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.

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