NOVENA in honour of the SACRED HEART of JESUS – DAY EIGHT –21 JUNE
By St Alphonsus Liguori
(1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Published in 1758 from THE HOLY EUCHARIST
The Despised Heart of Jesus.
There is not a greater sorrow for a heart that loves, than to see its love despised: and so much the more when the proofs given of this love have been great, and, on the other hand, the ingratitude great.
If every human being were to renounce all his goods and to go and live in the desert, to feed on herbs, to sleep on the bare earth, to macerate himself with penances and at last give himself up to be murdered for Christ’s sake, what recompense could he render for the sufferings, the Blood, the life that this great Son of God has given for his sake? If we were to sacrifice ourselves every moment unto death, we should certainly not recompense in the smallest degree the love that Jesus Christ has shown us, by giving Himself to us in the most Holy Sacrament. Only conceive that God should conceal Himself under the species of bread to become the food of one of His creatures!
But, O my God, what recompense and gratitude do men render to Jesus Christ? What but ill-treatment, contempt of His laws and His maxims, —– injuries such as they would not commit towards their enemy, or their slave, or the greatest villain upon earth. And can we think of all these injuries which Jesus Christ has received and still receives every day and not feel sorrow for them? And not endeavour, by our love, to recompense the infinite love of His Divine heart, which remains in the most Holy Sacrament, inflamed with the same love towards us and anxious to communicate every good gift to us and to give Himself entirely to us, ever ready to receive us into His heart whenever we go to Him? Him that cometh to Me, I will not cast out. [John vi. 37].
We have been accustomed to hear of the Creation, Incarnation, Redemption, of Jesus born in a stable, of Jesus dead on the Cross. O my God, if we knew that another man had conferred on us any of these benefits, we could not help loving him. It seems that God alone has, to to say, this bad luck with men, that, though He has done His utmost to make them love Him, yet He cannot attain this end, and, instead of being loved, He sees Himself despised and neglected. All this arises from the forgetfulness of men of the love of God.
LET US PRAY – DAY EIGHT
O Heart of Jesus, abyss of mercy and love,
how is it that, at the sight of the goodness You hast shown me and of my ingratitude, I do not die of sorrow? You, O mv Saviour, after having given me my being,
have given me all Your Blood and Your life, giving Yourself up for my sake, to ignominy and death;
and, not content with this,
You have invented the mode of sacrificing Yourself every day for me in the Holy Eucharist,
not refusing to expose Yourself to the injuries which You receive, and which You foresaw,
in this Sacrament of love.
O my God, how can I see myself so ungrateful to You without dying with contrition!
O Lord, put an end, I pray You, to my ingratitude,
by wounding my heart with Your love and making me entirely Yours.
Remember the Blood and the tears that You shed for me, and forgive me.
Oh, let not all Your sufferings be lost upon me.
But though You have seen how ungrateful and unworthy of Your love I have been,
yet You didst not cease to love me even when I did not love You.
Grant that this day may be the day of my thorough conversion;
so that I may begin to love You and may never cease to love You, my sovereign good.
Make me die in everything to myself,
in order that I may live only for You and that I may always burn with Your love.
O Mary, your heart was the blessed altar
that was always on fire with Divine love:
my dearest Mother, make me like you;
obtain this from your Son,
Who delights in honouring and pleasing you,
by denying you nothing that you ask of Him. Amen