Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Twenty-Fourth Day of June

Devotion of the Saints Towards the Heart of Jesus.

"There is no one so poor as not to have some place to serve him as a dwelling. The very birds, as our Lord tells us, have their nests and the foxes their holes. A Christian alone should not be without a home, a wanderer throughout the world. But where can he make his abode so well as in the Heart of Jesus, a more august, magnificent, and holy dwelling than any monarch’s palace? The saints knew this well and it was here they fixed their abode. St. Bonaventure bore a holy envy towards the lance that opened for us an entrance into this adorable Heart. He said that had he been in its place he would never have quitted it. ‘Would you find me,’ wrote St. Elzear to St. Delphine, ‘seek me in the wound of the side of Jesus Christ; it is the place of my abode.’

"Lanspergius says, ‘Learn to take up your abode in this wound. Do you love repose? It is the bed of the Spouse, besprinkled with roses and lilies. Would you rear your good desires to maturity, and bring to light your good works? It is the nest of the Dove. Do you love recollection? It is the solitary sparrow’s haunt. Do you love tears and sighs? It is here that the meanings of the turtledove are heard. Are you pressed by hunger? You will find here the manna that falls from heaven in the desert. Are you parched with thirst? You will find here the fountain of living water which issues from paradise and pours it’s abundant streams into the hearts of the faithful. Nor need you fear to be badly received. You know too well the endearments which the Son of God lavishes upon those who honor Him. He invites them to repose sweetly upon His Heart, like St. John. He shows them His opened side as to St. Thomas. He gives them to drink from this sacred source’" (Nouet).

"Let us draw near," says St. Bernard, "let us draw near to Jesus. Let us exult and be transported with joy at the remembrance of His Heart. Oh how good, how delightful it is to take up our abode in this Heart! I will adore and praise the name of our Lord in this His Temple, in this Holy of Holies, in this ark of the Covenant, and say with David: I have found a Heart wherewith to pray to my God, and this Heart is no other than that of my King, my brother, and my most loving friend, Jesus.

"Having then found this Heart which is also mine, O most amiable Jesus, I will adore You, my God! Receive my prayers in this sanctuary of propitiation, or rather draw me wholly within this Heart. O Jesus, a thousand times fairer and more amiable than all that is most beauteous upon the earth, wash me yet more from my iniquities. Cleanse me from my sin that I may be able to approach You and be allowed to dwell within Your Heart all the days of my life. For Your Heart has been wounded in order to offer us a secure retreat. Yes, Your Heart has been opened that, delivered from distracting cares, we might dwell therein. Who is there, then, that can refuse to love this Hear, thus wounded for us? Who does not feel his heart bum with love for one by whom he is so much beloved? While we are still bound in the fetters of this body let us make such return as we are able. Let us love and embrace our divine Lord who was wounded for us and pierced by impious executioners in His hands, feet, and side. Let us keep constantly near to Him that our hearts, still so hard and impenitent, may at length be wounded by the darts and bound by the chains of His love."

St. Thomas of Villanova thus develops the text of the royal Prophet: "The sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtledove a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones. As the Son of God has His abode in the bosom of His Father, so the Church has established her nest in the Heart of her beloved, and, entering in by the opening of His sacred side, she reposes there in peace. There she hides her children and shelters them from the storm. This is the Sacred Altar, the inviolable retreat, where the mourning dove secures her young until the time when, opening their wings for flight, they shall clothe this corruptible body with immortality."

Our Lord gave St. Margaret Mary to understand that St. Francis of Assisi was especially united to His Sacred Heart and that he possessed a particular power of obtaining from it the graces which he asked. St. Francis de Sales made the Sacred Heart of Jesus his abode during his life. He would not allow his holy repose to be interrupted by the most important business in which he might be engaged. It would be necessary to give the entire life of St. Gertrude and St. Mechtild if we wished to cite the places in which they speak of the Heart of Jesus.

St. Francis Xavier, and an infinity of other saints whom it would be too long to name, had a singular devotion towards this amiable Heart even before it had made itself known as it has done in our own days to St. Margaret Mary.

Practice: If you cannot go and preach Jesus Christ in distant countries as a missionary, you can at least make Him known to the hearts of your friends. This is your mission. You are under an obligation to look to the instruction of your household. God will demand of you an account of their souls. These functions, though less brilliant, are not the less meritorious.

Ejaculatory Prayer: Happy inhabitants of heaven who see the Heart of Jesus unveiled and love it with an undivided and constant love, obtain for me the grace to know and love it like yourselves for ever.

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

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