Wednesday, August 15, 2018

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary on August 15 has been a part of Christian faith-tradition from the earliest centuries. This feast emphasizes the universal dimensions of Mary’s role in God’s plan of salvation. We do not celebrate her exaltation in the sense of a removal from us, but as the fulfillment of what we all are called to be.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII defined Mary's Assumption into heaven as a dogma of Roman Catholicism: "the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven." The proclamation of this dogma was made in the encyclical: Munificentissimus Deus. After entering heaven, Mary has remained active in the life of the Church.

This feast of Mary celebrates a special privilege of Mary, our Mother. The Assumption means that she entered into the glory of heaven not only with her soul, but also with her body. The Son of God took His Body from Mary's pure womb. It was fitting, then, that her body should be glorified as soon as her life here on earth was ended.

Now Mary is in heaven. She is Queen of heaven and earth. She is the Mother of Jesus' Church and Queen of apostles. Every time Mary asks Jesus to give us graces, He listens to her request.

After the resurrection from the dead, we, too, can go to heaven with our bodies. If we use our bodies now to do good, those  bodies will share in our heavenly reward.

After the resurrection, our bodies will be perfect. They will not be subject to illness anymore. They will not need any more food and drink to keep alive. They will be able to go every place without time or effort. They will be beautiful and splendid!


Let us not forget our dear Mother!
And still go to Mass or at least watch it on TV or Internet for those that are house bound .... and PLEASE don't forget to pray your ROSARY!



"Thank you Most Pure Mother for soiling your feet on the earth again and again to bring us Jesus and to lead us to Jesus. I praise your love and mercy that flows to us through your Flame of Love directly from the Source of Divine Mercy. I thank you for never giving up on us. Lead all souls to heaven, Beloved Mother, especially those God has given us to pray for, and especially those most in need of God's mercy. Amen." ~Janet Klasson


DAILY ROSARIES PLEASE!!!!
(Along with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy & the Chaplet of Unity)
The door of MERCY  has already closed! But we can still pray for our friends and relatives that have turned lukewarm or left the Faith! Mercy will soon be over and then comes JUDGEMENT. Do you think that the centennial of Fatima, the locution that Pope Leo had, the Jubilee Year of Mercy, and all the signs in the sky are  coincidental? God put us in this place in history for a REASON. We BEST get crackin' on the main objective which is still the same as it has been always ..... " LEAD ALL SOULS TO HEAVEN"!!!!
PLEASE! Pray for the martyrs in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, India, the Ukraine and all Muslim and Communist countries! 
Read: Revelation 6:10-11


Father Bourdaloue, a famous preacher of the 17th century French court, said in a sermon on the Assumption:

Never was there a death more precious in the sight of God than that of the Virgin, because there was never a life more filled with merits than Hers. The death of the Blessed Virgin was precious not only by the merits which preceded it, but also by the graces and favors which accompanied it. But what made it precious in God's sight is above all the dispositions of mind and heart with which She received it... What then was Her disposition of mind? She envisaged death in the light of the purest faith, as the fulfillment of her wishes, as the means of being promptly reunited with Her Son and Her God, whose absence had for so long been a source of sorrow for Her. Her disposition of heart? Seeing death in this light, She desired it with all the ardor of the most fervent charity. Far more fervently than Saint Paul She longed to be disengaged from the bonds of the flesh, to live with Jesus Christ...

The bishop of Meaux, Bossuet, preaches in the same vein: If the great Apostle wants to break the bonds of the flesh to go to meet his Master at the Father's right hand, what must the emotion of a maternal heart be? ... And what regret had the Virgin not experienced, seeing Herself separated for so long from a Son whom She loved as She alone could love? ... She prayed, Ah, my Lord! permit my love to act! It will soon detach my soul from my mortal body, and transport me to You, in whom alone I live.' If you believe me, holy souls, you will not labor long to seek any other cause for Her death. This love, so ardent, so strong, so inflamed, could not utter a single sigh incapable of breaking all the bonds of that body; it did not send forth a single desire to heaven which did not take with it the soul of Mary. Ah! I said earlier that the death of Mary was miraculous; now I speak a little differently, and say that it is not so much Her death that is a miracle; Her death is rather the cessation of a miracle. The continuous miracle was that Mary could live, separated from Her Beloved.

We see from these texts why the departure of the soul of Our Lady is not termed a death like that of other mortals, but rather a dormition — a falling asleep in the Lord, as the early Christians called it. (Cf. Acts 7:60) All writers on the subject are unanimous — it was Her supreme love for God, nothing else, which was its cause. Tradition affirms that She knew in advance that Her departure was at hand, and prepared with incredible fervor for the holy moment, when She would hear the voice of Her Son say: Come to Your eternal repose, O blessed Mother: arise and come, You who are My Heart's friend, the most beautiful of women. The winter is over, the springtime begins; come, My all-beautiful one, My beloved; there is no stain in You; I prefer Your perfumes to all others.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Feast of the Transfiguration - August 6th

While Jesus was praying His face changed in appearance and His clothing became dazzling white. And behold two men were conversing with Him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His exodus that He was going to accomplish in Jerusalem." ~Luke 9:28-31
The event of the Transfiguration marks a decisive moment in the ministry of Jesus. It is a revelatory event which strengthens the faith in the disciples' hearts, prepares them for the tragedy of the Cross and prefigures the glory of the Resurrection. This mystery is constantly relived by the Church, the people on its way to the eschatological encounter with its Lord. Like the three chosen disciples, the Church contemplates the transfigured Face of Christ in order to be confirmed in faith and to avoid being dismayed at His disfigured Face on the Cross. In both cases, she is the Bride before her Spouse, sharing in His mystery and surrounded by His  light.

This light shines on all the Church's children. All are equally called to follow Christ to discover in Him the ultimate meaning of their lives, until they are able to say with the apostle: 'For to me, to live is Christ' (Phil. 1:21). But those who are called to the consecrated life have a special experience of the light which shines forth from the Incarnate Word. For the profession of the evangelical counsels makes them a kind of sign and prophetic statement for the community of the brethren and for the world; consequently they can echo in a particular way the ecstatic words spoken by Peter: "Lord, it is well that we are here" (Mt. 17:4). These words bespeak the Christocentric orientation of the whole Christian life. But they also eloquently express the radical nature of the vocation to the consecrated life: How good it is for us to be with you, to devote ourselves to you, to make you the one focus of our lives! Truly those who have been given the grace of this special communion of love with Christ feel as it were caught up in His splendor: He is "the fairest of the sons of men" (Ps 45:2), the One beyond compare. ~Pope John Paul II - March 1996


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Novena to our Lady of Perpetual Help June 19th- June 27th




MOTHER OF PERPETUAL HELP, you are the dispenser of every grace that God grants us in our misery. For this reason He has made you so powerful, so rich, and so kind that you might help us in our needs. You are the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners, if they but come to you. Come to my aid for I commend myself to you. In your hands I place my eternal salvation; to you I entrust my soul. Count me among your most faithful servants. Take me under your protection; that is enough for me.
If you protect me, I shall fear nothing: not my sins, because you will obtain for me their pardon and remission; not the evil spirits, because you are mightier than all the powers of Hell; not even Jesus, my Judge, because He is appeased by a single prayer from you. I fear only that through my own negligence I may forget to recommend myself to you and so lose my soul. My dear Lady, obtain for me the forgiveness of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace to have recourse to you at all times, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Say Three Hail Marys

O MOTHER OF PERPETUAL HELP, grant that I may ever invoke your most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let your name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on you, for, in all my temptations, in all my needs, I shall never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary. O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fills my soul when I utter your sacred name, or even only think of you. I thank God for having given you, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering your name; let my hope in you prompt me ever to hail you, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Immaculate Heart of Mary

The First Saturday of the month of June is devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose feast day this year falls on June 9. Every year, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost Sunday, and the following day, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Devotees pay homage and honor the “Twin Hearts” on the two successive days, by hearing Mass, saying the Rosary, going to confession, receiving communion, and performing spiritual acts of mercy.

Honoring the Immaculate Heart of Mary is honoring the Mother of God, recognizing her extraordinary holiness and the immense love and protection she bestowed on Jesus as His mother, and her sharing in her son’s redemptive suffering and death on the cross.

The devotional name Immaculate Heart of Mary refers to the interior life of the Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all the faithful.

The five first Saturdays are a widespread Marian devotion; Catholics go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and meditate for 15 minutes on the joyful, sorrowful, glorious, or luminous mystery of the Rosary. The Immaculate Heart promises, according to Catholic belief, that whoever would do this will be given at the hour of death the graces necessary for salvation.

Filipinos attach great significance to the devotion to the Blessed Mother, especially to her Immaculate Heart. They venerate her through many names – Immaculate Conception, Lady of Manaoag, Lady of the Snows, Virgin of Mt. Carmel, Miraculous Medal, Mother of Perpetual Help, Virgin of Antipolo, Ina Poong Bato, Mediatrix of all Graces, Queen of Peace, Lady of Guadalupe, and Lady of Lourdes. Every Marian festivity is a special day of prayer, floral offering, and rosary hour.

Devotion to the Twin Hearts began in the 17th century by St. Jean Eudes who organized its scriptural, theological, and liturgical sources, prior to St. Marguerite Alaconque’s vision of the Sacred Heart. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the devotions grew through the efforts of St. Louis de Montfort who promoted Catholic Mariology and St. Catherine Laboure who received the Miraculous Medal, showing the Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and the Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. Devotions and associated prayers continued into the 20th century. The devotion to the Immaculate Heart became widely known when Our Lady of Fatima appeared six times (May 13-Oct. 16, 1917) to three children Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia, and asked them to propagate the devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary.


Friday, June 8, 2018

Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Friday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost.
On this Feast Day the Church grants a plenary indulgence for making An Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart.


The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a moveable feast celebrating the love of Christ for all mankind.

How Is the Date of the Feast of the Sacred Heart Determined?

The date of the Feast of Corpus Christi was set at the request of Christ Himself, Who appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque on June 16, 1675.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on the Friday after the octave (eighth day) of the Feast of Corpus Christi. The traditional date of Corpus Christi is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which falls one week after Pentecost Sunday. Thus, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus falls 19 days after Pentecost, which is seven weeks after Easter.
In those countries, such as the United States, where the celebration of Corpus Christi is transferred to the following Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart is still celebrated 19 days after Pentecost.
Since the date of Pentecost Sunday depends on the date of Easter, which changes every year, the Feast of the Sacred Heart falls on a different date each year as well.


The Heart of Christ
By: Abbot Marmion, O.S.B.

from Christ and His Mysteries

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 fulness 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 passable 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
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.

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 honor, 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 symbolized 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 honor 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 honor 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 honor 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.

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 honor, 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 . . .

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
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: "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 Savior's grace? A soul who in temptation hesitates 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 colors symbolize the different virtues; each one of them keeps its own beauty, but love, which is the deep source of these virtues, enhances their splendor.
Love thus reigns as queen in our heart directing all its movements to the glory of God and of His Son Jesus.

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

However, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of those which should be especially dear to us. And why? Because it honors 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 honoring 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 splendor 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-----hich 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 . . . hy 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 retribution (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 childrne 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).

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
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).


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.

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.
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 honor to a love of which we do not know the manifestations?

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.

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)!

Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Feast of the Sacred Heart
THIS PRAYER IS ALSO PRESENTED ON THE FIRST FRIDAY PAGE.


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.
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 offenses, 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 offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, 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 honor, 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.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Feast of Corpus Christi

The feast of the Corpus Christi celebrates the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. During the last 700 years, the Feast of the Corpus Christi has been celebrated throughout the world. The feast brings about great joy and celebrations. It was originally observed on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. However, in 1970, it was changed to the following Sunday for the United States and most of the world.

History 
Imagine at the age of sixteen seeing a vision above you of a silver moon with a small section altered. After seeing the vision, it faded. This actually happened to a young teenager, Juliana, in the 12th century. She was from Beligian. Juliana tried to make the image stop coming back, but it wouldn’t.

Juliana decided to join the convent at Mont Cornillion. She had a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament; however, she never thought the images were related to it.  Then one day Juliana finally was told the meaning of the image. While deep in prayer, the Lord explained that the moon was the ritual year of the Church, and the altered area meant something was incomplete. The missing part was that there wasn’t a feast to celebrate the Blessed Sacrament.

God continued His explanation to Juliana by giving her three reasons why He wanted a feast day. The first reason was to strengthen the Catholic belief of the Eucharist. Secondly, it would encourage people to be virtuous and draw strength from the Sacrament. Lastly, it would be a compensation for abuse and sacrilegious acts against the Eucharist.
God informed Juliana that he wanted her to create this feast day. She immediately felt scared and overwhelmed. She pleaded with God not to give her this task, but He chooses her. For years, Juliana put off doing anything about it. Twenty years went by and she became the Superior of her order. Juliana constantly had the urge to speak about the feast, and finally did. She told Robert de Thorte, he was the Bishop of Liege. Thankfully, he believed her and discussed it with Jacques Pantaleon who served as Archdeacon in Liege. He later became Pope Urban IV. They liked the idea of the feast, and it was celebrated in 1246.

Juliana died in 1258, and the solemnity hadn’t reached the entire world. Later on, Juliana was named a saint. There was some controversy in the Church about the feast. Some people felt that the sacrifice daily was enough to celebrate the Blessed Sacrament. However, God wanted a feast day. A miracle occurred in 1263 at a town called Bolsena.
During his journey Rome, Father Peter of Prague, stopped in at Bolsena to serve Mass. He was a Godly man, but he never truly understood that Christ was present in the Blessed Sacrament. Blood began to seep from the Host as he was speaking the words of the Consecration over the tomb of St. Christina. The blood went down his arms and on the altar.
He was very confused, and he requested to leave Mass to see Pope Urban IV who was in a town close by called Orvieto. The Pope listened and did research about the situation. The Pope considered this a great miracle and created a papal bull starting the Feast of the Corpus Christi on September 8, 1264.

The Historical Origin of the Feast of
CORPUS CHRISTI

This Feast of the Sacred Body of Our Divine Lord is celebrated in the Latin Church on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday to solemnly commemorate the Institution of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. This great event is also commemorated on Maundy Thursday, mentioned as Natalia Calicis (Birth of the Chalice) in the Calendar of Polemius (448) for the 24th of March, the 25th of March being recognized in some places as the day of the Death of Christ. This day, however, occurs in Holy Week, a season of sadness, during which the minds of the faithful are expected to be occupied with thoughts of Our Lord's Passion. Moreover, so many other mysteries relative to the Passion are commemorated on this day that the principal event, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, is deserving of a particular festival. This is mentioned as the chief reason for introducing the feast of Corpus Christi in the Papal Bull Transiturus.

The instrument in the hand of Divine Providence was St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon, in Belgium. She was born in 1203 at
Retinnes near Liège. Orphaned at an early age, she was educated by the Augustinian nuns of Mont Cornillon. In time she made her religious profession and later became Superior. Intrigues and persecutions of various kinds drove her from her own convent several times. She died on the fifth of April, 1258, at the House of the Cistercian nuns at Fosses, and was buried at Villiers.

From her early youth, Sr. Juliana had a great veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, and always longed for a special feast in Its honor. This holy desire was given further impetus by an authentic vision which she was shown of the Church, whose liturgical cycle appeared as an almost-full moon, yet having one dark void, signifying the absence of such a solemnity. She humbly submitted this revelation to Msgr. Robert de Thorete, then Bishop of Liège; to the learned Dominican Hugh, later Cardinal Legate in the Netherlands; and finally to Jacques Pantaléon, at that time Archdeacon of Liège, who afterwards was successively made the Bishop of Verdun, Patriarch of Jerusalem (after the First Crusade), and finally elected to the Papacy as Urban IV. Bishop Robert was favorably inclined to promote a greater devotion to our Eucharistic King. Since bishops had the right of ordering feasts for their respective jurisdictions, he called a synod in 1246, and ordered the celebration to be held in the following year; also, that a monk whose name was John should write the special Office for the occasion. The episcopal decree is still preserved in Binterim (Denkwürdigkeiten, V, 1, 276), together with parts of the Office. The pious Bishop did not live to see the fulfillment of his command, for he died on October 16, 1246. Nevertheless, the feast was celebrated for the first time by the obedient canons of the Cathedral of St. Martin at Liège.

Meanwhile, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Jacques Pantaléon, was elected Pope on August 29, 1261. There was at that time in Liège a devout recluse in whom St. Juliana had inspired a fervent devotion of the Holy Eucharist, who spent her time in adoration of Our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. She besought the Bishop of Liège, Heinrich of Guelders, to request the Sovereign Pontiff to extend this beautiful celebration to the entire Catholic world. Pope Urban IV, who had long cherished a fervent devotion for the feast of Corpus Christi, granted the petition on September 8, 1264, by publishing the Bull Transiturus. Having extolled the love of Our Savior manifested in the Holy Eucharist, he ordered the annual celebration of Corpus Christi on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, and at the same time granted many Indulgences to the faithful for the attendance at Mass and at the Office. This Office, composed at the request of the Pope by the Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas, is one of the most beautiful in the Roman Breviary, and has been admired not only for its wonderful devotion, but also for its literary excellence.

The death of Pope Urban IV on October 2, 1264, shortly after the publication of the decree, somewhat impeded the spread of the new feast. But Pope Clement V again took the matter in hand, and at the General Council of Vienne (1311), took
measures to implement the feast of Corpus Christi. His new decree embodied that of Pope Urban IV, and his successor, Pope John XXII (of Sabbatine Privilege fame) also urged its observance. The Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, which was already held in some places, was endowed with rich indulgences by Popes Martin V and Eugene IV. The pious Bishops of the German Empire were the first to accomplish a uniform observance of the new feast (instituted at Köln in 1306, at Worms in 1315, and in Strasbourg in 1316). In England it was introduced from the continent between 1320 and 1325.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity




On the day of Pentecost the Holy Apostles received, as we have seen, the grace of the Holy Ghost. In accordance with the injunction of their Divine Master, they will soon start on their mission of teaching all nations, and baptizing them in the Name of the Holy Trinity. It was but right, then, that the solemnity which is intended to honor the mystery of One God in Three Divine Persons should immediately follow that of Pentecost, with which it has a mysterious connection. And yet, it was not until after many centuries that it was inserted in the cycle of the Liturgical Year, whose completion is the work of successive ages.

Every homage paid to God by the Church’s Liturgy has the Holy Trinity as its object. Time, as well as eternity, belongs to the Trinity. The Trinity is the scope of all religion. Every day, every hour, belongs to It. The feasts instituted in memory of the mysteries of our Redemption center in It. The feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints are but so many means for leading us to the praise of God, Who is One in essence, and Three in Persons. The Preface for most Sunday Masses, in a very special way, gives us, each week, a most explicit expression of adoration and worship of this mystery, which is the foundation of all others, and the source of all grace.

This explains to us how it is that the Church was so long in instituting a special feast in honor of the Holy Trinity. The ordinary motive for the institution of feasts did not exist in this instance. A feast is the memorial of some fact which took place at a certain time, and of which it is well to perpetuate the memory and influence. How could this be applied to the mystery of the Trinity? From all eternity, before any created thing existed, God lives and reigns, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If a feast in honor of that mystery were to be instituted, it could only be by fixing some one day in the year, whereon the faithful would assemble for offering a more than usually solemn tribute of worship to the mystery of Unity and Trinity in the one same Divine Nature.

The idea of such a feast was first conceived by some of those pious and recollected souls, who are favored from on high with a sort of presentiment of the things which the Holy Ghost will achieve, at a future period, in the Church. So far back as the eighth century, the learned monk Alcuin had the happy thought of composing a Mass in honor of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. It would seem that he was prompted to this by the apostle of Northern Germany, Saint Boniface. That this composition is a beautiful one, no one will doubt who knows, from Alcuin’s writings, how full its author was of the spirit of the sacred liturgy; but, after all, it was only a votive Mass, a mere help to private devotion, which no one ever thought would lead to the institution of a feast. This Mass, however, became a great favorite, and was gradually circulated through the several Churches; for instance, it was approved of for Germany by the Council of Seligenstadt, held in 1022.

In the previous century, however, a feast properly so-called of the Holy Trinity had been introduced into one of the Churches of Belgium—the very same that was to have the honor, later on, of procuring to the Church’s calendar, one of the richest of its solemnities. Stephen, Bishop of Liege, solemnly instituted the Feast of the Holy Trinity for his Church, in 920, and had an entire Office composed in honor of the mystery. Riquier, Stephen’s successor in the See of Liege, kept up what his predecessor had begun.

The feast was gradually adopted. The Benedictine Order took it up from the very first. We find, for instance, in the early part of the 11th century, that Berno, the Abbot of Reichenau, was doing all he could to propagate it. At Cluny, also, the feast was established at the commencement of the same century, as we learn from the Ordinarium of that celebrated monastery, drawn up in 1091, in which we find mention of Holy Trinity Day as having been instituted long before.


In England it was the glorious Martyr, St. Thomas a Becket, who established the Feast of the Holy Trinity. He introduced it into his archdiocese of Canterbury in the year 1162, in memory of his having been consecrated Bishop on the First Sunday after Pentecost. Some Churches celebrated this feast, not on the First, but on the Last Sunday after Pentecost; some on both the First and Last Sundays.

It was evident, from all this, that the Apostolic See would finally give its sanction to a practice, whose universal adoption was being prompted by Christian instinct. Pope John XXII, who sat in the Chair of St. Peter as early as the year 1334, completed the work by a decree, wherein the Church of Rome accepted the Feast of the Holy Trinity, and extended its observance to all Churches.

As to the motive which induced the Church, led as She is in all things by the Holy Ghost, to fix one special day in the year for the offering of a solemn homage to the Blessed Trinity, whereas all our adorations, all our acts of thanksgiving, all our petitions, are ever being presented to It: such motive is to be found in the change which was being introduced, at that period, into the liturgical calendar. Up to about the year 1000, the Feasts of the Saints, marked on the general calendar and universally kept, were very few. From that time, they began to be more numerous; and it was evident that their number would go on increasing. The time would come, when the Sunday’s Office, which is specially consecrated to the Blessed Trinity, must make way for that of the Saints, as often as one of their Feasts occurred on a Sunday. As a sort of compensation for this celebration of the memory of God’s servants on the very day which was sacred to the Holy Trinity, it was considered right that once, at least, in the course of the year, a Sunday should be set apart for the exclusive and direct expression of the worship which the Church pays to our great God, Who has vouchsafed to reveal Himself to mankind in His ineffable Unity and in His eternal Trinity.

It was God’s good pleasure to make known to us His essence, in order to bring us into closer union with Himself, and to prepare us, in some way, for that Face-to-face vision of Himself which He intends to give us in eternity. But His revelation is gradual: He takes mankind from brightness unto brightness, fitting it for the full knowledge and adoration of Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. During the period preceding the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, God seemed intent on inculcating the idea of His Unity, for polytheism was the infectious error of mankind; and every notion of there being a spiritual and sole cause of all things would have been effaced from the earth, had not the infinite goodness of God watched over its preservation.

Not that the Old Testament Books were altogether silent on the Three Divine Persons, Whose ineffable relations are eternal; only, the mysterious passages, which spoke of them, were not understood by the people at large; whereas, in the Christian Church, a child of seven will answer those who ask him, that in God, the Three Divine Persons have but one and the same Nature, but one and the same Divinity. When the Book of Genesis tells us that God spoke in the plural, and said: "Let Us make man to Our image and likeness" (Gen. 1: 26), the Jew bows down and believes, but he understands not the sacred text; the Christian, on the contrary, who has been enlightened by the complete revelation of God, sees under this expression, the Three Persons acting together in the formation of man. The light of Faith develops the great truth to him, and tells him that, within himself, there is a likeness to the Blessed Three in One. Power, understanding, and will, are three faculties within him, and yet he himself is but one being.

In the Books of Wisdom, Solomon speaks, in sublime language, of Him Who is Eternal Wisdom; he tells us— and he uses every variety of grand expression to tell us—of the Divine Essence of this Wisdom, and of His being a distinct Person in the Godhead; but how few among the people of Israel could see through the veil! Isaias heard the voice of the Seraphim, as they stood around God’s throne; he heard them singing in alternate choirs, and with a joy intense because eternal, this hymn: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord!" (Is. 6: 3) But who will explain to men this triple Sanctus, of which the echo is heard here below, when we mortals give praise to our Creator? So again, in the Psalms, and the prophetic Books, a flash of light will break suddenly upon us; a brightness of some mysterious Three will dazzle us; but it passes away, and obscurity returns seemingly all the more palpable; we have but the sentiment of the Divine Unity deeply impressed on our inmost soul, and we adore the Incomprehensible, the Sovereign Being.

The world had to wait for the fullness of time to be completed; and then, God would send into this world His only Son, begotten of Him from all eternity. This His most merciful purpose has been carried out, and the Word made Flesh hath dwelt among us (John 1: 14). By seeing His glory, the glory of the only-begotten Son of the Father, we have come to know that, in God, there is Father and Son. The Son, Who had been sent by the Father, ascended into Heaven, with the human Nature which He had united to Himself for all future eternity; and lo, the Father and the Son send into this world the Spirit Who proceeds from Them both. It was a new Gift, and it taught man that the Lord God was in Three Persons. The mystery of the Trinity has become to us, not only a dogma made known to our mind by revelation, but, moreover, a practical truth given to us by the unheard-of munificence of the Three Divine Persons: the Father, Who adopted us; the Son, Whose brethren and joint-heirs we are; and the Holy Ghost, Who governs us, and dwells within us.

Let us, then, begin this day, by giving glory to the one God in three Persons. For this end, Holy Mother Church in Her Office of Prime recites on this solemnity the magnificent Athanasian Creed. It gives us, in a summary of much majesty and precision, the doctrine of the Holy Doctor, St. Athanasius, regarding the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.

We give here an excerpt:
Whosoever would be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith, except everyone doth keep It entire and inviolate, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
Now the Catholic Faith is this: that we worship One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For one is the Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all One; the glory equal, the majesty coeternal…
So, the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet They are not three Gods, but One God.
So, the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Ghost is Lord.
And yet They are not three Lords, but One Lord.
For, as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge each Person, by Himself, to be God and Lord; so we are forbidden, by the Catholic Religion, to say there are three Gods or three Lords.
The Father is made of no one, neither created nor begotten.
The Son is from the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son; not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding…
Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now the right Faith is, that we believe and confess that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and Man.
He is God, of the Substance of His Father, begotten before the world; and He is Man, of the substance of His Mother, born in the world…
At Whose coming, all men shall rise again with their bodies; and shall give an account of their own works.
And they that have done good, shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic Faith; which except every man believe faithfully and steadfastly, he cannot be saved.

Adoration, then, and love, be to Thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, O perfect Trinity, Who hast vouchsafed to reveal Thyself to mankind; O eternal and infinite Unity, Who hast delivered our forefathers from the yoke of their false gods! Glory be to Thee, as it was in the beginning, before any creature existed; as it is now, at this very time, while we are living in the hope of that true life, which consists of seeing Thee face to face; and as it shall forever be, in those everlasting ages, when a blissful eternity shall have united us in the bosom of Thine infinite majesty. Amen.