Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Last Day of the Month of the Sacred Heart


An important secret for aiding you to carry out the good resolutions you have formed during this month is to learn to enter into the Heart of Jesus, to leave the Heart of Jesus, and to re-enter the Heart of Jesus.

1. Enter into the Heart of Jesus by recollection and prayer. Make great account of prayer all your life, and, in it never lose sight of Jesus. Remember how strongly St. Theresa recommends prayer. Enter into it, like her, through Jesus Christ.

2. Leave the Heart of Jesus in order to go and labor for Jesus. Lave it as the Seraphim leave paradise without being absent from it. Preserve at least the desire of entering into it again, as speedily as possible. Live always in His presence. Carry Jesus with you, in order to communicate Him to the hearts of those with whom you converse. Leave Jesus, as the ray issues from the sun, without being detached from it and as Jesus left the bosom of His Father without ceasing to be united to Him.

3. Re-enter the Heart of Jesus as soon as possible. This you may do in two ways. The first is by frequently lifting up your mind and heart to Him. While occupied in your employments raise your heart to Jesus every hour or oftener saying, for example, ‘O Heart of Jesus, Thou art my strength, my joy, my happiness.’ The second manner of re-entering the Heart of Jesus is by examination and penance. Call back your heart from its wanderings and let it suffer some punishment for them. Lay your head at the foot of the Crucifix, and, if you have sinned by pride say to Him: ‘Trample this proud head beneath Thy feet, O Lord’' If by impatience: ‘Would that I had the lance which pierced Thy Sacred Heart that I might pierce my own with it and let forth all its bitterness.’ In every fault that you may have committed, whatever it be, have recourse to our Lord and say to Him: ‘I know well, my Savior, that Thou art also my Judge,.and therefore I would gain Thee, before Thou judgest me. Happy shall I be if I do penance before Thou punishest me, for I know well that Thou wilt not have the courage to punish me twice.’ Enter, leave, and reenter the Heart of Jesus in this manner. It is a means of remaining united to Him all your life.

Nor have you any reason to doubt that you will always be well received under whatever circumstances you have recourse to Him though you may have been guilty of some negligence in recalling Him to mind. One Friday, St. Gertrude turning towards her Crucifix, said with compunction: "Alas, my sweetest Lord, what sufferings you endured for my saltation on this day, and I, ungrateful wretch that I am, engrossed by other cares, have allowed this day to pass without calling to mind all that you deigned to suffer each single hour. You who are the life of my life, who for love of my love condescended to die!" Upon which our Lord replied to her: "I have supplied for all your negligence, for at each instant I have formed in my Heart all those sentiments which should have passed through yours, and my divine Heart waited with impatience for this return of yours towards me, in order to offer to God my Father all the merits that I accumulated and which could not be applied to your soul without this intention on thy part." The Saint added, "In this is manifested the most faithful love of our God who supplies in so admirable a manner for our forgetfulness and who appeases His Father by offering Him the regret which the soul conceives for her negligence.

Practice: There is no better way to close the practices suggested during this month than by one which our Lord Himself proposed to the St. Margaret Mary: "One Friday during Holy Mass, I felt a strong desire to honor the sufferings of my crucified Spouse. Upon this He told me that He desired that I should present myself every Friday a certain number of times day and night to adore Him upon the Cross, the throne of His mercy, and prostrate myself humbly at His feet, in the same dispositions in which the Blessed Virgin stood by the Cross during His Passion, and offer to Him those holy dispositions." Our Lord said also to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi: "If every Friday you will honor with particular devotion the hour at which I expired on the Cross, you shall receive in return the choicest graces from my soul which I gave up at that moment to my Eternal Father. And though you may not always feel sensibly the effects of this grace, it shall remain constantly present within you."

Ejaculatory Prayer: May I live, no not I, but may the Heart of Jesus live in me!

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

Friday, July 3, 2009

THe Thirty-Third Day of the Month of the Sacred Heart

Of the Zeal Which the Heart of Jesus Looks for in Those Who Are Devoted to Him in Spreading the Devotion to the Sacred Heart.

It is not enough to have conceived a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You must also labor, as far as you can, to extend it. And this will be no difficult matter if you have only love: the most unequivocal proof of love is zeal. Whoever has no zeal has no love says St. Augustine.

But in what way are you to exercise your zeal? There are three means of doing it, and these are within the reach of every one. The first is example. Set an example yourself of a tender devotion to the Heart of Jesus. This is the shortest and most efficacious lesson. The second means is to counsel it; to make it known to those who are unacquainted with it and to encourage and foster it in those who have some beginning of it. The third and surest, as it is also the easiest, is to pray ardently to this Sacred Heart to make itself known and loved by means of those interior lights, those secret motions, that enlighten and transform hearts; for this devotion seems to be in a particular manner the fruit of prayer, one of those special graces which our Lord has reserved to be spread in the hearts of His servants by Himself alone.

No one can excuse himself from employing so easy a means as this. The saints in their enterprises of zeal knew well the power of prayer over the Heart of God and hence they never failed to join it to their preaching. For they bore in mind the saying of St. Paul, that "neither he that plants is anything, nor he that waters, but God that gives the increase" Neque qui plantat est aliquid, neque qui rigat, sed qui incrementum dat Deus (1 Cor. iii. 7).

It is related of a Father of the Society of Jesus that he never preached without having first spent three hours in fervent prayer accompanied with abundant tears. A lay brother of the same society, when asked what were the means which he used to gain so many souls to God in his office as porter, replied: "For one word that I address to men, I address a hundred to God." Let us adopt the same means and we may be sure of success.

Let us pray. And if our sins. make us unworthy to be used as instruments by Jesus Christ in making His Sacred Heart known, let us beg of Him to choose others in our place. Let us entreat Him to send into His vineyard apostles of His Heart who, penetrated with a deep sense of the advantages of this devotion, may devote themselves to increase and spread it Yes, let us pray, for everything is promised to prayer. When a holy soul once asked of God why He did not raise up in this corrupt age one of those saints whose zeal changes, as it were, the face of the whole world, "Men do not pray to me enough," was the reply which she received.

The surest means of succeeding in the prayers which we address to God for the good of souls is to offer them to Him through the mediation of the Heart of Jesus. This was made known to Marie of the Incarnation, foundress of the Ursulines in Canada, as she relates in the second hook of her life written by herself. "One night as I was pleading before the Eternal Father the great cause of the salvation of souls, I understood by an interior light, that I was not heard by His Divine Majesty and that He did not, as usual, lend a propitious ear to the vows and urgent entreaties which I addressed to Him. I annihilated myself at His feet. I sank to the center of my own vileness and nothingness that His Divine goodness might deign to teach me what was most pleasing to Him in order that I might obtain my request. Upon this I heard these words: ‘Pray to me through the Heart of Jesus, my most amiable Son. It is through Him, that I will hear you and grant your petition.’ Since that time I have always concluded my daily devotions by this practice, and by this means I gain each day a fresh profusion of graces beyond all that I can express. *

It would be well to mention here the magnificent promises of Jesus Christ in favor of those who zealously employ themselves in making known His Sacred Heart. Saint Margaret Mary says, "Our Lord disclosed to me the treasures of grace and love reserved for those who shall consecrate and devote themselves to give and procure to His Sacred Heart all the honor, love, and glory in their power, treasures so great that it is impossible for me to express them." And in another place, "Our Lord showed me the names of a number of persons written in His Sacred Heart on account of the desire they felt that He should be loved and honored, and He promised, that they should never be effaced."

At the same time, let us bear in mind that to be profitable, our zeal must be prudent and enlightened. There is a wide difference between the affairs of God and those of the world. In the affairs of the world it is necessary to be full of action; in those of God, we must be content with following His inspirations, leaving grace to act and following its movements with all our power. Devotion to the Sacred Heart must insinuate itself by the unction of charity into the hearts of those whom God has chosen for Himself.

Practice: Employ a part of your means in procuring books and medals oi the Sacred Heart and try to spread them where you can. The wicked never fail to find means and resources for circulating their pernicious books. Shall we allow ourselves to be outdone by them?

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Heart of Jesus, grant that I may be consumed with a zeal for Thy glory.

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

* Prayer of Mother Marie of the Incarnation.

It Is by the Heart of my Jesus, my way, my truth, and my life, that I approach Thee O Eternal Father. Through this divine Heart, I adore Thee in behalf of those who adore Thee not, I love Thee in behalf of those who love Thee not, I acknowledge Thy goodness, in behalf of all those who, by voluntary blindness, slight Thy divine Majesty and acknowledge not Thy favors. I would fain satisfy through this divine Heart for the duty of all mankind. I traverse in spirit the whole world in search of every soul purchased by the most precious Blood of my divine spouse, in order that I may make reparation to Thee for all through this divine Heart. I embrace them all in order to present them to Thee through Him, and through Him I beg of Thee their conversion. Wilt Thou suffer them, Eternal Father, to refuse to acknowledge my Jesus, to refuse to live for Him who has died for all? Thou seest, O divine Father, that they have no life as yet. Give them life in this divine Heart.

Thou knowest, O Incarnate Word, my beloved Jesus, all that I would say to Thy Father by Thy divine Heart and by Thy holy Soul. In saying it to Him I say it to Thee, for Thou art in Thy Father and Thy Father in Thee. Grant, then, in union with Him. all that I ask. I present to Thee all these souls. Make them one with Thee.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Thirty-Second Day of the Month of the Sacred Heart

Fifth Means of Obtaining a Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: a Particular Devotion to St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Aloysius.

The saints in heaven take a pleasure in obtaining for those who honor them the virtue in which they themselves excelled and the means of salvation which most powerfully aided them in attaining perfection. We have before remarked what an ardent devotion the greatest saints have manifested at all times towards the Heart of Jesus, but we will point out three in particular to whom you can have recourse in a more special manner in order to obtain this devotion.

The first is St. Joseph. When we call to mind the privilege which this glorious saint enjoyed of carrying the Infant Jesus so often in his arms and of living with Him familiarly during thirty years, can we doubt that in the silence of the life of continual prayer which St. Joseph led at Nazareth our Divine Savior revealed to him, the first and most highly favored of all His saints after His Divine Mother, all the treasures of His Sacred Heart? If, then, you would know and love the Heart of Jesus go to Joseph. Jesus has placed in his hands all the treasures of His Heart in order that he might have the power of enriching his faithful clients.

After Joseph go to the disciple whom Jesus loved, St. John the Evangelist. To whom Can you better address yourself if you would be inflamed with a tender devotion to the Heart of Jesus than to the beloved disciple, who reclined during the last supper upon that Divine Heart, and was the first to penetrate its secrets; who alone received the last sighs of that Sacred Heart upon the cross; who alone shared the sorrows of Mary as she beheld that Sacred Heart pierced by the soldier’s lance; who alone saw the blood and water flow from thence, as he bears testimony himself; and who was the first to enter into that wound of love and there to take up his abode?

As for St. Aloysius, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the exercise of an interior life and continual union with God formed his distinctive characteristic. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, to whom it was given to behold the glory which this saint enjoyed in heaven exclaimed: "Oh, how Aloysius loved upon earth! Oh, how Aloysius loved! While he was in this mortal life he was ever winging shafts of heavenly love towards the Heart of the Word Incarnate. Now that he is in heaven those shafts return into his own heart and are fixed there for ever, for the acts of divine charity which he then made fill him now with ineffable joy.

"Oh, how great is the glory of Aloysius, son of Ignatius! Never could I have believed it had not my Jesus allowed me to see it! Would that I might traverse the whole universe and proclaim that Aloysius is a great saint. Would that I might make his glory known to the whole world that God might be glorified in him. He is raised so high in heaven only because he led an interior life on earth. Who can ever appreciate the merits and virtue of the interior life? No, there can be no comparison between the acts of an interior and exterior life."

This amiable saint is your model, interior souls; Christian youth, he is your special patron. You cannot doubt that he interests himself specially in your welfare, and he has given such proof of his desire to see the devotion to the Heart of Jesus extended that you are sure of doing what is agreeable to him in addressing yourselves to him to obtain the promotion of this object. The following incident will serve to increase your confidence.

In the year 1765, a novice of the Society of Jesus, Nicholas Aloysius Celestini, while laboring under a serious illness and almost on the point of death, saw the angelical Aloysius approach his bed. The Saint addressed hun in the most consoling words and exhorted him to love the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to propagate the devotion as a thing most pleasing to Heaven. Nicholas promised to do so and received as a recompense, not only the cure of his malady, but freedom also from any troublesome effects of it, so that though hardly able the evening before, to turn in his bed, he was well enough the following day to walk several miles in very cold weather and to observe the rule like any other novice. This miraculous cure contributed powerfully to extend the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Practice: Acquire the habit of making ejaculatory prayers from time to time after the example of St. Aloysius. There is not a more powerful means for advancing rapidly in a short time in the love of Jesus. Those short prayers are like inflamed darts which go straight to His Heart and meet with less hindrance from the distractions and languor which so often interfere with our other exercises of piety.

Ejaculatory Prayer: Who will give Thee to me that I may find Thee alone, O Heart of my Jesus!

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Thirty-First Day of the Month of the Sacred Heart

Fourth Means of Obtaining Devotion to the Sacred Heart: a Great Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Mary has all power over the Heart of Jesus. She is the Mother of fair love: Mater pulchrae dilectionis. It is to her that we must address ourselves if we would have its flames enkindled in our hearts.

The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary are too much alike and too closely united for one not to lead infallibly to the other. There is this difference: The Heart of Jesus more particularly favors pure souls, while the heart of Mary purifies those which are not so by means of the graces which she obtains for them, and prepares them to be received within the Heart of Jesus. Sinners should never despair of obtaining this grace through Mary. She is the refuge of the miserable, the resource of the whole world. Without a tender love towards this Mother of mercy, we can never hope to obtain an entrance into the Heart of Jesus.

One day as St. Gertrude was repeating with great devotion those words of the Salve Regina: Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte, "Turn, then, thine eyes of mercy towards us," the Blessed Virgin appeared to her, and showing her the eyes of the Infant Jesus whom she held in her arms, said: "These are the eyes full of mercy which I can turn at pleasure upon those who invoke me." Let us then cherish a tender love for Mary; we shall soon be inflamed with an ardent love for her Son. This is the recompense beyond all price which she obtains for all who are devoted to her. Every good has come and will come, to us through Mary alone: Omnia per Mariam. Whoever has found her has found life and salvation.

There can be no difficulty in approaching this tender Mother, for she tells us herself that she anticipates those who seek her and that she shows herself first to them. Yes, it is she who inspires us with the desire of loving and serving her in order that she may enrich us with all the treasures which are deposited in her hands. It is through her hands that every grace must pass which the Heart of Jesus designs to shed upon us.

Let us address ourselves to Mary and especially to her Heart, the perfect image of the Heart of Jesus; to that Heart which was so constantly united to the Heart of her Divine Son that it shared each moment His feelings, His joys, His labors, sorrows, and His love for us. Never shall we find Jesus without Mary nor Mary without Jesus. Invenerunt puerum cum Maria, Matre Ejus, "And entering the house they found the child with Mary, His Mother" (Matt. ii. 11).

Let us invoke Mary, especially by her Immaculate Conception, her dearest privilege which exempted her from the sad necessity of being for a single instant the enemy of her God, and let us be sure that she will never refuse us anything. Let us never separate the Heart of Mary from that of Jesus in our devotions. Let us honor and love them both from the bottom of our hearts. Let us devote and consecrate ourselves wholly to these amiable Hearts. Let us address our requests to God the Father through the Heart of Jesus and lot us approach Jesus by the Heart of Mary. We shall obtain everything from the Father by the Heart of the Son and everything from the Son by the Heart of the Mother.

Blessed Hermann never passed a day without paying his homage to the Heart of Mary, and every day of his life he received signal favors at her hands.

Blessed Marie of the Incarnation used no other means than this: she had recourse to the Heart of Mary to present her petitions to Jesus and to the Heart of Jesus to present them to the Eternal Father. The Blessed Virgin herself deigned to tell St. Gertrude how pleasing this practice was to her and how meritorious it was in the sight of God. On the eve of Christmas while this saint was reflecting with bitterness of heart that she had allowed the season of Advent to pass by without having done anything specially in honor of the Blessed Virgin, inspired by the Holy Ghost, she offered to Mary in reparation for this negligence the most noble and gentle Heart of Jesus, her Divine Son. The Mother of Mercy gave her to understand that she received this precious gift with gratitude and great joy, and that it incomparably surpassed in merit all other acts that she could have performed to honor Her.

O Mary, Mother of Grace, cast an eye of pity on our miseries and afflictions with which we are overwhelmed in this valley of tears. Pray to Jesus to open His Heart to us, and teach us to bury our sorrows and our pains in His Divine Heart, which while He was on earth was truly a sea of bitterness. Let it be enough for us to look upon this amiable Heart as the Jews once looked upon the brazen serpent, to be at once healed of all the maladies which afflict our souls.

Practice: As often as you assist at Holy Mass, offer to the Heart of Jesus the dispositions of His Blessed Mother as she stood at the foot of the cross. And, when you go to Communion, offer Him in like manner the dispositions of Mary and her holy transports at the moment of the Incarnation. He Himself taught this practice to St. Margaret Mary. You cannot doubt, then, that it is most pleasing to Him and that you can thus repair with great advantage all your coldness and backwardness in those sacred actions, the most important in spiritual life.

Ejaculatory Prayer: O Mary, I will give myself no repose until I have obtained from thee the knowledge and love of the Heart of Jesus.

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