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.

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