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Announcing the NOVENA to the SACRED HEART
BEGINS Wednesday, 19 June
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
By Ven Servant of God John A Hardon SJ (1914-2000)
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is as old as Christianity. When the side of Christ was pierced on Calvary, there immediately flowed out blood and water. The Church has interpreted this to mean, the outpouring of grace through the Church, which began the moment that Christ expired on the Cross.
Over the centuries, the gratitude of the faithful for this manifestation of divine love has centred on the physical Heart of Jesus as the symbol of God’s love for man. We may, therefore, say, that devotion to the Sacred Heart is really devotion to the love of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
When God became man, it was God – who is love – who became man. In the languages of all nations, the heart is identified with love. Consequently, our devotion to the Heart of Jesus is directed to the love of Jesus in different ways.
We love Him as our God, who has loved us from all eternity and out of selfless love brought us into existence and destined us to possess Him for all eternity.
We love Him as our God Incarnate, who loved us so much that He assumed our human nature and by His bodily death redeemed us from the eternal death we deserved for our sins.
We love Him as our Redeemer who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where He is preparing a place for us. Where He is, our God united with His human body and soul, we hope to be in His blessed company.
We love Him as our Eucharistic Lord who is on earth in His humanity, in the Blessed Sacrament. He offers Himself in the Mass through which He now communicates the graces He won for us on the Cross. By His Real Presence, He invites us to offer Him our adoring love and ask Him to work the miracles He performed during His visible stay in Palestine.
To be emphasised is the unique character of devotion to the Sacred Heart. It is nothing less than a synthesis of Catholic Christianity in its loving response to the unspeakable love of God for the sons and daughters of the human family.
For the sake of convenience, we may divide the terms “Sacred Heart” and “Devotion” into two parts:
Sacred Heart stands for the love of God, which means the love that is God, the love that God has shown for us from the dawn of creation until now and the love that God will continue to pour out on us into the endless reaches of eternity.
Devotion stands for our grateful return of love for love, which is shown in loving sacrifice by the total surrender of our wills to the mysterious and demanding will of God, in loving imitation of Jesus Christ, whose virtues as man, are so many manifestations of His divine attributes as God, in loving worship of Mary’s Son, who is present with His living, pulsating human Heart in the Blessed Sacrament, in loving petition for the graces that we and others, need to serve Him faithfully, here on earth and enjoy Him in the life that will never end.
A simple but very effective way of growing in devotion to the Sacred Heart, is to recite daily the very old morning offering, used for centuries within the Catholic heart:
through the Most Pure Heart of Mary
and in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world today,
I offer You all my prayers,
works, joys and sufferings of this day,
for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
I offer them for
the salvation of souls,
the reparation of sins,
the intentions of all our bishops, priests,
apostles of prayer
and our Holy Father, the Pope.
Among the promises made by our Lord to St Margaret Mary, was the assurance that, “Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be blotted out.”
Thought for the Day – 17 June – The Memorial of Blessed Joseph-Marie Cassant OCSO (1878-1903)
Fr Joseph-Marie always put his trust in God, in contemplation of the mystery of the Passion and in communion with Christ present in the Eucharist.
Thus, he was imbued with love for God and abandoned himself to Him, “the only true happiness on earth”, detaching himself from worldly goods in the silence of the Trappist monastery. In the midst of trials, his eyes fixed on Christ, he offered up his sufferings for the Lord and for the Church.
May our contemporaries, especially contemplatives and the sick, discover, following his example, the mystery of prayer, which raises the world to God and gives strength in trial!”…St John Paul II (1920-2005) Beatification Homily, Sunday, 3 October 2004
‘The Eucharist is the Saviour Himself, wholly giving Himself to men, His Heart is pierced on the Cross and then tenderly gathers in all those who trust in Him.’
Blessed Joseph-Marie Cassant, Pray for Us!
Quote/s of the Day – 17 June – Monday of the Eleventh week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 5:38–42, First Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:1–10
“We are treated as deceivers and yet, are truthful,
as unrecognised and yet, acknowledged,
as dying and behold we live,
as chastised and yet, not put to death,
as sorrowful yet, always rejoicing,
as poor yet, enriching many,
as having nothing and yet, possessing all things.”
2 Corinthians 8-10
“But I say to you,
offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.”
“Love of one’s enemy constitutes
the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution,’
a revolution not based on strategies
of economic, political or media power –
the revolution of love, a love that does not rely
ultimately on human resources but, is a gift of God
which is obtained, by trusting solely
and unreservedly in His merciful goodness.
Here is the newness of the Gospel
which silently changes the world!
Here is the heroism, of the ‘lowly,’
who believe in God’s love and spread it,
even at the cost of their lives”
Pope Benedict XVI
(Angelus, 18 February 2007)
One Minute Reflection – 17 June – Monday of the Eleventh week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel : Matthew 5:38–42 and the Memorial of Blessed Joseph-Marie Cassant OCSO (1878-1903)
“Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.”… Matthew 5:41
REFLECTION – “Do you grasp the excellence of a Christian disposition? After you give your coat and your cloak, even if your enemy should wish to subject your naked body to hardships and labours, not even then, Jesus says, must you forbid him. For He would have us possess all things in common, both our bodies and our goods, as with them that are in need, so with them that insult us. For the latter response comes from a courageous spirit, the former from mercy. Because of this, Jesus said, “If any one shall compel you to go one mile, go with him two.” Again He leads you to higher ground and commands you to manifest the same type of aspiration. For if the lesser things He spoke of at the beginning receive such great blessings, consider what sort of reward awaits those who duly perform these and what they become even before we hear of receiving rewards. You are winning full freedom from unworthy passions in a human and passible body.” … Saint John Chrysostom (347-407) Bishop, Father & Doctor (The Gospel of Matthew: Homily 18)
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over or hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Teach us Lord to walk in the ways of the Cross of Your Son, our Saviour, as Blessed Joseph-Marie Cassant so lovingly and willingly inspires us to do. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God, forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 17 June – Monday of the Eleventh week in Ordinary Time, Year C
Jesus, Reveal Your
Sacred Heart to me
By Servant of God Cardinal Rafael
Merry del Val (1865-1930)
reveal Your Sacred Heart to me
and show me Its attractions.
Unite me to It forever.
Grant that all my desires
and every beat of my heart,
which does not cease,
even while I sleep,
may be a witness to You
of my love for You
and tell You –
Yes Lord, I am Yours!
The pledge of my loyalty to You
rests ever in my heart
and shall never cease to be there.
Accept the little good that I do
and be pleased to make up
for all my wrong-doing
so that I may be able to praise You
in time and in eternity.
Saint of the Day – 17 June – Blessed Joseph-Marie Cassant OCSO (1878-1903) aged 25 – Priest, Trappist Monk – born as Pierre-Joseph Cassant on 6 March 1878 in Casseneuil, Lot-et-Garonne, France as Pierre-Joseph Cassant and died on 17 June 1903 in Abbey of Sainte-Marie-du-Désert, Lévignac, Haute Garonne, France of tuberculosis.
Joseph-Marie Cassant was born on the 6th of March, 1878, at Casseneuil, Lot-et-Garonne, in the diocese of Agen, France, into a family of orchard-keepers. The second child born to the family, he had an elder brother already nine years of age. He was a lodger at the boarding school of the La Salle Brothers in Casseneuil itself and it was there that his poor memory began to cause him difficulty in studying.
He received a solid Christian education at home and at school and, little by little the deep desire to become a priest grew within him. Father Filhol, the parish priest, thought well enough of the boy to help him with his studies but his weak memory kept him from entering the minor seminary. When it became clear that he was drawn towards silence, recollection and prayer, Fr Filhol suggested that he would think of the Trappists and the young sixteen-year-old unhesitatingly agreed. After a trial period, Joseph entered the Cistercian Abbey of Sainte-Marie du Désert, in the diocese of Toulouse, France, on 5 December 1894.
The Novice Master at the time was Fr André Mallet, a man skilled at understanding the needs of souls and responding in love. From their very first meeting he showed this when he said to the young man, “Only trust and I will help you to love Jesus!” Nor were the other monks of the monastery slow to appreciate the newcomer – he neither argued nor grumbled but was ever happy, ever smiling.
The young monk would often meditate upon Jesus in his Passion and on the Cross and so became deeply imbued with love for Christ. The “way of Jesus’ heart” which Fr André taught him, is an unceasing call to live the present moment with patience, hope and love. Brother Joseph-Marie was well aware of his lacks and weaknesses and so was led to depend more and more on Jesus, His strength. He had no interest in half measures but wished to give himself completely to Christ. His personal motto bears witness to this: “All for Jesus, all through Mary”. On Ascension Thursday, 24 May 1900, he was admitted to final vows.
Then came his preparation for the priesthood. This he viewed primarily in relation to the Eucharist, which was truly to him the living presence of Jesus among us. The Eucharist is the Saviour Himself, wholly giving Himself to men, His Heart is pierced on the Cross and then tenderly gathers in all those who trust in Him. There were times during his theological studies when, because of his great sensitivity, he suffered much from the lack of understanding of the monk teaching the course. But, as in all his contradictions, he relied upon Christ present in the Eucharist as his “only good upon this earth” and confided his suffering to Fr André who would cheer him up and help him better to understand. In the end, he did well enough to pass his examinations and had the great joy of being ordained a priest on 12 October 1902.
At that point, it became clear that he had contracted tuberculosis and that the disease was already well advanced. The young priest spoke of his pains only when it was impossible to hide them further. How could he complain, he who meditated so lovingly on the Lord’s Way of the Cross? In spite of a seven weeks’ stay with his family which he undertook at his abbot’s request, his health continued to deteriorate. He then returned to the monastery, where he was soon sent to stay in the infirmary. Here was one more opportunity to offer up his sufferings for Christ and the Church – his physical pain became more and more unbearable and was even worsened by the infirmarian’s neglect. Fr André continued to accompany him and became more than ever his constant aid and support. He had said, “When I can no longer say Mass, Jesus can take me from this world.” Early in the morning of 17 June 1903, Father Joseph-Marie received communion and left this world to be with Christ Jesus forever.
On the 9th of June 1984, the Holy Father, John Paul II, acknowledged his heroic virtues.
The sheer ordinariness of his life has been noted by some – 16 quiet years at Casseneuil and 9 years of monastic enclosure spent in doing the simplest of things: prayer, studies, work. They are indeed simple things but lived in an extraordinary way. They were the slightest of deeds but performed with limitless generosity. Christ imbued his mind, clear as the water that leaps from a spring, with the conviction, that God alone is our true and highest happiness and that His kingdom is like a hidden treasure or a pearl of great price.
The message of Fr Joseph-Marie has great meaning for us today. In a world filled with distrust and often with despair but thirsting for love and kindness, his life can provide an answer and in a special way to today’s young who seek meaning in their lives. Joseph-Marie was a youth without any standing or worth in the eyes of men. He owed the success of his life to a meeting with Jesus that redefined his very existence. He showed himself a follower of the Lord in the midst of a community of brothers, with the guidance of a spiritual father, who was to him a witness of Christ, as well as one, who knew to receive and to understand him.
For the meek and humble he is a superb example. Watching Joseph-Marie, we learn how to live each day for Christ with love, zeal and fidelity, accepting at the same time the help of an experienced brother or sister who can lead us in the footsteps of Jesus. His life shows us the path to sainthood.