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.

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