The Feast of the Sacred Heart
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INSTRUCTION ON THE FEAST OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS.
From Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

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ORIGIN OF THIS FESTIVAL

AFTER many devout souls had venerated the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with sincere devotion, in the solitude of quiet life, as is seen in the lives of Sts. Augustine, Bernard, Bonaventura, Thomas of Aquin, Francis de Sales, Ignatius, Clara, Gertrude, Mechtild, Catharine of Sienna, Theresa, and others, our divine Saviour willed that His heart's infinite love should be recognized by all men, and be kindled in cold hearts by a new fire of love. For this
end He made use of a feeble, obscure instrument, that all the world might know that the devotion to His loving heart, previously almost entirely unknown, was His own work.

This instrument, disregarded by the world, was one who shone before God in all the radiance of the most sublime virtues, the nun Margaret Alacoque of the order of the Visitation of Mary, at Paray, in Burgundy. In the year 1675, whilst she was one day in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, our Lord appeared to her, and pointing to His heart which He showed to her, surrounded with flames, surmounted by the cross, encircled with a crown of thorns, and pierced with a gaping wound, He said to her: "Behold this heart, which has loved mankind so much, and which receives from only ingratitude and coldness in return for its love. My desire is that you should make reparation to my heart for this ingratitude, and induce others also to make reparation."

Our Lord then designated the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi as the special day for this duty. In several subsequent apparitions our divine Lord repeated this injunction, and made the most unbounded promises in favor of all who would apply themselves to this office of reparation to His Sacred Heart. The following are some of His promises;

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will establish peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their pains and trials.

4. I will be their assured refuge in life, and especially in death.

5. I will shed abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in my Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Lukewarm souls will be rendered fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall rise rapidly to greater perfection.

9. I will bless those houses where the image of my heart shall be exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the gift of moving the hardest hearts.

11. Persons who propagate this devotion, shall have their names inscribed on my heart, never to be effaced from it.

Margaret obeyed, but found everywhere the greatest opposition, actual sneers and persecution, even from her Sisters in religion, until finally, with the aid of her divine spouse, she succeeded as mistress of novices, in bringing her young charges to the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But this did not content her zeal; although opposition continued, she strove to fulfil the command of Jesus, who assisted her by at last changing the hardened hearts of the nuns and inflaming them with the same love of His Sacred Heart. This devotion soon spread from the convent
throughout the adjoining dioceses, where confraternities in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus arose, and Pope Clement XIII. , after causing the strictest investigation to be made, commanded the Festival of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be observed throughout the Catholic Church, on the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.


ON DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

I. Object of this Devotion

BY the Sacred Heart of Jesus must be understood not the lifeless heart, separated from the body of Christ, but the tender, loving heart of the God-Man, the home of all His emotions, the fountain of all His virtues, and the most touching embodiment of His infinite love for man. The Catholic Church, in like manner, sets apart certain festivals with appropriate Mass and office, in honor of the cross, of our Lord's sacred blood and wounds that our devotion to the Redeemer may be rendered more fervent by the contemplation of these objects, for Jesus has shed His blood for us , has received wounds for us which He retained even after His resurrection, as eternal signs of His immense love for man, has taken them with Him to heaven, and will show them to us on the Judgment Day. How much more should our Saviour's Sacred Heart be the object of our devotion, since all thoughts, sentiments, and emotions of this most loving heart aim only at our salvation, and since it is always ready to receive truly penitent sinners,
to forgive them, again to turn His love to them, and make them sharers in eternal bliss.

Therefore the saints have from the first encouraged a tender devotion to this most Sacred Heart, as already mentioned. "Longinus," says St. Augustine, "opened the side of Jesus with His spear; in it I enter, and securely rest." "O how good," exclaims St. Bernard, "how lovely to take
up my abode in this Heart! In this temple, in this sanctuary, before this ark of the covenant, I will adore and praise the name of the Lord, and say with the prophet: I have found in the heart of Jesus, my king, my brother, my friend." "Believe me, O blinded men," says St. Bonaventura, "if you knew how to enter by His sacred wounds into the interior of Jesus, you would there find not only a wonderful sweetness for your soul, but even sweet repose for your body. And if there even the body finds rest, how great, think you, must be the sweetness which the spirit there enjoys, if through these wounds we become united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus!" And St. Peter Damian says: "In this adorable heart we find the weapons with which to defend ourselves against our enemies, a cure for our ills, powerful help against temptations, the sweetest consolation in suffering, and the. purest joy in this valley of tears."

St. Mechtild and St. Gertrude found themselves transported in an especial manner by the tenderness of this adorable heart, to adore it fervently, and Gertrude, enlightened by the Spirit of God, spoke these prophetic words: "The Lord retained until these late centuries the devotion to His Sacred Heart, as a last effort of His divine love." We have already seen how these words have been verified in the pious Margaret. O would that Jesus' great desire that all men might know and love His Sacred Heart be accomplished!



II. Excellence of this Devotion

It is, says the venerable P. Simon Gourdan:

1) The most sacred devotion, for by it man venerates the holiest sentiments and emotions of the Heart of Jesus, by which He has sanctified the Church, glorified His Heavenly Father, and presented Himself to us as the perfect model of the most exalted sanctity.

2) The oldest devotion of the holy Church, which, instructed by the great St. Paul, has at all times recognized the munificence of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

3) The most approved devotion, for the holy Scriptures everywhere exhort us, to renew our heart by changing our lives, rendering them contrite by true penance, inflaming them with the fire of divine love, and adorning them by the exercise of all virtue. Therefore a new heart is promised on which to remodel our Heart. That Heart can be no other than the Heart of Jesus, which is given us as an example of all virtue, and which we must imitate, if
we wish to be saved.

4) The most perfect devotion, for it is the source of all other devotions; the Heart of Jesus is that inexhaustible treasury, from which the Mother of God and all the saints have drawn their graces, their life, their virtues, and all spiritual blessings. Filled from this treasury, other servants of God have instituted different devotions.

5) The most useful devotion, for in it we have the Fountain of Life itself before our eyes, from which we can draw directly, and increase in all virtue by adoring this divine Heart, meditating on its holy desires, and seeking to imitate it.

6) The devotion most pleasing to Christ, for by it we honor God, as Christ requires, in spirit and in truth, because we adore the interior power of God, seeking to please His heart.

7) Finally; the most necessary devotion, for its object is that we become intimately connected as members with Jesus, our Head, that we live by and according to His spirit, and have only one heart and soul with Christ.

Because this devotion is of such importance, we cannot sufficiently recommend it to all who are anxious for their soul's salvation. Every person may cherish this devotion, and venerate the Heart of Jesus by himself, but there is a greater blessing when pious souls make the devotion in a
confraternity. In the year 1726 there existed more than three hundred such confraternities, and they are now spread throughout all Catholic countries. Do not delay then, O Christian soul, to practise this devotion, uniting with others to honor the divine Heart of Jesus, because in this most
Blessed Heart all men find their reconciliation, the pious their assurance, sinners their hope, the oppressed their comfort, the sick their relief, those who are fighting their strength, the dying their refuge and the elect their joy and bliss.


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The Introit of this day's Mass reads: He will have mercy according to the multitude of his mercies: for he hath not willingly afflicted nor cast off the children of men: the Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him. Allel. allel. (Lament. iii. 2. 3 25.) The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever: to generation and generation. (Ps. lxxxviii. 1.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who, glorying in the most Sacred Heart of Thy beloved Son, celebrate the singular benefits of His love toward us, may rejoice equally in their operation and their fruit. Through the same.

LESSON. (Isai. xii. 1 — 6.) I will give thanks to thee, O Lord, for thou wast angry with me; thy wrath is turned away, and thou hast comforted me. Behold God is my Saviour, I will deal confidently, and will not fear: because the Lord is my strength and my praise, and he is become my salvation. You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour's fountains: and you shall say in that day: Praise ye the Lord, and call upon his name: make his works known among the people: remember that his name is high. Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath done great things: show this forth in all the earth. Rejoice, and praise, O thou habitation of Sion: for great is he that is in the midst of thee, the Holy One of Israel.

EXPLANATION. This lesson is a hymn of praise for the deliverance of the Jews from the hands of their enemies; and at the same time a prophecy of the coming redemption of mankind from sin and death through Christ. Man will then draw waters with joy, says the prophet, from the Saviour's fountains. These fountains are the graces which Jesus has gained for us on the cross, but especially, as St. Augustine says, the holy Sacraments of Baptism and Communion. We should rejoice on account of these graces, particularly that the Holy One of Israel, Christ, the Son of God, dwells in the midst of Sion, that is, in the Catholic Church, in the Blessed Sacrament, to remain there to the end of the world. — Oh! let us often approach this ever-flowing fountain of all grace, the holy Eucharist, and let us draw with confidence, consolation, help, and strength from this fountain of love.


GOSPEL. (John xix. 31 — 35.) At that time, The Jews (because it was the parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath-day (for that was a great sabbath-day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers, therefore, came, and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true.

EXPLANATION. According to the Jewish law a criminal could not be put to death, nor could the body of one who had been executed, remain in the place of execution, on the Sabbath day ; it was for this reason that the Jews asked Pilate, the governor, to have the Body of Christ and those of the two thieves buried. Before this could be done, the bones of the crucified, according to the Roman law, had to be broken with iron clubs. The soldiers did so to the two thieves, who were yet alive; when they came to Jesus and found Him dead, they did not break His bones, but one of them, Longinus, opened the Saviour's side with a spear, as was foretold by the prophet.

Jesus permitted His most Sacred Heart to be opened to atone for and efface those sins of men which originate in the heart, as Christ Himself says: (Matt. xv. 19.) From the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies; also to show us the infinite love with which He has loved us from the beginning, so that He even shed the last drop of His heart's blood for our salvation; to make, as it were, a place of refuge in His heart for us, as St. Augustine says: "The Evangelist is very careful in his expression; he does not say, the soldiers pierced or wounded His side, but he opened it, as if to open for us the door of life, from which flow the Sacraments of the Church, without which there can be no access to the true life." As often, then, as a temptation arises, or trouble depresses us, let us take refuge in that abode, and dwell there, until the tempest is over; as says the prophet; (Is. ii. 10.) Enter thou into the rock, and hide thee in the pit. Who is the rock but Christ, and what is the pit but His wound?


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AN ACT OF RESIGNATION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

[An indulgence of one hundred days is gained by saying this prayer with true contrition, before a picture of the sacred heart of Jesus , and a plenary
indulgence by saying it every day for a month, and receiving the Sacraments of Penance and Communion, and praying for the Church.]

O Jesus, most worthy of love! I gratefully offer Thee my heart in compensation for my great unfaithfulness, and consecrate myself wholly and forever to Thy service, purposing, with Thy grace, no more to offend Thee. Amen.
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The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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A New ray of light shines today in the heaven of holy Church, and its light brings warmth. The divine Master given to us by our Redeemer, that is, the Paraclete Spirit, who has come down into this world, continues his teachings to us, in the sacred Liturgy. The earliest of these his divine teachings was the mystery of the Trinity; and we have worshipped the Blessed Three: we have been taught who God is, we know him in his own nature, we have been admitted, by faith, into the sanctuary of the infinite Essence. Then, this Spirit, the mighty wind of Pentecost, opened to our souls new aspects of the truth, which it is his mission to make the world remember; and his revelation left us prostrate before the sacred Host, the Memorial which God himself has left us of all his wonderful works. Today, it is the sacred Heart of the Word made flesh that this Holy Spirit puts before us, that we may know and love and adore it.

There is a mysterious connection between these three Feasts, of Trinity, Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart. The aim of the Holy Ghost, in all three, is this,—to initiate us more and more into that knowledge of God by faith, which is to fit us for the face-to-face Vision in heaven. We have already seen how God, being made known to us, by the first, in himself, manifests himself to us, by the second, in his outward works,—for the holy Eucharist is the memorial, here below, in which he has brought together, and with all possible perfection, all those his wondrous works. But by what law can we pass, so rapidly, so almost abruptly, from one Feast, which is all directly regarding God, to another, which celebrates his works, done by him to and for us? Then again: how came the divine thought, how came, that is, eternal Wisdom, from the infinite repose of the eternally blessed Trinity, to the external activity of a love for us poor creatures, which has produced what we call the Mysteries of our Redemption? The Heart of the Man-God is the solution of these difficulties; it answers all such questions, and explains to us the whole divine plan.

We knew that the sovereign happiness which is in God, we knew that the life eternal communicated from the Father to the Son, and from these two to the Holy Ghost, in light and love,—was to be given by the will of these Three Divine Persons, to created beings; not only to those which were purely spiritual, but, likewise, to that creature whose nature is the union of spirit and matter, that is, to Man. We are of this lower nature; and a pledge of this life eternal was given to us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It is by the Eucharist that Man, who has already been made a partaker of the divine nature by the grace of the sanctifying spirit, is united to the divine Word, and is made a true member of this Only Begotten Son of the Father. Yes: though it hath not yet appeared what we shall be, says St. John, still we are now the sons of God; we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like to him, for we are called to live, as the Word himself does, in the society of that eternal Father of his, for ever and ever.

But the infinite love of the sacred Trinity, which thus called us frail creatures to a participation in its own blessed life, would accomplish this merciful design by the help and means of another love, a love more like what we ourselves can feel; that is, the created love of a human soul, evinced by the beatings of a Heart of flesh like our own. The Angel of the great Counsel, who is sent to make known to the world the merciful designs of the Ancient of days, took to himself, in order to fulfill his divine mission, a created, a human form; and this would enable men to see with their eyes, yea, and even touch with their hands, the Word of life, that life eternal which was with the Father, but appeared even unto us. This human nature, which the Son of God took into personal union with himself, from the womb of the Virgin-Mother, was the docile instrument of infinite love, but it was not absorbed into, or lost in, the Godhead; it retained its own substance, its special faculties, its distinct will, which Will ruled, under the influence of the divine Word, the acts and movements of his most holy Soul and adorable Body. From the very first instant of its existence, the human Soul of Christ was inundated, more directly than was any other creature, with that true light of the Word, which enlighteneth every man who cometh into this world; it enjoyed the face-to-face vision of the divine essence; and, therefore, took in, at a single glance, the absolute beauty of the sovereign Being, and the wisdom of the divine decree, which called finite beings into a participation of infinite bliss. It understood its sublime mission, and conceived an immense love for man and for God. This love began simultaneously with life, and filled not only his soul, but impressed, in its own way, the Body too,—the Body which was formed from the substance of the Virgin-Mother, by the operation of the Holy Ghost. The effect of his love told, consequently, upon his Heart of true human flesh; it set in motion those beatings, which made the Blood of redemption circulate in his sacred veins.

For, it was not with him as with other men, the pulsations of whose hearts are, at first, the consequence of nothing but the vital power which is in the human frame; and, later on, when age has awakened reason into act, the ideas so produced will produce physical impressions on us, which will, now and then, quicken, or dull, the throbbings of these our hearts. With the Man-God it was not so: his Heart, from the very first moment of its life, responded, that is, throbbed, to the law of his soul’s love, whose power to act upon his human Heart was as incessant, and as intense, as is the power of organic vitality,—a love as burning at the first instant of the Incarnation as it is this very hour in heaven. For the human love which the Incarnate Word had, resulting as it did from his intellectual knowledge of God and his creatures, was as perfect as that knowledge, and, therefore, as incapable of all progress; though, being our Brother, and our model in all things, he, day by day, made more manifest to us the exquisite sensibility of his divine Heart.

At the period of Jesus’ coming upon this earth, man had forgotten how to love, for he had forgotten what true beauty was. His heart of flesh seemed to him as a sort of excuse for his false love of false goods: his heart was but an outlet, whereby his soul could stray from heavenly things to the husks of earth, there to waste his power and his substance. To this material world, which the soul of man was intended to make subserve its Maker’s glory,—to this world, which, by a sad perversion, kept man’s soul a slave to his senses and passions,—the Holy Ghost sent a marvellous power, which, like a resistless lever, would replace the world in its right position:—it was the sacred Heart of Jesus; a Heart of flesh, like that of other human beings, from whose created throbbings there would ascend to the eternal Father an expression of love, which would be an homage infinitely pleasing to the infinite Majesty, because there was in that love of that human Heart the dignity of its union with the Word. It is a harp of sweetest melody, that is ever vibrating under the touch of the Spirit of Love; it gathers up into its own music the music of all creation, whose imperfections it corrects, and supplies its deficiencies, and tunes all discordant voices into unity, and so offers to the glorious Trinity a hymn of perfect praise. The Trinity finds its delight in this Heart. It is the one only organum, as St. Gertrude calls it (Legatus divinæ pietatis; lib. ii. c. 23; lib. iii. c. 25.), the one only instrument which finds acceptance with the Most High. Through it must pass all the inflamed praises of the burning Seraphim, just as must do the humble homage paid to its God by inanimate creation. By it alone are to come upon this world the favors of heaven. It is the mystic ladder between man and God, the channel of all graces, the way whereby man ascends to God and God descends to man.

The Holy Ghost, whose masterpiece it is, has made it a living image of himself; for although, in the ineffable relations of the divine Persons, he is not the source of love, he is its substantial expression, or, in theological language, the term; it is he who inclines the holy Trinity to those works outside itself, which first produce creatures, and then, having given them being (and to some, life), he (the Holy Spirit) pours out upon them all the effusion of their Creator’s love for them. And so is it with the love which the Man-God has for God and Man,—its direct and, so to say, material expression is the throbbing it produces upon his sacred Heart; and again, it is by that Heart that, like the Water and Blood which came from his wounded Side, he pours out upon the world a stream of redemption and grace, which is to be followed by the still richer one of glory.

One of the soldiers, as the Gospel tells us, opened Jesus’ Side with a spear, and, immediately, there came out blood and water. We must keep before us this text and the fact it relates, for they give us the true meaning of the Feast we are celebrating. The importance of the event here related is strongly intimated, by the earnest and solemn way in which St. John follows up his narration. After the words just quoted, he adds: And he that saw it, hath given testimony of it, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true, that ye also may believe; for these things were done, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Here the Gospel refers us to the testimony of the Prophet Zacharias, who, after predicting the Spirit of grace being poured out upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, says: They shall look upon Him whom they pierced.

And, when they look upon his side thus pierced what will they see there, but that great truth which is the summary of all Scripture—of all history:—God so loved the world, as to give it his Only Begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have eternal life. This grant truth was, during the ages of expectation, veiled under types and figures; it could be deciphered by but few, and, even then, only obscurely; but it was made known with all possible clearness on that eventful day when, on Jordan’s banks, the whole sacred Trinity manifested who was the Elect, the Chosen One, of the Father,—the Son in whom he was so well pleased. Yes, it was Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary: but there was another revelation, of deepest interest to us, which had still to be made: it was,—how, and in what way, would the eternal life brought by this Jesus into the world, pass from him into each one of us? This second revelation was made to us, when the soldier’s spear opened the divine source, and there flowed from it that Water and Blood, which, as the Scripture tells us, completed the testimony of the Blessed Three. There are three, says St. John, who give testimony in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these Three are One. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood: and these three are one, that is, they are one because they concur in giving the one same testimony. And this, continues St. John, is the testimony:—that God hath given to us eternal life, and that this life is in his Son. These words contain a very profound mystery; but we have their explanation in today’s Feast, which shows us how it is through the Heart of the Man-God that the divine work is achieved, and how, through that same Heart, the plan, which was conceived, from all eternity, by the Wisdom of the Father, has been realized.

To communicate his own happiness to creatures, by making them, through the Holy Ghost, partakers of his own divine nature, and members of his beloved Son,—this was the merciful design of the Father; and all the works of the Trinity, outside itself, tend to the accomplishment of that same. When the fullness of time had come, there appeared upon our earth He that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ,—not by water only, but by water and blood. The Spirit, who, together with the Father and the Son has already, on the banks of Jordan, given his testimony, gives it here again, for St. John continues: And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth; and that he spoke the truth when he said of himself that he is Life. Yes, the Spirit, as the Gospel teaches us, comes forth with the water from the fountains of the Savior, and makes us worthy of the precious Blood, which flows together with the water. Then does mankind, thus born again of water and the Holy Ghost, become entitled to enter into the kingdom of God; and the Church, thus made ready for her Spouse in those same waters of Baptism, is united to the Incarnate Word in the Blood of the sacred Mysteries. We, being members of that holy Church, have had the same union with Christ; we are bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh; we have received the power to be made adopted Sons of God, and sharers, for all eternity, of the divine life, which He, the Son by nature, has in the bosom of the Father.

On, then, thou Jew! though ignorant of the nuptials of the Lamb, give the signal of their being accomplished. Lead the Spouse to the nuptial bed of the Cross; he will lay himself down on that most precious Wood, which his mother, the Synagogue, has made to be his couch; she prepared it for him, on the eve of the day of his alliance, when, from his sacred Heart, there is to come forth his Bride, together with the Water, which cleanses her, and the Blood, which is to be her dower. It was for the sake of this Bride, that he left his Father, and the bright home of his heavenly Jerusalem; he ran, as a giant, in the way of his intense love; he thirsted, and the thirst of the desire gave him no rest. The scorching wind of suffering which dried up his bones, was less active than the fire which burned in his Heart, and made its beatings send forth, in the agony in the Garden, the Blood which, on the morrow, was to be spent for the redemption of his Bride. He has reached Calvary, it is the end of his journey; he dies; he sleeps, with his burning thirst upon him. But the Bride, who is formed for him during this mysterious sleep, will soon rouse him from it. That Heart, from which she was born, has broken, that she might come forth; broken, it ceased to beat, and the grand hymn which, through it, had been so long ascending from earth to heaven, was interrupted, and creation was dismayed at the interruption. Now that the world has been redeemed, man should sing more than ever the canticle of his gratitude; and the strings of the harp are broken! Who will restore them? Who will rewaken in the Heart of our Jesus the music of its divine throbbings?

The new-born Church, his Bride, is standing near that opened side of her Jesus; in the intensity of her first joy, she thus sings to God the Father: I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people, and I will sing unto thee among the nations. Then, to her Jesus: Arise, thou, my glory! my psaltery, my harp, arise! And he arose in the early morning of the great Sunday his sacred Heart resumed its melody, and, with it, sent up to heaven the music of holy Church, for the Heart of the Spouse belongs to his Bride, and they are now two in one flesh.

Christ being now in possession of her who has wounded his Heart, he gives her, in return, full power over that sacred Heart of his, from which she has issued. There lies the secret of all the Church’s power. In the relations existing between husband and wife, which were created by God, at the beginning of the world, and (as the Apostle assures us), in view of this great mystery of Christ and the Church,—man is the head, and the woman may not domineer in the government of the family. Has the woman, then, no power? She has power, and a great power,—she must address herself to her husband’s heart, and gain all by love. If Adam, our first father, sinned, it was because Eve used, and for evil, her influence over his heart, by misleading him, and us in him;—Jesus saves us, because the Church has won his Heart; and that human Heart could not be won, without the divinity also being moved to mercy. And here we have the doctrine of devotion to the sacred Heart of Jesus, as far as regards the principle upon which it rests. In this its primary and essential notion, the devotion is as old as the Church herself, for it rests on this truth, which has been recognized in every age,—that Christ is the Spouse, and the Church is his Bride.

The Fathers and holy Doctors of the early Ages had no other way, than the one we have been putting before our readers, when expounding the mystery of the Church’s having been formed from Jesus’ side; and the words they used,—though always marked by that reserve which was called for by so many of their hearers being as yet uninitiated,—were taken as the text for the sublime and fearless developments of later Ages. “The initiated,” says St. John Chrysostom, “know the mystery of the Savior’s fountains; from those, that is, from the Blood and the Water, the Church was formed; from those same, came our Mysteries; so that, when thou approachest the dread chalice, thou must come up to it, as though thou wert about to drink of that very Side of Christ.” “The Evangelist,” says St. Augustine, “made use of a word which has a special import, when he said,—the soldier opened Jesus’ Side with a spear: he did not say, struck the Side, or wounded the Side, or anything else like that; but he said, he opened Jesus’ Side. He opened it; for that side was like the door of life; and when it was opened, the Sacraments (the Mysteries) of the Church came through it … This was predicted by that door which Noe was commanded to make in the side of the Ark, through which were to go those living creatures which were not to be destroyed by the deluge; and all these things were a figure of the Church.”

Enter thou into the rock, and hide thee in the pit, says Isaias; and what means this, but “enter into the Side of thy Lord?” as the expression is interpreted, in the 13th Century, by Guerric, a disciple of St. Bernard, and Abbot of Igny (In Dom. Palm. Serm. iv.). St. Bernard himself thus comments the verses 13 and 14 of the second Chapter of the Canticle: “Come, my dove, in the clifts of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall: O Beautiful clifts of the rock, wherein the dove takes safe shelter, and fearlessly looks at the hawk that hovers about! … And what may I see through that opening? The iron hath pierced his soul, and his Heart hath come near; so that, through the clift, the mystery of his Heart is made visible, that great mystery of love, those bowels of the mercy of our God … What else art thou, O Lord, but treasures of love, but riches of goodness? … I will make my way to those full store-cellars. I will take the Prophet’s advice, and will leave the cities; I will dwell in the Rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the mouth of the hole in the highest place. Sheltered there, like as Moses was in the hole of the Rock, I will see my Lord, as he passes by.” In the next century, we have the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, telling us in his own beautiful style, how the new Eve was born from the Side of Christ, when in his sleep; and how the spear of Saul was thrown at David, and struck the wall, as though it would make its way into Him, of whom David was but a type, that is, into Christ, who is the Rock, the mountain cave where are salubrious springs, the shelter (lignum vitæ) where doves build their nests.

Our readers will not expect us to do more than give them this general view of the great mystery, and tell them how the holy Doctors of the Church spoke of it. As far as St. Bernard and St. Bonaventure are concerned, the devotion to the mystery of Christ’s side opened on the Cross, is but a part of that which they would have us show to the other wounds of our Redeemer. The sacred Heart, as the expression of Jesus’ love, is not treated of, in their writings, with the explicitness wherewith the Church would afterwards put it before us. For this end, our Lord himself selected certain privileged souls, through whose instrumentality, he would bring the Christian world to a fuller appreciation of the consequences which are involved in the principles admitted by the whole Church.

It was on the 27th of January, in the year 1281, in the Benedictine Monastery of Helfta, near Eisleben, in Saxony, that our Divine Lord first revealed these ineffable secrets to one of the Community of that House, whose name was Gertrude. “She was then twenty years of age. The Spirit of God came upon her, and gave her her mission. She saw, she heard, she was permitted to touch, and what is more, she drank of, that chalice of the sacred Heart, which inebriates the elect. She drank of it, even whilst in this vale of bitterness; and what she herself so richly received, she imparted to others, who showed themselves desirous to listen. St. Gertrude’s mission was to make known the share and action of the sacred Heart in the economy of God’s glory and the sanctification of souls; and, in this respect, we cannot separate her from her companion, St. Mechtilde.

Quote:“On this special doctrine regarding the heart of the Man-God, St. Gertrude and St. Mechtilde hold a very prominent position among all the Saints and mystical writers of the Church. In saying this, we do not except even the Saints of these later ages, by whom our Lord brought about the public, the official, worship, which is now given to his sacred Heart; these Saints have spread the devotion, now shown to it, throughout the whole Church;—but they have not spoken of the mysteries it contains within it, with that set purpose, that precision, that loveliness, which we find in the ‘Revelations’ of the two Saints, Gertrude and Mechtilde.

“It was the Beloved Disciple, who had rested his head upon Jesus’ breast, at the Supper, and perhaps heard the beatings of the sacred Heart,—the Disciple who, when standing at the foot of the Cross, had seen that Heart pierced with the soldier’s spear,—yes, it was he who announced to Gertrude its future glorification. She asked him how it was that he had not spoken, in his writings in the New Testament, of what he had experienced when he reclined upon Jesus’ sacred Heart: he thus replied: ‘My mission was to write, for the Church which was still young, a single word of the uncreated Word of God the Father,—that uncreated Word, concerning which the intellect of the whole human race might be ever receiving abundant truth, from now till the end of the world, and yet it would never be fully comprehended. As to the sweet eloquence of those throbbings of his Heart, it is reserved for the time when the world has grown old, and has become cold in God’s love,—that it may regain favor by the hearing such revelation.” (The Legate of Divine Love. Bk. iv. ch. 4.)

“Gertrude was chosen as the instrument of that revelation; and what she has told us, is exquisitely beautiful. At one time, the divine Heart is shown to her as a treasure, which holds all riches within it; at another, it is a harp played upon by the Holy Spirit, and the music which comes from it gladdens the Blessed Trinity, and all the heavenly court. It is a plenteous spring, whose stream bears refreshment to the souls in Purgatory, strength and every grace to them that are still struggling on this earth, and delights which inebriate the blessed in the heavenly Jerusalem. It is a golden thurible, whence there ascend as many different sorts of fragrant incense, as there are different races of men, for all of whom our Redeemer died upon the Cross. It is an altar, upon which the Faithful lay their offerings, the elect their homage, the Angels their worship, and the eternal High Priest offers himself as a Sacrifice. It is a lamp suspended between heaven and earth. It is a chalice out of which the Saints, but not the Angels, drink, though these latter receive from it delights of varied kinds. It was in this Heart, that was formed and composed the Lord’s Prayer, the Pater noster; that Prayer was the fruit of Jesus’ Heart. By that same sacred Heart, are supplied all the negligences and deficiencies which are found in the honor we pay to God, and his Blessed Mother and Saints. The Heart of Jesus makes itself as our servant, and our bond, in fulfilment of all the obligations incumbent on us; in it alone, do our actions derive that perfection, that worth, which makes them acceptable in the eyes of the divine Majesty; and every grace, which flows from heaven to earth, passes through that same Heart. When our life is at its close, that Heart is the peaceful abode, the holy sanctuary, ready to receive our souls as soon as they have departed from this world; and having received them, it keeps them in itself for all eternity, and beatifies them with every delight!” (From the Preface to the Revelations of St. Gertrude, translated into French from the new Latin Edition, published by the Benedictine Fathers of Solesmes.)

By thus revealing to Gertrude the admirable mysteries of divine love, included in the doctrine which attaches to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was, so to say, forestalling the workings of hell, which, two centuries later on, were to find their prime mover in that same spot. Luther was born at Eisleben, in the year 1483. He was the apostle, after being the inventor, of theories the very opposite of what the Sacred Heart reveals. Instead of the merciful God, as known and loved in the previous ages, Luther would have the world believe him to be the direct author of sin and damnation, who creates the sinner for crime and eternal torments, and for the mere purpose of showing that he could do anything, even injustice! Calvin followed; he took up the blasphemous doctrines of the German apostate, and rivetted the protestant principles by his own gloomy and merciless logic. By these two men, the tail of the dragon dragged the third part of the stars of heaven. In the 17th Century, the old enemy put on hypocrisy, in the shape of Jansenism; changing the names of things, but leaving the things unchanged, he tried to get into the very center of the Church, and there pass off his impious doctrines; and Jensenism, which, under the pretext of safeguarding the rights of God’s sovereign dominion, aimed at making men forget that he was a God of mercy,—Jensenism was a favorable system, wherewith the enemy might propagate his so-called Reformation. That God who so loved the world! beheld mankind discouraged or terrified, and behaving as though in heaven there was no such thing as mercy, still less, love. This earth of ours was to be made to see that its Creator had loved it with affectionate love; that he had taken a Heart of flesh in order to bring that infinite love within man’s reach and sight; that he made that human Heart, which he had assumed, do its work, that is, beat and throb from love, just as ours do, for he had become one of ourselves, and, as the Prophet words it, had taken the cords of Adam; that Heart felt the thrill of joy when duty-doing made us joyous; it felt a weight and pang when it saw our sorrows; it was gladsome when it found that, here and there, there would be souls to love him in return. How were men to be told all this? Who would be chosen to fulfil the prophecy made by Gertrude the Great? Who would come forth, like another Paul or John, and teach to the world, now grown old, the language of the divine throbbings of Jesus’ Heart?

There were then living many men noted for their learning and eloquence; but they would not suit the purpose of God. God, who loves to choose the weak (and often it is, that he may confound the strong), had selected for the manifesting of the mystery of the Sacred Heart, a servant of his, of whose existence the world knew not;—it was a Religious woman, who lived in a monastery which had nothing about it to attract notice. As, in the 13th Century, he had passed by the learned men, and even the great Saints, who were then living, and selected the Blessed Juliana of Liége as the instrument which was to bring about the institution of the Corpus Christi Feast,—so in this present case: he would have his own sacred Heart be glorified in his Church by a solemn Festival; and he imparts and intrusts his wish to the humble Visitandine of Paray-le-Monial, now known and venerated, throughout the world, under the name of Blessed Margaret-Mary. The mission thus divinely given to her, was to bring forward the treasure, which had been revealed to St. Gertrude, and which, all the long interval, had been known to only a few privileged souls. Sister Margaret-Mary was to publish the secret to the whole world, and make the privilege cease, by telling every one how to possess it. Through this apparently inadequate instrument, the Sacred Heart of Jesus was a heavenly reaction offered to the world against the chillness which had settled on its old age: it became a touching appeal to all the faithful souls that they would make reparation for all the contempt, and slight, and coldness, and sins, wherewith our age treats the love of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.

Quote:“I was praying before the Blessed Sacrament on one of the days during the Octave” (of Corpus Christi, June, 1675), says the Blessed Margaret [in her Autobiography], “and I received from my God exceeding great graces of his love. And, feeling a desire to make some return, and give him love for love, he said to me: ‘Thou canst not make me a greater, than by doing that which I have so often asked of thee.’ He then showed me his divine Heart, and said: ‘Behold this Heart, which has so loved men, as that it has spared nothing, even to the exhausting and wearing itself out, in order to show them its love; and, instead of acknowledgment, I receive, from the greater number, nothing but ingratitude, by their irreverences and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt wherewith they treat me, in this Sacrament of love. But what is still more deeply felt by me is, that they are hearts which are consecrated to me, which thus treat me. It is on this account, that I make this demand of thee,—that the first Friday after the Octave of the Blessed Sacrament be devoted to a special Feast in honor of my Heart; that thou wilt go to Communion on that day; and give it a reparation of honor by an act of amendment, to repair the insults it has received during the time of its being exposed on the Altar. I promise thee, also, that my Heart will dilate itself, that it may pour forth, with abundance, the influences of its divine love upon those who shall thus honor it, and shall do their best to have such honor paid to it.’”

By thus calling his servant to be the instrument of the glorification of his Sacred Heart, our Lord made her a sign of contradiction; just as he himself had been. It took more than ten years for Blessed Margaret to get the better, by dint of patience and humility, of the suspicions wherewith she was treated by the little world around her, and of the harsh conduct of the Sisters who lived with her in the same Monastery, and of trials of every sort. At last, on the 21st of June, in the year 1686, the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi, she had the consolation of seeing the whole Community of Paray-le-Monial kneeling before a picture, which represented the Heart of Jesus as pierced with a spear; it was the Heart by itself; it was encircled with flames, and a crown of thorns, with the Cross above it, and the three Nails. That same year, there was begun, in the Monastery, the building of a Chapel in honor of the Sacred Heart; and Blessed Margaret had the happiness of seeing it finished and blessed. She died shortly afterwards, in the year 1690. But all this was a very humble beginning: where was the institution of a Feast, properly so called? and where its solemn celebration throughout the Church?

So far back as the year 1674, our Lord had, in his own mysterious way, brought Margaret-Mary to form the acquaintance of one of the most saintly Religious of the Society of Jesus then living,—it was Father De la Colombière. He recognized the workings of the Holy Spirit in this his servant, and became the devoted apostle of the Sacred Heart, first of all at Paray-le-Monial, and, then, later on, in our own country of England, where he was imprisoned by the heretics of those times, and merited the glorious title of Confessor of the Faith. This fervent disciple of the Heart of Jesus died in the year 1682, worn out by his labors and sufferings; but the Society, in a body, inherited his zeal for the propagation of devotion to the Sacred Heart. At once, numerous confraternities began to be formed, and everywhere there began to be built Chapels, in honor of that same Heart. Hell was angry at this great preaching of God’s love. The Jansenists were furious at this sudden proclamation, at this apparition, as St. Paul would say, of the goodness and kindness of God our Savior; and the men who were proclaiming it, were aiming at restoring hope to souls, in which they, the Jansenists, had sowed despondency. The big world must interfere; and it began by talking of innovations, of scandals, of even idolatry; at all events, this new devotion was, to put it mildly, a revolting dissecting of the sacred Body of Christ! Erudite pamphlets were published, some theological, some physiological, to prove that the Church should forbid the subject! Indecent engravings were circulated, and witticisms, such as indignation can make, were made, in order to bring ridicule upon those for whom the world had coined the name of Cordicolæ, or Heart-Worshippers.

[In the year 1720, the City of Marseilles was visited by a plague. It had been brought by a vessel that had come from Syria. As many as a thousand a day fell victims to the scourge. The Parliament, which was mainly composed of Jansenists, had, of course, fled; and there was nothing being done to stay the contagion from spreading. The then Bishop, Monsigneur de Belzunce, assembled such of his priests as had been spared; and, standing in the avenue, which is now called by his name, he solemnly consecrated his Diocese to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At once, the plague abated, and gradually disappeared. Two years later, however, it again showed itself, and threatened to repeat its fierce onslaught; but it was arrested in consequence of the City Magistrates binding themselves and their successors for all future ages, by a vow, to the solemn acts of public worship, which, up to this present day, have proved a protection and glory to the City of St. Lazarus.

These events were noised throughout the world, and were the occasion of the Feast of the Sacred Heart being kept, not only, as hitherto, in the Monasteries of the Visitation Order, but in several Dioceses of France.

That noble, but tried, kingdom, is now erecting a national monument in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; it is the splendid Church which is now being built on Montmartre, near Paris. May that loving Heart of our Lord bless his devoted France, the eldest daughter of the Church! Like the Church, she is under terrible trials; and as they are companions in affliction, may they, through the mercy of the Heart of Jesus, be soon united in prosperity, and work together for the happiness of the world!]

But, human wisdom, or human prejudice, or even human ridicule, cannot withstand God’s purposes. He wished that human hearts should be led to love, and therefore worship, the Sacred Heart of their Redeemer; and he inspired his Church to receive the devotion, which would save so many souls, though the world might not take heaven’s view. The Apostolic See had witnessed all this; and, at last, gave its formal sanction. Rome had frequently granted Indulgences in favor of the devotions privately practiced towards the Sacred Heart; she had published innumerable Briefs for the establishment of local Confraternities, under that title; and, in the year 1765, in accordance with the request made by the Bishops of Poland and the Arch-Confraternity of the Sacred Heart at Rome, Pope Clement the Thirteenth issued the first pontifical decree in favor of the Feast of the Heart of Jesus, and approved of a Mass and Office, which had been drawn up for that Feast. The same favor was gradually accorded to other Churches, until, at length, on the 23rd of August, 1856, Pope Pius the Ninth, of glorious memory, at the instance of all the Bishops of France, issued the Decree for the inserting the Feast of the Sacred Heart on the Calendar, and making obligatory its celebration by the universal Church.

The glorification of the Heart of Jesus called for that of its humble handmaid. On the 18th of September, 1864, the Beatification of Margaret-Mary was solemnly proclaimed by the same Sovereign Pontiff, who had put the last finish to the work she had begun, and given it the definitive sanction of the Apostolic See.

From that time forward, the knowledge and love of the Sacred Heart have made greater progress, than they had done during the whole two previous centuries. In every quarter of the globe, we have heard of Communities, Religious Orders, and whole Dioceses, consecrating themselves to this source of every grace, this sole refuge of the Church in these sad times. There have been pilgrimages made of thousands, from every country, to the favored sanctuary of Paray-le-Monial, where it pleased the Divine Heart to first manifest itself, in its visible form, to us mortals.

We now put before our readers the Mass, which has been approved of for our Feast.

Mass

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In the liturgy of this Feast, there is scarcely any mention made of the Heart of Flesh assumed by our Savior. When, in the last century, there was question of approving a Mass and Office in honor of the Sacred Heart, the Jansenists, who had zealous partisans even in Rome, excited so much opposition, that the Apostolic See did not deem it prudent to speak openly, at that early period, on the points which some so angrily disputed. It, however, readily granted, both to Portugal and the Republic of Venice, an Office, in which the Heart of Jesus, victim of love, and pierced with a spear, was offered to the adorations of the Faithful. But, in the Mass and Office which Rome afterwards gave for the general use, she, out of a motive of prudence, kept to the glorification of our Redeemer’s love, of which it could not reasonably be denied that his Heart of Flesh was the true and direct symbol.

Thus, the Introit, which is taken from Jeremias, extols the infinite mercies of him, whose heart has not cast off the children of men.

Introit
Miserebitur secundum multitudinem miserationum suarum; non enim humiliavit ex corde suo, et abjecit filios hominum: bonus est Dominus sperantibus in eum, animæ quærenti illum, alleluia, alleluia.
He will have mercy according to the multitude of his mercies: for he hath not willingly afflicted, nor cast off the children of men: the Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Misericordias Domini in æternum cantabo: in generationem et generationem.
Ps. The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever: to generation and generation.

℣. Gloria Patri. Miserabitur.
℣. Glory, etc. He will have mercy.


The Church, deeply moved with gratitude for the immense blessings brought to her by the Sacred Heart, prays, in her Collect, that her children may have the grace to appreciate those divine benefits, and receive, with holy joy, the fruits they are intended to produce.

Collect
Concede, quæsumus omnipotens Deus: ut, qui in sanctissimo dilecti Filii tui Corde gloriantes, præcipua in nos charitatis ejus beneficia recolimus, eorum pariter et actu delectemur et fructu. Per eumdem.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who glory in the most sacred Heart of thy beloved Son, and celebrate the singular benefits of his love towards us, may rejoice both in their accomplishment, and in the fruit they produce. Through, etc.


Epistle
Lesson of the Prophet Isaias. Ch. XII.

I will give thanks to thee, O Lord, for thou wast angry with me: thy wrath is turned away, and thou hast comforted me. Behold, God is my saviour, I will deal confidently, and will not fear: O because the Lord is my strength, and my praise, and he is become my salvation. You shall draw waters with joy out of the saviour’s fountains: And you shall say in that day: Praise ye the Lord, and call upon his name: make his works known among the people: remember that his name is high. Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath done great things: shew this forth in all the earth. Rejoice, and praise, O thou habitation of Sion: for great is he that is in the midst of thee, the Holy One of Israel.

Quote:My people have done two evils, said God, in the ancient Covenant: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have digged to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. How wonderful is this complaint! is is made by infinite love, on seeing his proffered benefits refused. And what is still more wonderful, the God who is thus slighted by his ungrateful children, who pretend to find their happiness in something which is not Himself, overlooks the insult, to consult for the remedying of their misery. He is touched at seeing these poor mistaken children trying to get their burning thirst quenched by created things, whereas He alone can quench it. Material goods, and outward beauty, have misled them, and made them slaves to their sensual appetites: their soul, which was created for infinite good, has thought it might find its rest in those feeble and flittering reflections of the sovereign beauty,—reflections and images which were intended to lead them to the divine reality. How lead back to the living fountain the poor creature who has been made a dupe of the mirage of the desert, and is rushing on deeper and deeper into the scorching sands? O Israel! sing praise to thy Lord! And thou, Sion, bless thy God for his infinite mercy towards thee! Water has sprung forth from the Rock which thou hast met in the wilderness, where the madness of thy guilty fever kept thee a wanderer. On the very steep which was urging thee to flesh. thou hast met thy Jesus; he has made himself thy companion on the way of this earth’s life; he is God, but he has been made Flesh, that so, for thy soul’s good, he might draw thee as the Prophet foretold, with the cords of Adam, that is, by the love and loveliness of that Heart of his own sacred Flesh, lead thee to the object which was to satisfy thine own heart, and for which thou wast created. Thus made captive to the Infinite by the bands of this love which Jesus showed thee, thou hast found thyself within reach of the fountain of water, which springeth up into life everlasting; and thy joy at finding thy Saviour’s fountains has made thee loathe the muddy water of the broken cisterns of old. Thy thirst keeps on, but the water is ever there for thee to drink in as deeply as thou willest: thou hast the Sacred Heart, which was opened for thee by the soldier’s spear. Thirst, and drink, and both for ever!

The immense love which fills the Heart of the Man-God, and has led him to undergo unparalleled sufferings in order to save us; the meekness and humility of that divine Heart, which he himself would have us take as the chief characteristic of his whole life;—these are the mysteries proposed by the Gradual and Alleluia-Verse, that we may know them, and let them influence our conduct.

Gradual
O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite, et videte, si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.

℣. Cum dilexisset suos, qui erant in mundo, in finem dilexit eos.
℣. Having loved his own, who were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Discite a me, quia mitis sum et humilis corde: et invenientis requiem animabus vestris. Alleluia.
℣. Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls. Alleluia.


Gospel
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John. Ch. XIX.

At that time: The Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true.

Quote:We have already explained this passage of St. John’s Gospel; and, in doing so, we brought it into juxtaposition with certain texts from the first Epistle of the same Apostle, which throw such light on what the Gospel relates regarding the opening of Jesus’ Side. Let us imitate our Mother, the Church, who hears these mysterious words with such profound attention. This Gospel tells us of the beautiful path by which she first came. Yes, she was born from the Heart of the Man-God. It seems to us,—now that we know what we do,—that she could not have any other beginning than this; for she is the work, by excellence, of his love; and it is for this his Bride, that he has accomplished all his other works. Eve was taken from Adam’s side, and it was done as a figure of a future mystery; but, for that very reason of its being a type and prediction, no trace was to be left of the fact itself. But in the mysterious fulfilment of the figure, that is, in the Side of our Jesus being opened, that his Bride, the Church, might come forth, the trace was to remain forever. As often as she looks at this wound, she is reminded of her glorious origin; and that open Side is like a ceaseless telling her, that she has but to go to that Sacred Heart, and there she will find everything she needs for her children.

The Offertory is taken from the 102nd Psalm, that magnificent hymn of love and gratitude, which extols the numberless favors and infinite mercies of God.

Offertory
Benedic, anima mea, Domino: et noli oblivisci omnes retributiones ejus: qui replet in bonis desiderium tuum, alleluia.
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and never forget all he hath done for thee: who satisfieth thy desire with good things, alleluia.


Let us, in the Secret, unite with the Church in imploring of our Lord to enkindle within our souls the flames of his holy love, that thus our hearts may be in unison with that of our great High Priest, who offers a Sacrifice, which is both his own and ours.

After the Secret, follows the Preface; it is that of the holy Cross. Our Jesus was still attached to the sacred Wood, when his Heart was pierced and opened. The choice of such a Preface was an act of reverential love paid, by our holy Mother, to the glorious instrument, which gave her life by working her redemption.

Secret
Tuere nos, Domine, tua tibi holocausta, offerentes: ad quæ ut ferventius corda nostra præparentur, flammis adure tuæ divinæ charitatis. Qui vivis. Defend us, O Lord, who offer to thee thy holocaust: and, that our hearts may be more fervently prepared for it, enkindle within them the flames of thy divine charity. Who livest, etc.

Preface
Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: qui salutem humani generis in ligno crucis constituisti: ut unde mors oriebatur, inde vita resurgeret: et qui in ligno vincebat, in ligno quoque vinceretur: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Cœli, cœlorumque virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti jubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, etc.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should, always and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: who hast appointed, that the salvation of mankind should be wrought on the wood of the Cross: that, from whence death came, thence life might arise: and, that he, who overcame by the tree, might also, by the Tree, be overcome: through Christ our Lord. By whom the Angels praise thy majesty, the Dominations adore it, the Powers tremble before it. The Heavens and the heavenly Virtues, and the blessed Seraphim, with common jubilee, glorify it. Together with whom, we beseech thee, that we may be admitted to join our humble voices, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, etc.


In order to excite in her children, sentiments of reparation to the Sacred Heart, which is so much in the spirit of this Feast, the Church, at the moment of Communion, reminds them how their Jesus was abandoned, when in the midst of the sufferings, which he endured out of love for us.

Communion
Improperium exspectavit cor meum, et miseriam: et sustinui qui simul contristaretur, et non fuit: et qui consolaretur, et non inveni, alleluia.
My Heart hath expected reproach and misery: and I looked for one, that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none, alleluia.


The Church who has just been so closely united with her Spouse in these sacred Mysteries, is able to understand, all the more fully, the lessons given to her by the Sacred Heart. She prays that her children may increase in true humility, may abhor the pride which is so rife in this fallen world, and prove themselves to be the disciples of Him, who was meek and humble of Heart.

Postcommunion
Pacificis pasti deliciis, et salutaribus Sacramentis, te supplices exoramus, Domine Deus noster: ut qui mitis es et humilis corde, nos a vitiorum labe purgatos, propensius facias a superbis sæculi vanitatibus abhorrere. Qui vivis.
Being fed with peaceful delights, and life-giving Sacraments, we suppliantly beseech thee, O Lord our God, that thou, who art meek and humble of Heart, wouldst make us to be clean from the stain of every vice, and more steadfastly to abhor the proud vanities of the world. Who livest, etc.

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We here give the three Hymns of this Feast; they are full of beauty and sublime teaching.

Hymn for Vespers

Auctor beate sæculi,
Christe Redemptor omnium,
Lumen Patris de lumine
Deusque verus de Deo.


O blessed Creator of this world, Christ, Redeemer of all men, Light of the Father’s Light, and true God of God!


Amor coegit te tuus
Mortale corpus sumere,
Ut novus Adam redderes,
Quod vetus ille abstulerat
:

It was thy love compelled thee to assume a mortal body, that thou, the New Adam, mightest restore, what the Old one had taken from us.


Ille amor almus artifex
Terræ, marisque et siderum,
Errata patrum miserans,
Et nostra rumpens vincula.


That gracious love, which had created this earth, and sea, and stars, had pity on the sins of our first Parents, and broke our chains.


Non corde discedat tuo
Vis illa amoris inclyti:
Hoc fonte gentes hauriant
Remissionis gratiam.


Let not the vehemence of thine admirable love depart from thy Heart; and let all nations come to this Fount, and thence draw the grace of pardon.


Percussum ad hoc est lancea,
Passumque ad hoc est vulnera,
Ut nos lavaret sordibus
Unda fluente et sanguine.


For this was it struck by the spear, for this it suffered the wounds, that it might cleanse us from our defilements, by the Water and Blood which flowed from it.


Decus parenti et Filio,
Sanctoque sit Spiritui,
Quibus potestas, gloria,
Regnumque in omne est sæculum. Amen.


Be honor to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost! To whom are power, glory, and the Kingdom, for all ages! Amen.


Hymn for Matins

En ut superba criminum
Et sæva nostrorum cohors
Cor sauciavit innocens
Merentis haud tale Dei.


O see! how the haughty and savage host of our sins has wounded the innocent Heart of our God, who deserved far other treatment!


Vibrantis hastam militis
Peccata nostra dirigunt,
Ferrumque diræ cuspidis
Mortale crimen acuit.


It is our sins that direct the spear of the soldier who brandishes it; and deadly sin it is, that sharpens the steel of the cruel lance.


Ex corde scisso Ecclesia
Christo jugata nascitur:
Hoc ostium arcæ in latere est
Genti ad salutem positum.


From this wounded Heart, is born the Church, the Bride of Christ: this opened Side is the door put, for the salvation of his people, in the side of the Ark.


Ex hoc perennis gratia,
Ceu septiformis fluvius;
Stolas ut illic sordidas
Lavemus Agni in sanguine.


From this there flows a perennial grace, like a seven-fold stream; that there, in the Blood of the Lamb, we may wash our sullied robes.


Turpe est redire ad crimina,
Quæ cor beatum lacerent;
Sed æmulemur cordibus
Flammas amoris indices.


It is a crying shame if we repeat our sins, which wound that Blessed heart; no; let us strive to put within our hearts the flames which burn round His, and are the symbols of its love.


Hoc, Christe, nobis, hoc, Pater,
Hoc, sancte, dona, Spiritus,
Quibus potestas, gloria,
Regnumque in omne est sæculum. Amen.


Give us this grace, O Jesus! give it us, thou, O Father! and thou, O Holy Spirit! To whom are power, glory, and the Kingdom, for all ages! Amen.


Hymn for Lauds

Cor arca legem continens,
Non servitutis veteris,
Sed gratiæ, sed veni&aelig,
Sed et misericordiæ.


O Heart! thou ark holding within thee the Law, not of the old bondage, but of grace, and of pardon, and of mercy.


Cor sanctuarium novi
Intemeratum fœderis,
Templum vetusto sanctius,
Velumque scissum utilius.


O Heart! Thou spotless Sanctuary of the New Covenant! Thou Temple, holier than the one of old! Thou Veil, that wast torn, but by a tearing of such greater boon to us!


Te vulneratum charitas
Ictu patenti voluit,
Amoris invisibilis
Ut veneremur vulnera.


It was thy love that would have thy Heart wounded with this open Wound, that we might see (through it) the wounds of thine unseen love, and venerate them.


Hoc sub amoris symbolo
Passus cruenta et mystica,
Utrumque sacrificium
Christus sacerdos obtulit.


Under this symbol of love, Christ, our High Priest, having suffered both cruelly and mystically, offered the twofold Sacrifice.


Quis non amantem redamet?
Quis non redemptus diligat,
Et corde in isto seligat
Æterna tabernacula?


Who would not love the Savior who loves him? Who would not love Him, by whom he has been redeemed? Who would not wish to take up his abode for ever in this his Jesus’ Heart.


Decus Parenti et Filio,
Sanctoque sit Spiritui,
Quibus potestas, gloria,
Regnumque in omne est sæculum. Amen.


Be honor to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost! To whom are power, glory, and the Kingdom, for all ages! Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#3
The Heart of Christ
Taken from Christ and His Mysteries by Abbot Marmion, O.S.B.

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Summary:
Love explains all the mysteries of Jesus; the faith that we ought to have in the fullness of this love; the Church sets it before us as the object of worship in the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

I. In what, speaking in a general manner, devotion to the Heart of Jesus consists; how deeply this devotion plunges its roots into the Christian dogma.

II. Its divers elements.

III. The contemplation of the benefits which we owe to the love of Jesus, symbolized by His Heart, is the source of the love that we ought to give Him in return. The double character of our love for Christ; it ought to be affective and effective; Our Lord is our Model in this.

IV. Precious advantage of devotion to the Sacred Heart; it makes us take, little by little, the attitude that should characterize our relations with God. Our spiritual life depends, in great part, on the idea that we habitually have of God; diversity of aspects under which souls may consider God.

V. Christ alone unveils to us the true attitude of the soul in face of God; devotion to the Heart of Jesus helps us to acquire this attitude.

All that we possess in the domain of grace comes to us from Christ Jesus. "Of His fulfness we have all received": De plenitudine ejus nos omnes accepimus (Jn. 1:16). He has destroyed the wall of separation that hindered us from going to God; He has merited for us all graces in infinite abundance; being Divine Head of the mystical body, He has the power of communicating to us the spirit of His states and the virtue of His mysteries, so as to transform us into Himself.

When we consider these mysteries of Jesus, which of His perfections do we see especially shine out? It is love.

Love brought about the Incarnation: Proper nos ... descendit de caelis, et incarnatus est (Creed of the Mass); love caused Christ to be born in passible and weak flesh, inspired the obscurity of the hidden life, nourished the zeal of the public life. If Jesus delivers Himself up to death for us, it is because He yields to the excess of a measureless love (Jn. 13:1); if He rises again, it is "for our justification" (Rom. 4:25); if He ascends into heaven, it is to prepare a place (Jn. 14:2; Heb. 6:20) for us in that abode of blessedness; He sends the Paraclete so as not to leave us orphans (Jn. 14:18); He institutes the Sacrament of the Eucharist as a memorial of His love (Lk. 22:19). All these mysteries have their source in love.

It is necessary that our faith in this love of Christ Jesus should be living and constant. And why? Because it is one of the most powerful supports of our fidelity.

Look at St. Paul. Never did man labor and spend himself as he did for Christ. One day when his enemies attack the lawfulness of his mission, he is led, in self-defense, to give a brief outline of his works, his toils and sufferings. However well we know this sketch drawn from the life, it is always a joy to the soul to read again this page, unique in the annals of the apostolate: Often, says the great Apostle, was he brought nigh to death:
"Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes, save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea. In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren. In labor and painfulness, in much watchings, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things which are without: my daily instance, the solicitude for all the churches" (2 Cor. 11:23-28).

Elsewhere, he applies to himself the words of the Psalmist: "For Thy sake, we are put to death all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter . . ." And yet he immediately adds: "but in all these things we overcome, because of Him that hath loved us": Sed in his omnibus superamus (Rom. 8:36-37). And where does he find the secret of this victory? Ask of him how he endures everything, though "weary even of life" (2 Cor. 1:8); how, in all his trials, he remains united to Christ with such an unshaken firmness that neither "tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness, or the sword" can separate him from Jesus (Rom. 8:35)? He will reply: Proper eum qui delexit nos (Rom. 8:37): "Because of Him Who hath loved us." What sustains, strengthens, animates and stimulates him is the deep conviction of the love that Christ bears towards him: Dilexit me et tradidit semetipsum pro me (Gal. 2:20).

And, indeed, that which makes this ardent conviction strong within him is the sense that he no longer lives for himself-----he who blasphemed the name of God and persecuted the Christians (Cf. Acts 26:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:9)-----but for Him Who loved him to the point of giving His life for him: Caritas Christi urget nos (2 Cor. 5:14) . . . "The charity of Christ presseth us," he exclaims. Therefore, I will give myself up for Him, I will spend myself willingly, without reserve, without counting the cost; I will consume myself for the souls won by Him: Libentissime impendam et superimpendar (2 Cor. 12:15)!

This conviction that Christ loves him truly gives the key to all the work of the great Apostle.

Nothing urges one to love like knowing and feeling oneself to be loved. "Every time that we think of Jesus Christ," says St. Teresa, "let us remember the love with which He has heaped His benefits upon us . . . Love calls forth love" (Life written by herself. Chap. 22).

But how are we to learn this love which is at the foundation of all the states of Jesus, which explains them, and sums up all the motives of these mysteries? Where are we to drink of this knowledge, so wholesome and so fruitful that St. Paul made it the object of his prayer for his Christians (Eph. 3:19)? In the contemplation of the mysteries of Jesus. If we study them with faith, the Holy Spirit, Who is Infinite Love, will disclose to us their depths, and lead us to the love which is the source of them.

There is one feast, which by its object brings to our mind, in a general manner, the love that the Incarnate Word has shown to us: it is the Feast of the Sacred Heart. It is with this feast that the Church, according to the revelation of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary, closes, so to speak, the annual cycle of the solemnities of the Saviour; it is as if, arrived at the term of the contemplation of her Bridegroom's mysteries, there is nothing left for her to do but to celebrate the very love that inspired them all.

Following the example of the Church, I will, now that we have passed in review the chief mysteries of our Divine Head, say a few words about the devotion to the Sacred Heart, its object and its practice. We shall grasp once more this important truth that for us all is resumed in the practical knowledge of the mystery of Jesus.


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I

The word "devotion" comes from the latin word devovere: to devote or consecrate oneself to a person beloved. Devotion towards God is the highest expression of our love. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength": Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex TOTO corde tuo, et ex TOTA anima tua, et ex TOTA menta tua (Mk 12:30). This totus denotes devotion: to love God with all oneself, without reserving anything; to love Him constantly; to love Him to the point of giving oneself to His service with promptitude and ease, such is devotion in general; and, thus understood, devotion constitutes perfection: for it is the very flower of charity (Cf. S. Thom. II-II, q. 82, a. 1).

Devotion to Jesus Christ is the devotion of all our being and all our activity to the Person of the Incarnate Word, abstraction made of such or such particular state of the Person of Jesus or of such or such special mystery of His life. By this devotion to Jesus Christ, we strive to know, to honour, to serve the Son of God manifesting Himself to us through His Sacred Humanity.

A particular devotion is either "devotedness" to God considered specially in one of His attributes or one of His perfections, as His holiness or mercy, or again to one of the three Divine Persons, or to Christ contemplated in one or other of his states. As we have seen in the course of these conferences, it is always the same Christ Jesus Whom we honour, it is always His Adorable Person to Whom our homage is offered, but we consider His Person under some particular aspect or as manifested to us in some special mystery. Thus devotion to the Holy Childhood is devotion to the very Person of Christ especially contemplated in the mysteries of His Trinity and His life as a Youth at Nazareth; devotion to the Five Wounds is devotion to the Person of the Incarnate Word considered in His sufferings, sufferings which are themselves symbolised by the five wounds of which Christ willed to retain the glorious marks after His Resurrection. These devotions can then have a special, proper, immediate object, but they have always their term in Christ's own Person (S. Thom. III, q. 25, a. 1).

Hence you comprehend what it is to be understood by devotion to the Sacred Heart. It is, in a general manner, devotion to the Person of Jesus Himself, manifesting His love for us and shewing us His Heart as a symbol of this love. Whom do we then honour in this devotion? Christ Jesus Himself, in person. But what is the immediate, special, proper object of this devotion? The Heart of flesh of Jesus, the Heart which beats for us in the bosom of the God-Man; but we do not honour it apart from the human nature of Jesus, nor from the Person of the Eternal Word to Whom this human nature was united in the Incarnation. Is this all? No; there is yet this to be added: we honour this Heart as the symbol of the love of Jesus towards us.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart is then summed up in the worship of the Incarnate Word manifesting His love to us and showing us His Heart as the symbol of this love.

I have no need to justify to you this devotion which is familiar to you; it will not however be without some use to say a word on this subject.

You know that, according to certain Protestants, the Church is like a lifeless body; she received, they think, all her perfection from the outset, and ought there to rest stationary; all that has arisen later, either in dogmatic matters, or in the domain of piety, is only, in their eyes, superfluity and corruption.

For us, the Church is a living organism, which, like all living organisms, is to be developed and perfected. The deposit of revelation was sealed at the death of the last apostle; since then, no writing is admitted as inspired, and the revelations of the saints do not enter into the official deposit of the truths of the faith. But many truths contained in the official revelation were only so in germ; the opportunity was only given little by little, under the pressure of events and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, of coming to explicit definitions which fixed in a precise and determined formula what was hitherto only known in an implicit manner.

From the first instant of His Incarnation, Christ Jesus possessed in His blessed soul all the treasures of Divine knowledge and wisdom. But it is only by degrees that these were to be revealed. As Christ increased in age, this knowledge and wisdom manifested themselves, and the virtues of which He contained in Himself the germ were seen to blossom.

Something analogous takes place for the Church, Christ's Mystical Body. For example, we find in the deposit of the Faith this magnificent revelation: "The Word was God . . . and the Word was made Flesh" (1 Jn. 1:14). This revelation contains treasures that have only come to light by degrees; it is like a seed that has blossomed, and borne fruits of truth to increase our knowledge of Christ Jesus. On the occasion of heresies that have sprung up, the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, has defined that in Jesus Christ there is only one Divine Person, but two natures, distinct and perfect, two wills, two sources of activity; that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God; that all the parts of the Sacred Humanity of Jesus are adorable on account of their union with the Divine Person of the Word. Are these new dogmas? No. It is the deposit of the faith explained, made explicit, and developed.

What we say of dogmas applies equally to devotions. In the course of centuries, devotions have risen up that the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has admitted and made her own. These are not innovations, properly so called. They are effects that flow from the established dogmas and the Church's organic activity.

When the teaching Church approves of a devotion and confirms it with her sovereign authority, it ought to be our joy to accept this devotion; to act otherwise would not be to share the mind of the Church, Sentire cum Ecclesia, it would be no longer to enter into the thoughts of Christ Jesus; for He says to His apostles and to their successors: "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me" (Lk. 10:16). Now, how shall we go to the Father if we do not hearken to Christ?

Relatively modern under the form that it actually bears, the devotion to the Sacred Heart has its dogmatic roots in the deposit of faith. It was contained in germ in the words of St. John: "The Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us . . . having loved His own . . . He loved them unto the end" (Jn. 1:14; 13:1). What, in fact, is the Incarnation? It is the manifestation of God, it is God revealing Himself to us through the Humanity of Jesus: Nova mentis nostrae oculis lux tuae claritatis infulsit (Preface of the Nativity); it is the manifestation of Divine love to the world: "God so loved the world, as to give His Only-begotten Son"; and this Son Himself so loved men as to deliver Himself up for them: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends": Majorem hac dilectionem nemo habet (Jn. 15:13). All the devotion to the Sacred Heart is in germ in these words of Jesus. And in order to show that His love had attained the supreme degree, Christ Jesus willed that immediately after He had drawn His last breath on the Cross, His Heart should be pierced by the soldier's lance.

As we are about to see, the love that is symbolised by the heart in this devotion is first of all the created love of Jesus, but, as He is the Incarnate Word, the treasures of this created love manifest to us the marvels of the Divine love, of the Eternal Word.

You perceive what depths this devotion reaches in the deposit of the faith. Far from being an alteration or a corruption, it is an adaptation, at once simple and magnificent, of what St. John said concerning the Word-made-Flesh immolated for love of us.


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II

If we now dwell in a few words upon the divers elements of the devotion we shall see how they are justified.

The proper and direct object of it is Christ's physical Heart. This Heart is, indeed, worthy of adoration. Why so? Because it forms part of His Human Nature, and because the Word has united Himself to a perfect nature: Perfectus homo (Creed of St. Athanasius). The same adoration that we give to the Divine Person of the Word attains all that is personally united thereto, all that subsists in and by the Person of the Word. This is true of the whole Human Nature of Jesus, this is true of each of the parts that compose it. The Heart of Jesus is the Heart of a God.

But the Heart which we honour, which we adore in this Humanity united to the Person of the Word, serves here as a symbol of what? Of love. When God says to us in the Scriptures: "My son, give Me Thy heart" (Prov. 23:26), we understand that the heart here signifies love. You may say of someone: I esteem him, I respect him, but I cannot give him my heart. You mean by these words that friendship, intimacy and union are impossible.

In the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we then honor the love that the Incarnate Word bears towards us.

Created love first of all. Christ Jesus is both God and Man; perfect God, perfect Man; that is the very mystery of the Incarnation. As "Son of Man," Christ has a Heart like ours, a Heart of flesh, a Heart that beats for us with the tenderest, the truest, the noblest, the most faithful love that ever was.

In his Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul told them that he earnestly besought God that they might be able to comprehend what is the breadth and length, and height and depth, of the mystery of Jesus, so much was he dazzled by the incommensurable riches that it contained. He might have said as much of the love of the Heart of Jesus for us; he did say so in fact, when he declared that this love "surpasseth all knowledge" (Eph. 3:14-19).

And, indeed, we shall never exhaust the treasure of tenderness, of loveableness, of kindness and charity, of which the Heart of the Man-God is the burning furnace. We have only to open the Gospel and, on each page, we shall see shine out the goodness, the mercy, the condescension of Jesus towards men. I have tried, in pointing out some aspects of the public life of Christ, to show you how deeply human and infinitely delicate is this love.

This love of Christ is not a chimera, it is very real, for it is founded upon the reality of the Incarnation itself. The Blessed Virgin, St. John, Magdalen, Lazarus knew this well. It was not only a love of the will, but also a heartfelt love. When Christ Jesus said: "I have compassion on the multitude" (Mt. 15:32; Mk. 8:2), He really felt the fibres of His human Heart moved by pity; when He saw Martha and Mary weeping for the loss of their brother, He wept with them; truly human tears were wrung from His Heart. Therefore the Jews who witnessed the sight said to one another: "Behold how He loved him" (Jn. 11:36).

Christ Jesus does not change. He was yesterday, He is today: His Heart remains the most loving and most loveable that could be met with. St. Paul tells us explicitly that we ought to have full confidence in Jesus because He is a compassionate High Priest Who knows our sufferings, our miseries, our infirmities, having Himself espoused our weaknesses saving sin. Doubtless, Christ Jesus can no longer suffer: Mors illi ultra non dominabitur (Rom. 6:9); but He remains the One Who was moved by compassion, Who suffered and redeemed men through love: Dilexit me et tradidit semetipsum pro me.

Whence came this human love of Jesus, this created love? From the Uncreated and Divine Love, from the love of the Eternal Word to which the human nature is indissolubly united. In Christ, although there are two perfect and distinct natures, keeping their specific energies and their proper operations, there is only one Divine Person. As I have said, the created love of Jesus is only a revelation of His uncreated love. Everything that the created love accomplishes is in union with the uncreated love, and on account of it; Christ's Heart draws its human kindness from the Divine ocean ("In the Sacred Heart you will find the symbol and the sensible image of the infinite charity of Jesus Christ, of that charity which draws us to love Him in return." Leo XIII, Bull Annum sac., 25 M. 1899).

Upon Calvary, we see Him die as a man like unto ourselves, One Who has been a prey to anguish, Who has suffered, Who has been crushed beneath the weight of torments, heavier than any man ever bore; we understand the love that this Man shows us. But this love which, by its excess, surpasses our knowledge, is the concrete and tangible expression of the Divine love. The Heart of Jesus pierced upon the Cross reveals to us Christ's human love; but beneath the veil of the humanity of Jesus is shown the ineffable and incomprehensible love of the Word.

What a wide perspective this devotion opens out to us! How powerful it is to attract the faithful soul! For it gives us the means of honouring what is the greatest, the highest, the most efficacious in Christ Jesus, the Incarnate Word: the love that He bears to the world, the love of which His Heart is the furnace . . .


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III

Love is active: it is of its nature overflowing. In Jesus, love can but be for us an inexhaustible source of gifts.

In the collect for the Feast of the Sacred Heart, the Church invites us to call to mind the principal benefits that we owe to the love of Jesus Christ: Praecipua in nos caritatis ejus beneficia recolimus. This contemplation is one of the elements of devotion to the Sacred Heart. How can we pay honour to a love of which we do not know the manifestations?

This love, as we have said, is the human love of Jesus, the revelation of the uncreated love. To this uncreated love, which is common to the Father and the Holy Spirit, we owe everything. There is no gift which does nto find its most profound principle in this love. Who drew beings out of nothing? Love. We sing in the hymn for the feast (Hymn for Vespers): "The earth, the sea, the stars are the work of love":

Ille amor almus artifex
Terrae marisque et siderum.


Yet more than the creation, the Incarnation is due to love. Love caused the Word to come down from the splendours of heaven in order to assume a mortal body:

Amor coegit te tuus
Mortale corpus sumere.


But the benefits which we ought especially to recall, are the redemption through the Passion, the institution of the Sacraments, above all of the Eucharist. It is to the human love of Jesus as well as to His uncreated love that we owe them.

We have seen, in contemplating these mysteries, what deep and ardent love they manifest. Our Lord Himself has said that there is no greater act of love for a man than to give his life for his friends. He Himself has gone as far as this: many virtues shine out in His blessed Passion, but love most of all. It needed nothing less than an excess of love to plunge voluntarily into the abysses of humiliation and opprobrium, of suffering and sorrow, in each phase of the Passion.

And in the same way as love wrought our redemption, so it was love that established the sacraments whereby the fruits of the sacrifice of Jesus are to be applied to every soul of good will.

St. Augustine (Tract in Joan. 120:2) is pleased to recall the expression purposely chosen by the Evangelist concerning the wound made by the lance in the side of Jesus dead upon the Cross. The sacred writer does not say that the lance "struck", or "wounded", but that it "opened" the Saviour's side: Latus ejus aperuit (Jn. 19:34): It was the gate of life that was opened, says the great Doctor; from the pierced Heart of Jesus rivers of graces were to be poured out upon the world to sanctify the Church.

This contemplation of the benefits of Jesus towards us ought to become the source of our practical devotion to the Sacred Heart. Love alone can respond to love. Of what does our Saviour complain to St. Margaret Mary? Of the lack of love in return for His love. "Behold this Heart that has so loved men and which receives from them only ingratitude." It is then by love, by the gift of the heart that we should respond to Christ Jesus. "Who will not love in return the one Who loves him? Who being redeemed will not love his Redeemer?"

Quis non amantem redamet?
Quis non redemptis diligat?
(Hymn of Lauds for the Feast of the Sacred Heart)

This love to be perfect must bear a twofold character.

There is affective love; it consists in the different feelings which move the heart towards a person loved: admiration, complacency, joy, thanksgiving. This love gives birth to praise. We rejoice in the perfections of the Heart of Jesus, we celebrate Its beauties, and grandeurs, we delight in the magnificence of Its benefits: Exultabunt labia mea cum cantavero tibi (Ps. 70:23)!

This affective love is necessary. In contemplating Christ in His love, the soul should give vent to her admiration, complacency, joy. Why so? Because we ought to love God with all our being; God wishes that our love towards Him should be conformable to our nature. Now our nature is not that of the Angels, ours is a human nature wherein the feelings have their part. Christ Jesus accepts this form of love, because it is based upon our nature, which He Himself created. See Him, at the time of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a few days before His Passion:
Quote:"When He was now coming near the descent of Mount Olivet, the whole multitude of His disciples began with joy to praise God with a loud voice, for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: Blessed be the King Who cometh in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven, and glory on high! And some of the Pharisees, from amongst the multitude, said to Him: Master, rebuke Thy disciples." And what does Our Lord answer? Does He silence these acclamations? On the contrary he replies to the Pharisees: "I say to you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out" (Lk. 19:37-40).

Christ Jesus is pleased with the praises that burst forth from the heart to the lips. Our love ought to break out in affections. Look at the saints. Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi, was so transported with love that he sang God's praises as he went along the roads (His Life by Jorgensen, Book 2, chap. 1). Magdalen of Pazzi ran through the cloisters of the monastery, crying out: "O Love, O Love!" (Her Life by Fr. Cepart, t. II, chap. 16). Saint Theresa was thrilled with joy every time she chanted these words of the Credo: Cujus regni non erit finis: "And of His Kingdom there shall be no end" (The Way of Perfection, chap. 23). Read her "Exclamations": you will there see how the affections of human nature burst forth in ardent praise from souls possessed by love.

Let us not fear to multiply our praises of the Heart of Jesus. The Litany of the Sacred Heart, acts of reparation and of consecration are so many expressions of this affective love, without which the human soul does not reach the perfection of its nature.

Of itself alone, this affective love is, however, insufficient. To have all its value, it must be manifested by deeds: Probatio dilectionis, exhibitio operis (S. Greg. Homil. In Evang. 30:1). "If you love Me," said Jesus Himself, "keep My commandments": Si diligitis me, mandata me servate (Jn. 14:15). It is the one touchstone. You will meet souls who abound in affections, who have the gift of tears, and yet do not trouble themselves to repress their bad inclinations, to destroy their bad habits, to avoid occasions of sin; who give way as soon as temptation arises, or murmur directly contradiction and disappointments befall them. With them, affective love is full of illusions; it is a fire of straw which quickly burns away into ashes.

If we truly love Christ Jesus, not only shall we rejoice in His glory, and hymn His perfections with every impulse of our soul, not only shall we be saddened at the injuries made to His Heart, and offer Him honourable amends, but, above all, we shall strive to obey Him in all things, we shall accept readily all the dispositions of His Providence towards us, we shall work to extend His reign in souls, to procure His glory, we shall gladly spend ourselves, we shall go so far, if necessary, as to "be spent", according to the beautiful words of St. Paul: Libentissime impendam et superimpendar! (2 Cor. 12:15). The Apostle is speaking of charity towards our neighbours; applied to our love for Jesus, this formula wonderfully sums up the practice of devotion to His Sacred Heart.

Let us gaze on our Divine Saviour; in this as in every virtue, He is our best Model; we shall find in His Person two forms of love.

Consider the love that He bears towards His Father. Christ Jesus has in His Heart the truest affective love with which a human heart can beat. The Gospel one day shows us Christ's Heart, overflowing with enthusiasm for the Father's unfathomable perfections, burst forth in praise before His disciples." At the same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Ghost, and said: I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in Thy sight" (Lk. 10:21) . . .

See again at the Last Supper how His Sacred Heart is full of affection for His Father and how this affection is expressed in an ineffable prayer.

And so as to show the whole world the sincerity and intensity of this love, Ut cognoscat mundus quia diligo Patrem (Lk. 10:21), Jesus immediately goes to the Garden of Olives where He is to enter into the long series of humiliations and sorrows of His Passion.

This twofold character is found likewise in His love towards mankind. For three days, a multitude of people follow Him, drawn by the charm of His Divine words and the splendour of His miracles. But this multitude, having nothing to eat, begins to be overcome with faintness. Jesus knows this. "I have compassion on the multitude," He says, "for behold they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat. And if I shall send them fasting to their home, they will faint in the way; for some of them came from afar off": Miseror super turbam. What a deep sense of compassion moves His human Heart! And you know how Jesus puts His pity into action: in His blessed Hands, the loaves are multiplied to satisfy the hunger of the four thousand who had followed Him (Mk. 8:2-9).

Above all, see Him at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus weeps. He sheds tears, real human tears. Can there be a more touching, a more authentic manifestation of the feelings of His Heart? And at once He puts His power into the service of His love: "Lazarus, come forth" (Jn. 11:43).

It is love that is revealed in the gift of self; love which, overflowing from the heart, takes possession of the whole being and of all its activities so as to consecrate them to the interests and glory of the beloved object.

What is to be the extent of this love that we ought to show to Jesus in return for His?

It must first of all include the essential and sovereign love which makes us regard Christ and His Will as the supreme good which we prefer to all things. Practically, this love is summed up in the state of sanctifying grace. Devotion, as we have said, means devotedness; but where is the devotedness of a soul that does not seek to safeguard within her at any price, by a watchful fidelity, the treasure of our Saviour's grace? A soul who in temptation hestitates between the will of Christ Jesus and the suggestions of His eternal enemy?

As you know, it is this love which gives to our life all its value and makes of it a perpetual homage, pleasing to Christ's Heart. Without this essential love, nothing is of any worth in God's sight. Hear in what expressive terms St. Paul has laid stress on this truth: "If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing" (Cor. 13:1-3). In other words, I cannot be pleasing to God if I have not in me this essential charity by which I attach myself to Him as to the Sovereign Good. It is too evident that there cannot be true devotion where that essential love does not exist.

Secondly, let us accustom ourselves to do all things, even the smallest, in order to please Christ Jesus. To work, to accept our pains and sufferings, to fulfil our duties of state out of love, so as to be agreeable to Our Lord, in union with the dispositions of His Heart when He lived here below like us, constitutes an excellent practice of devotion towards the Sacred Heart. All our life is thus referred to him.

It is this, moreover, that gives to our life an increase of fruitfulness. As you know, every act of virtue, of humility, of obedience, of religion, done in a state of grace possesses its own merit, its special perfection, its particular splendour: but when this act is dominated by love, it gains a new efficacy and beauty; without losing anything of its own value, the merit of an act of love is added to it. The Psalmist sings to God, "the queen stood on Thy right hand, in gilded clothing: surrounded with variety": Adstitit regina a dextris tuis in vestitu deaurato, circumdata varietate (Ps. 44:10). The queen is the faithful soul in whom Christ reigns by His grace. She stands at the King's right hand, clad in a robe woven of gold which signifies love; the various colours symbolise the different virtues; each one of them keeps its own beauty, but love, which is the deep source of these virtues, enhances their splendour.

Love thus reigns as queen in our heart directing all its movements to the glory of God and of His Son Jesus.


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IV


In the same way as the Holy Spirit does not call every soul to shine in an equal manner by the same virtues, so in the matter of private devotion, He leaves them a holy liberty which we ourselves ought carefully to respect. There are souls who feel urged to honour especially the mystery of the Childhood of Jesus; others are attracted by the charms of His Hidden Life; yet others cannot turn themselves away from the meditation of the Passion.

However, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of those which should be especially dear to us. And why? Because it honours Christ Jesus not only in one of His states or particular mysteries, but in the generality and totality of His love, of that love wherein all His mysteries find their deepest meaning. Although being a clearly defined devotion, devotion to the Heart of Jesus bears something that is universal. In honouring the Heart of Christ, it is no longer to Jesus as Infant, Youth, or Victim, that our homage is especially addressed. It is on the Person of Jesus in the plenitude of His love that we especially linger.

Moreover, the general practice of this devotion tends, at the last analysis, to render to Our Lord love for love: Movet nos ad amandum mutuo (Leon XIII, I, c); to penetrate all our activity with love in order to please Christ Jesus. The special exercises of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are but so many means of expressing to our Divine Master this reciprocity of love.

Herein is a very precious effect of this devotion. For all Christian religion is summed up in the giving of ourselves, out of love, to Christ, and, through Him, to the Father and their common Spirit. This point is of capital importance, and I want, before ending this conference, to consider it with you for some moments.

It is a truth, confirmed by the experience of souls, that our spiritual life depends, in great part, on the idea that we habitually have of God.

Between us and God there are fundamental relations, based upon our nature as creatures; there exist moral relations resulting from our attitude towards Him; and this attitude is, most often, conditioned by the idea that we have of God.

If we form a false idea of God, our efforts to advance will often be vain and barren, because they will not be to the point; if we have an incomplete idea of Him, our spiritual life will be full of imperfections and shortcomings; if our idea of God is true, -----as true as is possible here below to a creature living by faith, -----our souls will expand safely in the light.

This habitual idea that we form of God is the key to our inner life, not only because it rules our conduct towards Him, but also because, in many cases, it determines God's attitude towards us: God treats us as we treat Him.

But, you will say, does not sanctifying grace make us God's children? Certainly it does; however, in practice, there are souls that do not act as the adopted children of the Eternal Father. It would seem as if their condition of children of God had only a nominal value for them; they do not understand that it is a fundamental state which requires to be constantly manifested by acts corresponding to it, and that all spiritual light ought to be the development of the spirit of Divine adoption, the spirit we receive at baptism through the virtue of Christ Jesus.

Thus, you may meet with some who habitually consider God as the Israelites regarded Him. God revealed Himself to the Israelites amidst the thunders and lightnings of Sinai (Exodus 19:16 sq.). For this "stiff-necked people" (Deut. 31:27), inclined to infidelity and idolatry, God was only a Lord Who must be adored, a Master Who must be served, a Judge Who must be feared. The Israelites had received, as St. Paul says, "the spirit of bondage in fear": Spiritum sevitutis in timore (Rom. 8:15). God appeared to them only in the splendour of His Majesty and the sovereignty of His power. You know that He treated them with rigorous justice: the earth opened to swallow up the guilty Hebrews (Num 16:32); those who touched the ark of the covenant when their functions did not give them the right to do so were struck dead (2 Reg. 6, 6-7). Poisonous serpents destroyed the murmurers (Num. 21:5-6); scarcely dared they pronounce the name of Jehovah; once a year, the High Priest entered alone, in awe and trembling, into the Holy of Holies, armed with the blood of the victims immolated for sin (Levit. 16: 11 sq.). This was "the spirit of bondage."

There are souls that habitually live only in dispositions of purely servile fear; if they were not afraid of God's chastisement, they would not mind offending Him. They habitually regard God only as a master, and do not seek to please Him. They are like those servants Christ Jesus speaks of in the parable. A King, before going into a far country, calls his servants and confides to them some talents-----pieces of money-----which they are to trade with until his return. One of the servants lays up his talent in safety, keeping it without turning it to account. He says to the King on his return: "Lord, behold here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin. For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man; thou takest up what thou didst not lay down, and thou reapest that which thou didst not sow." And what does the King answer? He takes the negligent servant at his word. "Out of thy own mouth I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man . . . why then didst thou not give my money into the bank?" And the King commands that the money which had been given to the servant should be taken away from him (Lk. 19:12-13, 20-24).

Such souls act with God only at a distance, they treat with Him only as with a great Lord, and God treats them in consequence according to this attitude. He does not give Himself fully to them; between them and God, personal intimacy cannot exist; in them, inward expansion is impossible.

Other souls, more numerous perhaps, habitually regard God as a great benefactor; they act as a rule only in view of the reward: Proper retributionem (Ps. 118:112). This working in view of the recompense is not a false idea. We see Christ Jesus compare His Father to a Master who rewards,----- and with what magnificent liberality!----- the faithful servant: "Enter into the joy of thy Lord" (Mt. 25:21). He Himself tells us that He ascends into Heaven to prepare a place for us (Jn. 14:2).

But when, as happens with certain souls, this attitude is habitual to the point of becoming exclusive, besides being wanting in nobility, it does not fully respond to the spirit of the Gospel. Hope is a Christian virtue, it powerfully sustains the soul in the midst of adversity, trial and temptation; but it is not the most perfect of the theological virtues, which are the specific virtues of our condition as children of God. Which is then the most perfect virtue? Which is the one who carries the palm? It is, replies St. Paul, charity: Nunc manent fides, spes, caritas, tria haec: major auiem horum est caritas (1 Cor. 13:13).


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V

This is why, without losing view of the fear of outraging God Who created us, although this must not be the fear of the slave who dreads punishment; without putting aside the thought of the reward which awaits us, if we are faithful, we ought to seek to have habitually towards God that attitude, composed of filial confidence and love, which Christ Jesus revealed to us as being that of the New Covenant.

Christ, indeed, knows better than anyone what our relations with God ought to be, He knows the Divine secrets. If we listen to Him we do not run any risk of going astray: He is Truth itself. Now, what attitude does He want us to have with God? Under what aspect does He want us to contemplate and adore Him? Undoubtedly, He teaches us that God is the Supreme Master Whom we must adore: "It is written: Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Deut. 6:13; Lk 4:8). But this God Whom we must adore is a Father: Veri adoratores adorabunt Patrem in spiritu et veritate, nam et Pater tales quaerit qui adorent eum (Jn. 4:23).

Is adoration the only disposition which we ought to have in our heart? Does it constitute the one attitude which we must have towards this Father Who is God? No, Christ Jesus adds thereto love, and a love that is full, perfect, without reserve or restriction. When Jesus was asked which was the greatest of the commandments what did He answer? "Thou shalt love" (Mk. 12:30): love of complacency towards this Lord of such great majesty, towards this God of such high perfection; love of benevolence which seeks to procure the glory of the One Who is the object of this love; love of reciprocity towards a God Who "hath first loved us" (1 Jn. 4:10).

It is God's will that our relations with Him should be impregnated at the same time with filial reverence and profound love. Without reverence, love runs the risk of degenerating into a liberty of the wrong kind, a most dangerous want of restraint; without the love which lifts us up on its wings to our Father, the soul lives in error, and outrages the Divine gift.

And so as to safeguard within us these two dispositions of reverence and love, which may seem contradictory, God communicates to us the Spirit of His Son Jesus, Who, by His gifts of fear and piety, harmonises within us, in the proportion that they require, the most intimate adoration and most tender love: Quoniam estis filii, misit Deus spiritum Filii sui in corda vestra (Gal. 4:6).

According to the teaching of Jesus Himself, this Spirit ought to govern the direct all our life: it is "the Spirit of adoption" of the New Covenant, which St. Paul contrasts with "the spirit of bondage" of the Old Law.

You will perhaps ask the reason of this difference? It is because, since the Incarnation, God sees all humanity in His Son Jesus; on account of Him, He envelops entire humanity in the same look of complacency of which His Son, our Elder Brother, is the object. This is why He wishes that like Him, with Him, through Him, we should live as his "most dear children": Sicut filii carissimi (Eph. 5:1).

You may say too: And how are we to love God Whom we do not see: Deum nemo vidit unquam? (Jn. 1:18). It is true that here below the Divine light is inaccessible (1 Tim. 6:16); but God reveals Himself to us in His Son Jesus: Ipse illuxit cordibus nostris … in facie Christi Jesu (2 Cor. 4:6). The Incarnate Word is the authentic revelation of God and of His perfections; and the love that Christ shows us is but the manifestation of the love that God has for us.

The love of God indeed is in itself incomprehensible; it is completely beyond us; it has not entered into the mind of man to conceive what God is; His perfections are not distinct from His nature: the love of God is God Himself: Deus caritas est (Jn. 4:8).

How then shall we have a true idea of God's love? In seeing God as He manifests Himself to us under a tangible form. And what is this form? It is the Humanity of Jesus. Christ is God, but God revealing Himself to us. The contemplation of the Sacred Humanity of Jesus is the surest way for arriving at the true knowledge of God. He that seeth Him, seeth the Father (Cf. Jn. 14:9); the love that the Incarnate Word shows us, reveals the Father's love towards us, for the Word and the Father are but One: Ego et Pater unum sumus (Jn. 10:30).

This order once established does not change. Christianity is the love of God manifested to the world through Christ, and all our religion ought to be resumed in contemplating this love in Christ, and in responding to the love of Christ so that we may thereby attain to God.

Such is the Divine plan; such is the thought of God concerning us. If we do not adapt ourselves to it, there will be for us neither light nor truth; there will be neither security nor salvation.

Now, the essential attitude that this Divine plan requires of us is that of adopted children. We still remain beings drawn out of nothing, and before this Father of an incommensurable majesty (Hymn Te Deum) we ought to cast ourselves down in humblest reverence; but to these fundamental relations which arise from our conditions as creatures, are superposed, not to destroy but to crown them, relations infinitely higher, wider and more intimate which result from our Divine adoption, that are all summed up in the service of God through love.

This fundamental attitude responding to the reality of our heavenly adoption is particularly furthered by devotion to the Heart of Jesus. In causing us to contemplate the human love of Christ for us, this devotion admits us into the secret of Divine love; in inclining our souls to answer to it by a life whereof love is the motive power, it maintains in us those dispositions of filial piety which we ought to have towards the Father.

When we receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, we possess within us that Divine Heart which is a furnace of love. Let us ask Him earnestly that He will Himself grant us to understand this love, for, in this, one ray from on high is more efficacious than all human reasoning; let us ask Him to enkindle within us the love of His Person. "If, by Our Lord's grace," says St. Teresa, "His love is imprinted one day in our heart, all will become easy to us; very rapidly and without trouble we shall come this means to the works of love" (Life written by herself, chap. 22."Begin to love the Person (of Christ): the love of the Person will make you love the doctrine, and the love of the doctrine will lead you gently and mightily to the practice. Do not neglect to study Jesus Christ and to meditate upon His mysteries; it is this that will inspire you to love Him; the desire to pleas Him will hence follow and this desire will bear fruit in good works." Bossuet. Meditations upon the Gospel. The Last Supper, First Part, 89th day).

If this love for the Person of Jesus is in our heart, our activity will spring forth from it. We may meet with difficulties, be subject to great trials, undergo violent temptations; if we love Christ Jesus, these difficulties, these trials, these temptations will find us steadfast: Aquae multae non potuerunt exstinguere caritatem (Cant. 8:7). For when the love of Christ urges us we shall not wish any longer to live for oursleves, but for Him Who loved us and delivered Himself up for us: Ut et qui vivunt, jam non sibi vivant sed ei qui pro ipsis mortuus est (2 Cor. 5:15).


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Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Feast of the Sacred Heart

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The Friday that follows the Second Sunday after Pentecost is the Feast of the Sacred Heart which brings to mind all the attributes of His Divine Heart. Many Catholics prepare for this Feast by beginning a Novena to the Sacred Heart on the Feast of Corpus Christi, which is the Thursday of the week before. On the Feast of the Sacred Heart itself, we can gain a plenary indulgence by making an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart.

Quote:O sweet Jesus, Whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thy altar eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries, to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.

Mindful alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation not only for our own personal offences, but also for the sins of those, who straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the vows of their Baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law.

We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are determined to make amends for the manifold offences against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behaviour, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violation of Sundays and holidays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of Thy Divine love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and the teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.

Would, O Divine Jesus, we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy Divine honour, the satisfaction Thou didst once make to Thy eternal Father on the Cross and which Thou dost continue to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make reparation, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth we will live a life of unwavering faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.
O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where Thou with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Feast of the Sacred Heart


June 28, 2019




June 20, 2020




June 11, 2021



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Other sermons of Fr. Hewko's on the Sacred Heart of Our Lord (often for First Friday's) can be found here.
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#5
From the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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The treatment of this subject is divided into two parts:
  • Doctrinal explanations
  • Historical ideas

Doctrinal explanations

Devotion to the Sacred Heart is but a special form of devotion to Jesus. We shall know just what it is and what distinguishes it when we ascertain its object, its foundations, and its proper act.


Special object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart

The nature of this question is complex and frequently becomes more complicated because of the difficulties arising from terminology. Omitting terms that are over-technical, we shall study the ideas in themselves, and, that we may the sooner find our bearings, it will be well to remember the meaning and use of the word heart in current language.

(a) The word heart awakens, first of all, the idea of a material heart, of the vital organ that throbs within our bosom, and which we vaguely realize as intimately connected not only with our own physical, but with our emotional and moral life. Now this heart of flesh is currently accepted as the emblem of the emotion and moral life with which we associate it, and hence the place assigned to the word heart in symbolic language, as also the use of the same word to designate those things symbolized by the heart. Note, for instance, the expressions "to open one's heart", "to give one's heart", etc. It may happen that the symbol becomes divested of its material meaning that the sign is overlooked in beholding only the thing signified. Thus, in current language, the word soul no longer suggests the thought of breath, and the word heart brings to mind only the idea of courage and love. But this is perhaps a figure of speech or a metaphor, rather than a symbol. A symbol is a real sign, whereas a metaphor is only a verbal sign; a symbol is a thing that signifies another thing, but a metaphor is a word used to indicate something different from its proper meaning. Finally, in current language, we are constantly passing from the part to the whole, and, by a perfectly natural figure of speech, we use the word heart to designate a person. These ideas will aid us in determining the object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

(b) The question lies between the material, the metaphorical, and the symbolic sense of the word heart; whether the object of the devotion is the Heart of flesh, as such, or the love of Jesus Christ metaphorically signified by the word heart; or the Heart of flesh, but as symbol of the emotional and moral life of Jesus, and especially His love for us. We reply that worship is rightly paid to the Heart of flesh, inasmuch as the latter symbolizes and recalls the love of Jesus, and His emotional and moral life. Thus, although directed to the material Heart, it does not stop there: it also includes love, that love which is its principal object, but which it reaches only in and through the Heart of flesh, the sign and symbol of this love. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus alone, as to a noble part of His Divine Body, would not be devotion to the Sacred Heart as understood and approved by the Church, and the same must also be said of devotion to the love of Jesus as detached from His Heart of flesh, or else connected therewith by no other tie than that of a word taken in the metaphorical sense. Hence, in the devotion, there are two elements: a sensible element, the Heart of flesh, and a spiritual element, that which this Heart of flesh recalls and represents. But these two elements do not form two distinct objects, merely co-ordinated they constitute but one, just as do the body and soul, and the sign and the thing signified. Hence it is also understood that these two elements are as essential to the devotion as body and soul are essential to man. Of the two elements constituting the whole, the principal one is love, which is as much the cause of the devotion and its reason for existence as the soul is the principal element in man. Consequently, devotion to the Sacred Heart may be defined as devotion to the adorable Heart of Jesus Christ in so far as this Heart represents and recalls His love; or, what amounts to the same thing, devotion to the love of Jesus Christ in so far as this love is recalled and symbolically represented to us by His Heart of flesh.

© Hence the devotion is based entirely upon the symbolism of the heart. It is this symbolism that imparts to its meaning and its unity, and this symbolism is admirably completed by the representation of the Heart as wounded. Since the Heart of Jesus appears to us as the sensible sign of His love, the visible wound in the Heart will naturally recall the invisible wound of this love. This symbolism also explains that the devotion, although giving the Heart an essential place, is but little concerned with the anatomy of the heart or with physiology. Since, in images of the Sacred Heart, the symbolic expression must dominate all else, anatomical accuracy is not looked for; it would injure the devotion by rendering the symbolism less evident. It is eminently proper that the heart as an emblem be distinguished from the anatomical heart: the suitableness of the image is favourable to the expression of the idea. A visible heart is necessary for an image of the Sacred Heart, but this visible heart must be a symbolic heart. Similar observations are in order for physiology, in which the devotion cannot be totally disinterested, because the Heart of Flesh toward which the worship is directed in order to read therein the love of Jesus, is the Heart of Jesus, the real, living Heart that, in all truth, may be said to have loved and suffered; the Heart that, as we feel ourselves, had such a share in His emotional and moral life; the Heart that, as we know from a knowledge, however rudimentary, of the operations of our human life, had such a part in the operations of the Master's life. But the relation of the Heart to the love of Christ is not that of a purely conventional sign, as in the relation of the word to the thing, or of the flag to the idea of one's country; this Heart has been and is still inseparably connected with that life of benefactions and love. However, it is sufficient for our devotion that we know and feel this intimate connection. We have nothing to do with the physiology of the Sacred Heart nor with determining the exact functions of the heart in daily life. We know that the symbolism of the heart is a symbolism founded upon reality and that it constitutes the special object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, which devotion is in no danger of falling into error.

(d) The heart is, above all, the emblem of love, and by this characteristic, the devotion to the Sacred Heart is naturally defined. However, being directed to the loving Heart of Jesus, it naturally encounters whatever in Jesus is connected with this love. Now, was not this love the motive of all that Christ did and suffered? Was not all His inner, even more than His outward, life dominated by this love? On the other hand, the devotion to the Sacred Heart, being directed to the living Heart of Jesus, thus becomes familiar with the whole inner life of the Master, with all His virtues and sentiments, finally, with Jesus infinitely loving and lovable. Hence, a first extension of the devotion is from the loving Heart to the intimate knowledge of Jesus, to His sentiments and virtues, to His whole emotional and moral life; from the loving Heart to all the manifestations of Its love. There is still another extension which, although having the same meaning, is made in another way, that is by passing from the Heart to the Person, a transition which, as we have seen, is very naturally made. When speaking of a large heart our allusion is to the person, just as when we mention the Sacred Heart we mean Jesus. This is not, however, because the two are synonymous but when the word heart is used to designate the person, it is because such a person is considered in whatsoever related to his emotional and moral life. Thus, when we designate Jesus as the Sacred Heart, we mean Jesus manifesting His Heart, Jesus all loving and amiable. Jesus entire is thus recapitulated in the Sacred Heart as all is recapitulated in Jesus.

(e) In thus devoting oneself to Jesus all loving and lovable, one cannot fail to observe that His love is rejected. God is constantly lamenting that in Holy Writ, and the saints have always heard within their hearts the plaint of unrequited love. Indeed one of the essential phases of the devotion is that it considers the love of Jesus for us as a despised, ignored love. He Himself revealed this when He complained so bitterly to St. Margaret Mary.

(f) This love is everywhere manifest in Jesus and in His life, and it alone can explain Him together with His words and His acts. Nevertheless, it shines forth more resplendently in certain mysteries from which great good accrues to us, and in which Jesus is more lavish of His loving benefactions and more complete in His gift of self, namely, in the Incarnation, in the Passion, and in the Eucharist. Moreover, these mysteries have a place apart in the devotion which, everywhere seeking Jesus and the signs of His love and favours, finds them here to an even greater extent than in particular acts.

(g) We have already seen that devotion to the Sacred Heart, being directed to the Heart of Jesus as the emblem of love, has mainly in view His love for men. This is obviously not that it excludes His love for God, for this included in His love for men, but it is above all the devotion to "the Heart that has so loved men", according to the words quoted by St. Margaret Mary.

(h) Finally, the question arises as to whether the love which we honour in this devotion is that with which Jesus loves us as Man or that with which He loves us as God; whether it is created or uncreated, His human or His Divine Love. Undoubtedly it is the love of God made Man, the love of the Incarnate Word. However, it does not seem that devout persons think of separating these two loves any more than they separate the two natures in Jesus. Besides, even though we might wish to settle this part of the question at any cost, we would find that the opinions of authors are at variance. Some, considering that the Heart of Flesh is connected with human love only, conclude that it does not symbolize Divine love which, moreover, is not proper to the Person of Jesus, and that, therefore, Divine love is not the direct object of the devotion. Others, while admitting that Divine love apart from the Incarnate Word is not the object of the devotion, believe it to be such when considered as the love of the Incarnate Word, and they do not see why this love also could not be symbolized by the Heart of flesh nor why, in this event, the devotion should be limited to created love only.


Foundations of the devotion

The question may be considered under three aspects: the historical, the theological, and the scientific.

(a) Historical foundations

In approving the devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Church did not trust to the visions of St. Margaret Mary; she made abstraction of these and examined the worship in itself. Margaret Mary's visions could be false, but the devotion would not, on that account, be any less worthy or solid. However, the fact is that the devotion was propagated chiefly under the influence of the movement started at Paray-le-Monial; and prior to her beatification, Margaret Mary's visions were most critically examined by the Church, whose judgment in such cases does not involve her infallibility but implies only a human certainty sufficient to warrant consequent speech and action.

(b) Theological foundations

The Heart of Jesus, like all else that belongs to His Person, is worthy of adoration, but this would not be so if It were considered as isolated from this Person and as having no connection with It. But it is not thus that the Heart is considered, and, in his Bull "Auctorem fidei", 1794, Pius VI authoritatively vindicated the devotion in this respect against the calumnies of the Jansenists. The worship, although paid to the Heart of Jesus, extends further than the Heart of flesh, being directed to the love of which this Heart is the living and expressive symbol. On this point the devotion requires no justification, as it is to the Person of Jesus that it is directed; but to the Person as inseparable from His Divinity. Jesus, the living apparition of the goodness of God and of His paternal love, Jesus infinitely loving and amiable, studied in the principal manifestations of His love, is the object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, as indeed He is the object of the Christian religion. The difficulty lies in the union of the heart and love, in the relation which the devotion supposes between the one and the other. Is not this an error long since discarded? If so, it remains to examine whether the devotion, considered in this respect, is well founded.

© Philosophical and scientific foundations

In this respect there has been some uncertainty amongst theologians, not as regards the basis of things, but in the matter of explanations. Sometimes they have spoken as if the heart were the organ of love, but this point has no bearing on the devotion, for which it suffices that the heart be the symbol of love, and that, for the basis of the symbolism, a real connection exist between the heart and the emotions. Now, the symbolism of the heart is a fact and every one feels that in the heart there is a sort of an echo of our sentiments. The physiological study of this resonance may be very interesting, but it is in no wise necessary to the devotion, as its foundation is a fact attested by daily experience, a fact which physiological study confirms and of which it determines the conditions, but which neither supposes this study nor any special acquaintance with its subject.


The proper act of the devotion

This act is required by the very object of the devotion, since devotion to the love of Jesus for us should be pre-eminently a devotion of love for Jesus. It is characterized by a reciprocation of love; its aim is to love Jesus who has so loved us, to return love for love. Since, moreover, the love of Jesus manifests itself to the devout soul as a love despised and outraged, especially in the Eucharist, the love expressed in the devotion naturally assumes a character of reparation, and hence the importance of acts of atonement, the Communion of reparation, and compassion for Jesus suffering. But no special act, no practice whatever, can exhaust the riches of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. The love which is its soul embraces all and, the better one understands it, the more firmly is he convinced that nothing can vie with it for making Jesus live in us and for bringing him who lives by it to love God, in union with Jesus, with all his heart, all his soul, all his strength.


Historical ideas on the development of the devotion

(1) From the time of St. John and St. Paul there has always been in the Church something like devotion to the love of God, Who so loved the world as to give it His only-begotten Son, and to the love of Jesus, Who has so loved us as to deliver Himself up for us. But, accurately speaking, this is not the devotion to the Sacred Heart, as it pays no homage to the Heart of Jesus as the symbol of His love for us. From the earliest centuries, in accordance with the example of the Evangelist, Christ's open side and the mystery of blood and water were meditated upon, and the Church was beheld issuing from the side of Jesus, as Eve came forth from the side of Adam. But there is nothing to indicate that, during the first ten centuries, any worship was rendered the wounded Heart.

(2) It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that we find the first unmistakable indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Through the wound in the side the wounded Heart was gradually reached, and the wound in the Heart symbolized the wound of love. It was in the fervent atmosphere of the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries, in the world of Anselmian or Bernardine thought, that the devotion arose, although it is impossible to say positively what were its first texts or were its first votaries. To St. Gertrude, St. Mechtilde, and the author of the "Vitis mystica" it was already well known. We cannot state with certainty to whom we are indebted for the "Vitis mystica". Until recent times its authorship had generally been ascribed to St. Bernard and yet, by the late publishers of the beautiful and scholarly Quaracchi edition, it has been attributed, and not without plausible reasons, to St. Bonaventure ("S. Bonaventura opera omnia", 1898, VIII, LIII sq.). But, be this as it may, it contains one of the most beautiful passages that ever inspired the devotion to the Sacred Heart, one appropriated by the Church for the lessons of the second nocturn of the feast. To St. Mechtilde (d. 1298) and St. Gertrude (d. 1302) it was a familiar devotion which was translated into many beautiful prayers and exercises. What deserves special mention is the vision of St. Gertrude on the feast of St. John the Evangelist, as it forms an epoch in the history of the devotion. Allowed to rest her head near the wound in the Saviour's she heard the beating of the Divine Heart and asked John if, on the night of the Last Supper, he too had felt these delightful pulsations, why he had never spoken of the fact. John replied that this revelation had been reserved for subsequent ages when the world, having grown cold, would have need of it to rekindle its love ("Legatus divinae pietatis", IV, 305; "Revelationes Gertrudianae", ed. Poitiers and Paris, 1877).

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(3) From the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, the devotion was propagated but it did not seem to have developed in itself. It was everywhere practised by privileged souls, and the lives of the saints and annals of different religious congregations, of the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carthusians, etc., furnish many examples of it. It was nevertheless a private, individual devotion of the mystical order. Nothing of a general movement had been inaugurated, unless one would so regard the propagation of the devotion to the Five Wounds, in which the Wound in the Heart figured most prominently, and for the furtherance of which the Franciscans seem to have laboured.

(4) It appears that in the sixteenth century, the devotion took an onward step and passed from the domain of mysticism into that of Christian asceticism. It was constituted an objective devotion with prayers already formulated and special exercises of which the value was extolled and the practice commended. This we learn from the writings of those two masters of the spiritual life, the pious Lanspergius (d. 1539) of the Carthusians of Cologne, and the devout Louis of Blois (Blosius; 1566), a Benedictine and Abbot of Liessies in Hainaut. To these may be added Blessed John of Avila (d. 1569) and St. Francis de Sales, the latter belonging to the seventeenth century.

(5) From that time everything betokened an early bringing to light of the devotion. Ascetic writers spoke of it, especially those of the Society of Jesus, Alvarez de Paz, Luis de la Puente, Saint-Jure, and Nouet, and there still exist special treatises upon it such as Father Druzbicki's (d. 1662) small work, "Meta Cordium, Cor Jesu". Amongst the mystics and pious souls who practised the devotion were St. Francis Borgia, Blessed Peter Canisius, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, and St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, of the Society of Jesus; also Venerable Marina de Escobar (d. 1633), in Spain; the Venerable Madeleine St. Joseph and the Venerable Marguerite of the Blessed Sacrament, Carmelites, in France; Jeanne de S. Mathieu Deleloe (d. 1660), a Benedictine, in Belgium; the worthy Armelle of Vannes (d. 1671); and even in Jansenistic or worldly centres, Marie de Valernod (d. 1654) and Angélique Arnauld; M. Boudon, the great archdeacon of Evreux, Father Huby, the apostle of retreats in Brittany, and, above all, the Venerable Marie de l'Incarnation, who died at Quebec in 1672. The Visitation seemed to be awaiting St. Margaret Mary; its spirituality, certain intuitions of St. Francis de Sales, the meditations of Mère l'Huillier (d. 1655), the visions of Mother Anne-Marguerite Clément (d. 1661), and of Sister Jeanne-Bénigne Gojos (d. 1692), all paved the way. The image of the Heart of Jesus was everywhere in evidence, which fact was largely due to the Franciscan devotion to the Five Wounds and to the habit formed by the Jesuits of placing the image on their title-page of their books and the walls of their churches.

(6) Nevertheless, the devotion remained an individual or at least a private devotion. It was reserved to Blessed Jean Eudes (1602-1680) to make it public, to honour it with an Office, and to establish a feast for it. Père Eudes was above all the apostle of the Heart of Mary; but in his devotion to the Immaculate Heart there was a share for the Heart of Jesus. Little by little the devotion to the Sacred Heart became a separate one, and on 31 August, 1670, the first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated with great solemnity in the Grand Seminary of Rennes. Coutances followed suit on 20 October, a day with which the Eudist feast was thenceforth to be connected. The feast soon spread to other dioceses, and the devotion was likewise adopted in various religious communities. Here and there it came into contact with the devotion begun at Paray, and a fusion of the two naturally resulted.

(7) It was to Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a humble Visitandine of the monastery at Paray-le-Monial, that Christ chose to reveal the desires of His Heart and to confide the task of imparting new life to the devotion. There is nothing to indicate that this pious religious had known the devotion prior to the revelations, or at least that she had paid any attention to it. These revelations were numerous, and the following apparitions are especially remarkable: that which occurred on the feast of St. John, when Jesus permitted Margaret Mary, as He had formerly allowed St. Gertrude, to rest her head upon His Heart, and then disclosed to her the wonders of His love, telling her that He desired to make them known to all mankind and to diffuse the treasures of His goodness, and that He had chosen her for this work (27 Dec., probably 1673); that, probably distinct from the preceding, in which He requested to be honoured under the figure of His Heart of flesh; that, when He appeared radiant with love and asked for a devotion of expiatory love — frequent Communion, Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour (probably June or July, 1674); that known as the "great apparition" which took place during the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, probably on 16 June, when He said, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men . . . instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude . . .", and asked her for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, bidding her consult Father de la Colombière, then superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray; and finally, those in which solemn homage was asked on the part of the king, and the mission of propagating the new devotion was especially confided to the religious of the Visitation and the priests of the Society of Jesus. A few days after the "great apparition", of June, 1675, Margaret Mary made all known to Father de la Colombière, and the latter, recognizing the action of the spirit of God, consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart, directed the holy Visitandine to write an account of the apparition, and made use of every available opportunity discreetly to circulate this account through France and England. At his death, 15 February 1682, there was found in his journal of spiritual retreats a copy in his own handwriting of the account that he had requested of Margaret Mary, together with a few reflections on the usefulness of the devotion. This journal, including the account and a beautiful "offering" to the Sacred Heart, in which the devotion was well explained, was published at Lyons in 1684. The little book was widely read, even at Paray, although not without being the cause of "dreadful confusion" to Margaret Mary, who, nevertheless, resolved to make the best of it and profited by the book for the spreading of her cherished devotion. Moulins, with Mother de Soudeilles, Dijon, with Mother de Saumaise and Sister Joly, Semur, with Mother Greyfié, and even Paray, which had at first resisted, joined the movement. Outside of the Visitandines, priests, religious, and laymen espoused the cause, particularly a Capuchin, Margaret Mary's two brothers, and some Jesuits, among the latter being Fathers Croiset and Gallifet, who were destined to do so much for the devotion.

(8) The death of Margaret Mary, 17 October 1690, did not dampen the ardour of those interested; on the contrary, a short account of her life published by Father Croiset in 1691, as an appendix to his book "De la Dévotion au Sacré Cœur", served only to increase it. In spite of all sorts of obstacles, and of the slowness of the Holy See, which in 1693 imparted indulgences to the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart and, in 1697, granted the feast to the Visitandines with the Mass of the Five Wounds, but refused a feast common to all, with special Mass and Office, the devotion spread, particularly in religious communities. The Marseilles plague, 1720, furnished perhaps the first occasion for a solemn consecration and public worship outside of religious communities. Other cities of the South followed the example of Marseilles, and thus the devotion became a popular one. In 1726 it was deemed advisable once more to importune Rome for a feast with a Mass and Office of its own, but, in 1729, Rome again refused. However, in 1765, it finally yielded and that same year, at the request of the queen, the feast was received quasi officially by the episcopate of France. On all sides it was asked for and obtained, and finally, in 1856, at the urgent entreaties of the French bishops, Pope Pius IX extended the feast to the universal Church under the rite of double major. In 1889 it was raised by the Church to the double rite of first class. The acts of consecration and of reparation were everywhere introduced together with the devotion. Oftentimes, especially since about 1850, groups, congregations, and States have consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart, and, in 1875, this consecration was made throughout the Catholic world. Still the pope did not wish to take the initiative or to intervene. Finally, on 11 June, 1899, by order of Leo XIII, and with the formula prescribed by him, all mankind was solemnly consecrated to the Sacred Heart. The idea of this act, which Leo XIII called "the great act" of his pontificate, had been proposed to him by a religious of the Good Shepherd from Oporto (Portugal) who said that she had received it from Christ Himself. She was a member of the Drost-zu-Vischering family, and known in religion as Sister Mary of the Divine Heart. She died on the feast of the Sacred Heart, two days before the consecration, which had been deferred to the following Sunday. Whilst alluding to these great public manifestations we must not omit referring to the intimate life of the devotion in souls, to the practices connected with it, and to the works and associations of which it was the very life. Moreover, we must not overlook the social character which it has assumed particularly of late years. The Catholics of France, especially, cling firmly to it as one of their strongest hopes of ennoblement and salvation.

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"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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