be as hard as the diamond, they will be softened by being steeped in the blood of the spotless Lamb and by being united to the Heart of Jesus.

Practice: Never allow yourself to fall into discouragement however strong may be your natural inclinations or however great your faults. Call to mind immediately that you have at your disposal the merits of the Heart of Jesus to make reparation for them all. Cast yourself into this Heart which is ever open to receive even the greatest sinners and say to Him: Ah, Lord, may the deep abyss of my miseries call upon the abyss of Your mercies, for You have said by the Prophet, that deep calls on deep. Abyssus abyssum invocat (Ps. xli. 8). It would be as impossible for a spark of fire to fall into the sea without being extinguished as for our fault not to be effaced by this means. It is only in hell that there is no longer hope in the Heart of Jesus. As long as we are in this life, He invites and calls us to Him, however ungrateful we may have been.

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Heart of Jesus! Thou shalt be my hope in trouble, and a refreshing shade against the burning heat of my passions. Spes a turbine, umbraculum ab aestu (Is. xxv. 4).

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Sixteenth Day of June

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

How We Should Approach the Heart of Jesus.

Approach the Heart of Jesus, in the first place, in the spirit of penance, that you may bewail your sins, and obtain pardon for them. Adore Him, like the apostle St. Thomas, with profound respect, and say to Him with a contrite and humble heart, "My Lord and my God!" Dominus meus et Deus meus! Suffer me, my only hope, to seek the remedy for my wounds in the wound of Your Sacred Heart. Permit me, too, to place my hand in Your Sacred Side, not to assure myself of the truth of Your resurrection, but to touch Your burning Heart, and to replace my hand, thus warmed in this sacred fire, upon my own poor heart, that I may inflame it with Your powerful love, and consume it with regret at the remembrance of those offences, that forgetfulness, and ingratitude, which have made you sorrowful even to death. "O Heart infinitely holy, and so filled with a sovereign love of purity that You can not endure the smallest stains, stamp upon my heart a fear and horror of the slightest faults. O Heart, that has paid the ransom of us all, enable me to break my bonds, to combat my bad habits, to mortify my senses, and to restore to You by my penance, the glory of which I have robbed Thee" (Nouet).

Be assured that this humble prayer will draw down upon you the compassion of this Divine Heart, for if it is willing to endure that its own creature, this rebellious nothing, this animated dust, should offend and despise it, it is certain that by a generosity without example, the least act of humility is capable of making it forget all its baseness and ingratitude.

"Go, in the second place, in the spirit of confidence, to the Heart of Jesus, as to your place of refuge, and drown all your sadness, your weariness, your troubles, your pains, and uneasiness in this abyss of sweetness and goodness" (Nouet). The greater sinner you are, the stronger should be your hope in the Heart of Jesus. Love alone is never tired of pardoning. Jesus came not for the just, or rather those who think themselves such, but for sinners. It is among them that He loves to be found. He would be called the Friend of sinners. He runs to meet them, and bathes them in His tears. He would have greater joy in heaven at the return of a single sinner than at the perseverance of ninety-nine just. Oh! how pleasing, how honorable to Him is your confidence after your falls. It inflicts, as He Himself told St. Gertrude, a delightful wound upon His Heart.

One Holy Innocents’ Day, finding herself hindered by strange tumultuous thoughts which crossed her mind from preparing herself for Holy Communion, St. Gertrude implored the aid of God and received this answer: "Whoever, on finding himself attacked by any temptation, takes refuge with a firm hope under my protection, is of the number of those of whom I can say: ‘My dove is one, chosen among a thousand; she has wounded my heart with one of her eyes.’ So that were I unable to come to her aid, the desolation which my divine Heart would feel would be so great, that all the joys of heaven could not give it relief." And our Lord added, "This look of my well beloved which pierces my Heart, is the unshaken confidence which she should have in me, and the assurance that I can and will come to her aid in everything. This confidence offers such violence to my mercy that it would be impossible for me to abandon her." St. Gertrude replied, "But since this confidence is so great a blessing, and yet no one can procure it without Your aid, what are those to do who have it not?" Our Lord replied, "It is in the power of everyone to overcome this distrust by calling to mind the words of scripture, and to say with Job, if not with all his heart at least with his lips: ‘Though I should be buried in the depth of hell, my God would deliver me from it; though He should slay me, I should still hope in Him,’ and other similar words."

A great servant of God, whose filial confidence and abandonment of himself into the hands of Providence, formed, so to say, his distinctive characteristic, illumined at death by a still clearer light upon the greatness of the mercy of God, exclaimed: "Would that I might be restored to health, in order that I might live henceforth by confidence alone." *

In the third place, approach the Heart of Jesus in a spirit of recollection and prayer, by withdrawing yourself from the hurry of business. Then will our Lord hide you under the shadow of His protection, and draw near to you in love, and say to your heart, as He said to St. Gertrude: "Keep but me in view, direct all the powers of your soul to me alone, and you shall enjoy the sweetness of my grace." It is the Heart of Jesus that invites you to this repose of solitude and prayer, as He invited His apostles at the close of their labors. Venite seorsum in desertum locum, et requiescite pusillum. Come alone into this retreat, apart from the bustle of the world; and, with the beloved disciple, repose awhile upon the Heart of your Divine Master. Oh! how soon will your strength be repaired; and what deep truths will you learn!

Practice: You have heard a thousand times the great maxim of Jesus; "Learn of me; because I am meek and humble of heart." Discite a me quia mitis sum et humilis corde: but you do not understand as yet all its meaning. Beg of Him earnestly to give you grace to understand it. Meekness and humility are the virtues which He brings forth from the good treasure of His Heart and which He teaches us with the authority of a Master. We are not His true disciples, we cannot be truly devoted to His Heart, unless we are firmly resolved to study and practice them; for the proper character, the soul and substance of all true devotion, is to imitate what we honor. Summa religionis est imitari quod colimus (St. Augustine).

Ejaculatory Prayer: O love of the Heart of Jesus, how little art Thou known! How little art Thou loved! Do Thou make Thyself known and loved!

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

* It would be a service to those that stand in special need of confidence to have the following well-known prayer of St. Claude de la Colombiere.

Act of confidence in God.

My God, I believe so firmly that Thou watchest over all those who hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing whilst we look for everything from Thee, that I am resolved to live henceforth without any anxiety, and to cast all my care upon Thee. In peace in the selfsame I will sleep, and I will rest: For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope (Ps. iv, 9,10). Men may strip me of wealth and honor; sickness may take from me my strength, and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but I will never lose my hope; I will keep it even to the last moment of my life, and all the demons in hell shall try in vain to tear it from me. In peace in the selfsame I will sleep, and I will rest. Others may look for happiness from their riches, or their talents; they may rely upon the innocence of their lives, the rigor of their penance, the number of their good works, or the fervor of their prayers; but, as for me, O Lord, all my confidence shall be my confidence itself. For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope. This confidence has never deceived any one; No man hath hoped in the Lord and hath been confounded (Eccl. i, 11). I am sure, then, that I shall be eternally happy; because I hope firmly to be so, and because it is from Thee, God, that I hope it. In thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be put to confusion (Ps. lxx, 1). I know, alas I I know but too well, that I am frail and changeable; I know the power of temptation against virtues the most firmly based; I have seen the stars of heaven and the pillars of the firmament fall; but not even this can make me fear. As long as I hope, I am safe from every evil; and I am sure of always hoping, because I hope still this unchanging hope. In fine, I am sure that I cannot hope too much in Thee, and that I cannot obtain less than I hope for from Thee. Thus I hope that Thou wilt uphold me in the greatest dangers, protect me against the most violent assaults, and make my weakness triumph over my most formidable enemies. I hope that Thou wilt love me always, and that I shall also love Thee without abating; and, to carry at once my hope as far as it can go, I hope for Thee from Thyself, my Creator! both in time and eternity. Amen.