Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Thirteenth Day of June

Four Desires of the Heart of Jesus.

I find four vivid flames which burnt continually in the Heart of Jesus.

The first is the desire which He expressed to His Apostles, the night of the Last Supper, when He addressed them in these words: "With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer" Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vohiscum antequam patiar (St. Luke, xxii. 15). This shows us with what ardor we should go to the holy Table, to receive the Bread from heaven; we can never desire to receive it as earnestly as He did to give it to us. For it seems as if this adorable mystery was the center of all His actions, and that, when He had accomplished it, He regarded himself as having so happily finished the course of His life, that, after this masterpiece of love, nothing remained for Him but to suffer and die for us.

And this is the second desire, which His Sacred Heart, so insatiable in showing its love for mankind, sufficiently manifested when He said; "I have a baptism, wherewith I am to be baptized and how am I straitened, until it be accomplished" (St. Luke, xii. 50). What was this baptism, but a baptism of blood? The Heart of Jesus regarded the Cross as the altar upon which He was to consummate the sacrifice of propitiation for the redemption of the world, and it was for this reason that He sighed after it, and so eagerly desired it.

The ardor, with which He longed to suffer, was but the effect of a third and still stronger desire, that burning thirst for the salvation of souls, which made Him exclaim in the extremity of His sufferings; "I thirst." O Heart of Jesus, what is this burning thirst which consumes You and makes You droop upon the cross? I burn with the desire of your salvation, your repose, your sanctification, your eternal happiness.

But the fourth and strongest of all His desires was to glorify His Father, and to make Him reign by love in the hearts of men. "I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it he kindled?" Ignem veni mittere in terram, et quid volo nisi ut accendatur? (St. Luke, xii. 49). Such were the holy ardors of the Heart of Jesus; such is the example, upon which all the saints form themselves; such is the fire which warms, bums, and inflames their hearts (Nouet).

They go with an indescribable hunger to the holy Table, like St. Catherine of Genoa, who, at sight of the Sacred Host in the hands of the priest, exclaimed: "Quick, quick, bring me the bread of life!" They desire to suffer, in order that they may become like to Jesus Christ. Thus St. Andrew, on catching sight of the cross which was prepared for him, exclaimed, in transports of joy; "Dear Cross! So long desired, so tenderly beloved, object of my unceasing search, and now at last ready to meet the ardent longing of my soul, I welcome thee with joy." It is the glory of God alone that touches them; to procure it they forget themselves, they take for their maxim the device of St. Ignatius, Ad majorem Dei gloriam: To the greater glory of God. So strongly does their zeal for the salvation of souls bum within them, that, at the prospect of the sufferings and labors which are before them, far from being daunted, they exclaim with St. Francis Xavier; "Yet more, O Lord, yet more!" or with a great servant of God, of our own age, "Oh ! how sad is it to see so many souls, redeemed by the blood of a God, cast themselves into hell with a smile upon their lips, like madmen leaping from some lofty tower! To say the truth, I know of no other sorrow than this, except that which I feel at the thought of my own sins. All else is of the world, and does not deserve a thought."

How far are we from such generous sentiments! How little do we long for the holy Table! How hard does the Cross appear to us! How little are we affected by the salvation of our brethren and the glory of God! O Heart of Jesus, how ardent is Your love for me, and how cold is my heart towards You! Change it, for You have the power and the desire to do so.

Practice: Help Jesus Christ to slake that burning thirst for the salvation of souls, with which He is consumed. They are lost, alas, by thousands, while you are enriched in profusion with every kind of spiritual good. Jesus complains of your indifference for souls which have cost Him so dear; He waits but for your prayer, to allow Himself to be disarmed: "I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land, that I might not destroy it; and I found none" Quaesivi de iis virum qui interponeret sepem, et staret oppositus contra me pro terra, ne dissiparem eam; et non inveni (Ezech. xxii. 30). If you are insensible to this loving complaint, you do not love the Heart of Jesus. Pray, then, for those poor souls; pray, and you will become an excellent preacher, however little you may think it. It was made known to St. Theresa that her prayers alone had converted many thousands of Indians.

Ejaculatory Prayer: O love of the Heart of Jesus, ever burning, and never extinguished, light up Thy flames within my heart! O amor qui semper ardes, et nunquam extingueris, accende me (St. Augustine).

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

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