Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Fourth Day of June

Object and End of the Devotion to the Heart of Jesus; Points of Difference and Resemblance in this Devotion and That of the Blessed Sacrament.

The devotion to the Heart of Jesus, is an exercise of religion, vrhich has for its object the adorable Heart of Jesus Christ, burning with love for men, and outraged by their ingratitude.

It is easy to see that this devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus does not merely consist in loving and honoring by a peculiar worship that heart of flesh, like our own, which forms part of the body of Jesus Christ. The object and principal motive of this devotion are, as has been already said, the unbounded love of Jesus Christ for men; and because, in our exercises of devotion, even in those which are themselves the most spiritual, we require some sensible object to remind us of them, and facilitate their practice, Jesus Christ Himself has presented to us His Heart, as an object the most capable of recalling to our memory the love which induced Him to sacrifice Himself for us, and to remain with us even to the end of the world in the adorable Eucharist. As the heart of man is, in some sort, the source and seat of love, it is with reason that we attribute to it the most tender sentiments of tlie soul. Jesus Christ has a Heart; and if His precious Body and Blood deserve our adoration, who will not allow that His Sacred Heart has still stronger claims upon our homage?

The end which is proposed in the worship rendered to this divine Heart is,

1. To adjnowledge and honor, as far as is in our power, by frequent acts of adoration, by a return of love, by a boundless gratitude and devotion, the infinite love of the Heart of Jesus for men, especially in the adorable Eucharist, in which He is so little known, or at least so little loved even by those by whom He is known.

2. To repair, in every possible manner, the indignities and outrages to which His love exposed Him during the course of His mortal life, and still exposes Him every day in the Blessed Sacrament.

The Heart of Jesus burning with love for us is, then, the object of this devotion; reparation for the contempt shown towards this love, especially in the Blessed Eucharist, is the end; a most ardent love for our Blessed Savior, and numberless graces, will be the fruit and reward.

The devotion to the Heart of Jesus differs from the devotion to His Sacred Body in the Blessed Eucharist; the one has for its object the Heart of Jesus, without any particular reference to His adorable Body; the other the Body of Jesus Christ under the sacramental species, without any special reference to His Heart. In the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the motive is to honor the sacred flesh of Jesus Christ, united with the Word, and by reason of that union truly worthy of the adoration of angels and men. In the devotion to the Sacred Heart, the essential motive is to honor the Heart of Jesus united to the Divinity, and especially to acknowledge the love with which it burns for men, and to make reparation to it for all that it has suffered, and for all that it is willing to suffer daily in His sacrament of love, the most marvelous invention that has ever issued from His divine Heart.

We see, then, that the devotion to the Heart of Jesus, and that to the Blessed Sacrament, though differing in their object, are intimately united; and that the devotion to the Sacred Heart, so far from destroying the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, or weakening it by dividing our homage, embellishes and perfects it. Oh! how rich a treasure we have in the heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! If we do not avail ourselves of it, it is because we do not know how to turn it to account.

Our divine Lord appeared to St. Mechtild, and commanded her to love His Sacred Heart in the Blessed Sacrament, and to honor it to the best of her power; and at the same time He gave it to her as a pledge of His love, and as a place of refuge in life and death. From that moment the saint was penetrated with an extraordinary devotion for the Sacred Heart, and received so many graces from it that she was wont to say, "Were I to write down all the graces which I have received from the most amiable Heart of Jesus, I should write a book larger than the Breviary."

Practice: It is not only a pious practice, but it is a duty, to offer our actions every day to God, for He gave us our being only that we might serve Him. Be careful, then, to do so; but in order to make your actions still more meritorious, offer them through the Heart of Jesus, somewhat in the following manner:

My God! I offer Thee all my actions in union with the merits of the Heart of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin, and of all the saints, and in union with all the good, in opposition to all the evil, which has been, or ever will be done.

Or with St. Mechtild, who was taught the following manner by our Blessed Savior Himself:

Most loving Jesus! to Thee I address the first sigh that issues this day from my heart; deign to accept all my actions, that they may be perfected and purified in Thy most gentle Heart, and thus offered, in union with Thy merits, in eternal praise to Thy Heavenly Father.

Ejaculatory Prayer: The sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself, where she may lay her young ones; Thy Heart, O Jesus, shall be my place of refuge. Passer invenit sibi domum, et turtur nidum sibi, ubi ponat pullos suos; cor tuum, Domine, Rex meus et Deus meus.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

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