Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Twenty-First Day of June

Ingratitude of Men Towards the Heart of Jesus.

"Although the Heart of Jesus is no longer actually wounded, yet He has ever endured strange indignities in His person since the institution of the Sacrament of His love. Can any greater indignity be imagined than the outrages which the Jew, the heretic, the Atheist, have made Him suffer during so many ages, and will continue to make Him suffer until the end of time" (Nouet)?

But, perhaps, even more deplorable still, is the conduct of those who bear the name of Christians, and who still retain some Christian practices. Jesus condescends to dwell amongst men and to enter even into their hearts. He even goes so far as to express Himself, (O incomprehensible excess of love!) in those astounding words: "My delights are to he with the children of men" Deliciae meos esse cum filiis hominum (Proy. viii. 31). But, O Lord, how are You treated by ungrateful men? You deign to reside in the midst of them and they refuse You even a decent dwelling. While they are living in palaces they have the effrontery to lodge You in a hovel. "Do you see," said the holy king David with bitterness of heart to the Prophet Nathan, "that I dwell in a house of cedar, and the ark of God is lodged within skins" (2 Kings vii. 2)? O true ark of the New Covenant, of whom the ancient ark was but a feeble figure, O Lord Jesus, who is there, now-a-days who is disturbed amidst the wealth that surrounds him at the thought of the poverty which attends You in our churches? Even this would seem but little to You if You but found at least in our hearts a ready and respectful welcome in the absence of all splendor in our material temples. But no, day and night in our sanctuaries You art waiting for and calling upon men, while days, nights, and weeks pass without their answering Your call. Or if at times they make a brief visit, it is but custom and human respect that brings them. They are present, indeed, before You in body but how far from You are their hearts! You abide in Your sacrament of love, ever occupied with the thought of them, ever as a victim in the presence of Your Father, offering to Him Your wounds for them, and they, while in Your presence, think of nothing less than of adoring You. Their very attitude shows so little respect that heretics themselves, who deny Your real presence, reproach them with it. At the time of Holy Communion during Mass, Jesus offers Himself to them. They hear those words: "Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him who takes away the sin of the world!" Come all to Him! Jesus Himself invites them in those admirable words: "Eat friends! and drink, and be inebriated with the torrents of my delights, my dearly beloved" (Cant. v. 1). "Come eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you" (Prov. ix. 6). But all go their way as though they had no wounds to heal, no stains to efface. They reply that others have invited them, that they have other friends to serve. Be astonished, O you heavens, at the sight of this prodigy of ingratitude! O Christians! O senseless and perverse nation! Is this the return you make to your Lord and God?"

O Jesus, so tender, so generous, so full of love for us, could we inflict a more cruel wound on Your Divine Heart? Ah, I hear You say to me, "I looked for one of those whom I love, to compassionate my sorrow, but there was none; and for one that would comfort me, and I found none" Sustinui qui simul contristaretur, et non fuit; et qui consolaretur, et non inveni (Ps. lxviii. 21). Non est qui consoletur eum ex omnibus charis ejus (Lam. i. 2).

Our Lord Himself testified to St. Margaret Mary how much He felt this indifference "I suffer a burning thirst to be honored and loved by men in the Blessed Sacrament, and yet I find scarcely anyone who exerts himself, according to my desire, to allay my thirst by making me any return."

Practice: The benefits of God are like a river that flows unceasingly, watering your soul, that city which God has chosen for Himself. In this world, you can discover but the smallest part of these precious gifts, and as gratitude is one of the distinctive characteristics of devotion to the Sacred Heart, you should never allow a single day to pass without recalling to mind the benefits which you have received from God: your creation, preservation, vocation to the true faith, a Christian education, the sacraments, particular graces, graces decisive for salvation, etc. Nay, more, thank God for all the graces with which He would have given you had you been more faithful, and for all those which He has in store for you. Thank Him in behalf of others who, nourished by His favors, either do not think of returning Him thanks for them or make use of them only to offend Him. Gratitude is a necessity felt by noble and generous souls, and the surest means of drawing down fresh blessings, while ingratitude on the contrary, dries up their source.

Ejaculatory Prayer: What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things that He hath rendered to me? Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi? (Ps. cxv. 3). I will take the Heart of His divine Son, and I will offer it to Him with confidence, that I may thus discharge all y obligations.

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

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