“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” – Luke 9:23
REFLECTION – “What joy to live in the Cross of Christ! Who could complain of suffering? Only the insensate man who does not adore the Passion of Christ, the Cross of Christ, the Heart of Christ, can in his own griefs, give way to despair… How good it is to live united with the Cross of Christ. Christ Jesus… teach me that truth, which consists in rejoicing in scorn, injury, degradation; teach me to suffer with that humble, silent joy of the saints; teach me to be gentle towards those who don’t love me or who despise me; teach me that truth, which from the mound of Calvary You reveal to the whole world. But I know: a very gentle voice within me explains it all; I feel something in me which comes from You and which I don’t know how to put into words; so much mystery is revealed that man cannot apprehend it. I, Lord, in my way, do understand it. It is love. In that is everything. I know it, Lord, nothing more is needed, nothing more, it is love! Who shall describe the love of Christ? Let men, creatures and all things, keep silent, so that we may hear in the stillness, the whisperings of love, meek, patient, immense, infinite, which from the Cross, Jesus offers us with His arms open. The world, mad, doesn’t listen.” – St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938) a Spanish Trappist Monk – Spiritual writings 07/04/1938
PRAYER – God of mercy, teach us to live as You have ordained. Help us to follow Your commandments with courage and steadfast devotion. Let our Saviour be our Master, help us to learn from Him, the ways of prayer in silence, the ways of love. Fill us with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may learn. Grant blessed Trinity, that by the prayers of St Theotonius, we may grow in holiness. Through Jesus our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 14 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 3:7-14, Psalms 95:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, Mark 1:40-45
“If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will, be clean.” – Mark 1: 40-41
REFLECTION – “As for me, what can I appropriate that I lack, from the Heart of the Lord who abounds in mercy? … He was thinking thoughts of peace and I did not know it, for who knows the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counsellor? But the piercing nail has become a key to unlock the door, that I may see the goodwill of the Lord. And what can I see as I look through the hole? Both the nail and the wound cry out, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The sword pierced His soul and came close to His Heart, so that He might be able to feel compassion for me in my weaknesses.
Through these sacred wounds we can see the secret of His Heart, the great mystery of love, the sincerity of His mercy, with which He visited us from on high. Where have Your love, Your mercy, Your compassion shone out more luminously, than in Your wounds, sweet, gentle Lord of mercy? More mercy than this no-one has, than that He lay down His life for those who are doomed to death.
My merit comes from His mercy; for I do not lack merit so long as He does not lack pity. And if the Lord’s mercies are many, then I am rich in merits. For even if I am aware of many sins, what does it matter? Where sin abounded grace has overflowed. And if the Lord’s mercies are from all ages forever, I too will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. Will I not sing of my own righteousness? No, Lord, I shall be mindful only of Your justice. Yet that too is my own, for God has made You my righteousness.” – St Bernard of Clarirvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of Light – Excerpt from his Sermon 61 On the Song of Songs
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, we make our prayer to You at morning, noon and evening. Dispel from our hearts, the darkness of sin and bring us to the true light, Christ Your Son. Grant that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, all your Angels and Saints, we may deny ourselves in love and obedience to You the reward of our love. Through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 30 June – “The Last Day of Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
“When we consider it under it’s fundamental aspect as the cult of the love of God, rather than of the Incarnate Word, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is as old as Christianity, even though it is only in recent centuries, that it has assumed it’s present symbolism. “He who does not love, does not know God,” says St John, “for God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). “And we have come to know,” he continues “and have believed, the love that God has in our behalf. God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16).
This cult of the love of God, particularly of the love of God made man, vibrates throughout the pages of the Gospel and of the writings of the Apostles, especially of St John and of St Paul.
In the works of the Fathers, there are references to the Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, from which flowed all the infinite graces of the Church for our redemption.
We are reminded of this in the Encylical, Haurietis Aquas, published by Pope Pius XII in the year 1956.
But the specific cult of the love of God, as symbolised by the Heart of Jesus, was explicitly approved by the Church after Jesus Himself appeared in the year 1674 to St Margaret Mary Alacoque and showed her His Heart on fire with love for men.”
Thought for the Day – 27 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Pierced by a Crown of Thorns
“There are many ways of showing our love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of making reparation for our sins and for the sins of mankind.
We can console ourselves with the reflection, that by these acts of love and reparation, we are removing the thorns which encircle and pierce the Heart of Jesus.
The simplest ways of doing this, are by prayers, aspirations and expressions of love, directed towards the adorable Heart of our Redeemer and, by visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
In silence and recollection, before the Tabernacle, we shall feel the Heart of Jesus, beating with love and, shall offer in return, for His infinite love, the affection of our poor hearts.
We can also receive Holy Communion in reparation.
When Jesus is in us and we are in Jesus, it will be easier and more pleasant, to offer Him our love and expiation.
We can make reparation also, by practising the devotion of the First Fridays of the month.
This pious practice, so pleasing to the Heart of Jesus, aims at being a mass offering of love and reparation, for the sins of the entire human race.”
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – 19 June
May we all be abundantly Blessed today by the Sacred and Loving Heart of Jesus May we all grow closer and closer to the Sacred Heart, the source of all Love!
A little (actually, a lot! – please take the time to read it) of the History of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart
In the 13th century, the Franciscan Doctor of the Church (1217-1274) – “The Seraphic Doctor,” St Bonaventure’s work “With You is the Source of Life” (which is the reading for the Divine Office on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart) began to point to the heart as the fountain from which God’s love poured into our lives:
“Take thought now, redeemed man and consider how great and worthy is He who hangs on the cross for you. His death brings the dead to life but at His passing, heaven and earth are plunged into mourning and hard rocks are split asunder. It was a divine decree that permitted one of the soldiers to open His sacred side with a lance. This was done so that the Church might be formed from the side of Christ as He slept the sleep of death on the cross and so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced.’ The blood and water, which poured out at that moment, were the price of our salvation. Flowing from the secret abyss of our Lord’s Heart as from a fountain, this stream, gave the Sacraments of the Church, the power to confer the life of grace, while for those already living in Christ, it became a spring of living water welling up to life everlasting.”
The Devotion Spreads Slowly
At the end of the 13th century, St Gertrude the Great, on the feast of St John the Evangelist, had a vision in which she was allowed to rest her head near the wound in the Saviour’s side. She heard the beating of the Divine Heart and asked John if, on the night of the Last Supper, he too had felt this beating heart, why then had he never spoken of the fact. John replied that this revelation had been reserved for subsequent ages when the world, having grown cold, would have need to rekindle its love.
From that time until the time of St John Eudes Orat. (1501-1680), the devotion continued to spread, primarily as a private devotion but one that was increasingly wide-spread. Many religious orders prayed the devotion – the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Carmelites of Spain and the Benedictines.
Let us now consider the key ideas which motivated St John Eudes in his great love for the Sacred Heart, so that by understanding them “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that being rooted and grounded in love, you may have the power with all the saints to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God “(Eph 3, 17-19). Two interrelated thoughts overwhelmed St John Eudes, first:
“The Sacred Heart of Jesus, whether considered in His Divinity or in His humanity, is more ardently enkindled with love for His Father, loving Him infinitely more at any given moment, than all the hearts of angels and saints can love Him throughout all eternity.”
The second thought which rejoiced the heart of St John Eudes expands on the first:
[Jesus, the Son of God] “willed to be our Head and chose us as His members. He has associated us with Himself in His ineffable love [for the Father]. He has given us, as a result, the power to love the Father with the [very] same love with which He loves [the Father], with a love eternal, boundless and infinite.”
St John Eudes discerned eight different flames of love, which issue from our Lord’s Heart in the Tabernacle, which are freely adapted here to our present needs (definitely a post soon). St Pope Pius X declared him, the Father, Doctor and Apostle of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Devotion Renewed: St Marguerite Marie Alacoque VHM (1647-1690)
In the late 17th century the devotion was renewed and adopted elsewhere, especially following the revelations to St Marguerite Marie Alacoque. The saint, a cloistered nun of the Visitation Order, received several private revelations of the Sacred Heart, the first on 27 December 1673 and the final one 18 months later. The visions revealed to her the form of the devotion, the chief features being reception of Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month, Eucharistic adoration during a “Holy hour” on Thursdays and the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
Initially discouraged in her efforts to follow the instruction she had received in her visions, Alacoque was eventually able to convince her superior of the authenticity of her visions. She was unable, however, to convince a group of theologians of the validity of her apparitions, nor was she any more successful with many of the members of her own community. She eventually received the support of St Claude de la Colombière SJ (1641-1682), the community’s confessor, who declared that the visions were genuine. Alacoque’s short devotional writing, La Devotion au Sacré-Coeur de Jesus (Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus), was published posthumously in 1698. Here is an excerpt:
“And He [Christ] showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure Him, all the honour and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which His heart is the source.”
The devotion was fostered by the Jesuits and Franciscans but it was not until the 1928 encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor by Pope Pius XI that the Church validated the credibility of Alacoque’s visions of Jesus Christ in having “promised her [Alacoque] that all those who rendered this honour to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces.”
The World Consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Maria Droste zu Vischering, was a German noble women, who at the age of 25 joined the congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, in Munster. She was given the name, BlSr Mary of the Divine Heart. In 1894, at the age of 31, she was transferred to Portugal and appointed superior of Oporto, Portugal. While there, she reported some messages from Jesus Christ in which she was asked to contact the Holy Father, requesting the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
On 10 June 1898, her Confessor at the Good Shepherd monastery wrote to Pope Leo XIII stating that Sister Mary of the Divine Heart had received a message from Christ, requesting the Holy Father to consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart. The Pope initially did not believe her and took no action. However, on 6 January 1899 she wrote another letter, asking that in addition to the consecration, the first Fridays of the month be observed in honour of the Sacred Heart. In the letter she also referred to the recent illness of the Pope and stated that Christ, had assured her, that Pope Leo XIII would live until he had performed the consecration to the Sacred Heart.
Pope Leo XIII commissioned an inquiry on the basis of her revelation and Church tradition. In his 1899 encyclical letter Annum Sacrum, Leo XIII decreed that the Consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should take place on 11 June 1899. Here is the consecration Pope Leo composed for the consecration:
“Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine and Thine we wish to be but to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us, freely consecrates himself today, to Thy most Sacred Heart.
Many indeed have never known Thee, many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only, of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee but also, of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee, grant that they may quickly return to Thy Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof and call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.
Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Saviour, may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.
Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm, give peace and order to all nations and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: ‘Praise be to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation, to it be glory and honour forever.’” Amen
The 100th Anniversary of the Feast of the Sacred Heart
In a landmark encyclical, Haurietis aquas (“You will draw waters”– written 15 May 1956) Venerable Pope Pius XII began his reflection by drawing from Isaiah 12:3, a verse which alludes to the abundance of the supernatural graces which flow from the heart of Christ. Haurietis aquas called the whole Church, to recognise the Sacred Heart as an important dimension of Christian spirituality. Pope Pius XII gave two reasons why the Church gives the highest form of worship to the Heart of Jesus. The first rests on the principle whereby the believers recognise that Jesus’ Heart is hypostatically united to the “Person of the Incarnate Son of God Himself.” The second reason is derived from the fact, that the Heart, is the natural sign and symbol of Jesus’ boundless love for humans . The encyclical recalls that for human souls the wound in Christ’s side and the marks left by the nails have been “the chief sign and symbol of that love” that ever more incisively shaped their life from within.
In a letter on 15 May 2006 Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “By encouraging devotion to the Heart of Jesus, the Encyclical Haurietis aquas exhorted believers to open themselves to the mystery of God and of His love and to allow themselves to be transformed by it. After 50 years, it is still a fitting task for Christians to continue to deepen their relationship with the Heart of Jesus, in such a way, as to revive their faith in the saving love of God and to welcome Him ever better into their lives.”
As the encyclical states, from this source, the heart of Jesus, originates the true knowledge of Jesus Christ and a deeper experience of His love. Thus, according to Pope Benedict XVI, we will be able to understand better what it means to know God’s love in Jesus Christ, to experience Him, keeping our gaze fixed on Him to the point that we live entirely on the experience of His love, so that we can subsequently witness to it to others.
Sadly, today, The League of the Sacred Heart founded in Ireland in the year of grace 1873, has fallen into obscurity, though, I know that in certain countries across the world, it is being revived. Below is a 14 minute video explaining the resuscitation of the League and the institution in America. The League however, still exists in a few isolated countries and we NEED, in these awful times, to revive it, wherever we are.
A great usurpation has taken place in the Church by the Divine Mercy Devotion – I know there are devotees of this latter Devotion on the site but if you would wish to educate yourself further in this regard, please go to the Youtube Channel – Ascent of Mount Carmel, where you will find lots of research on this subject. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcOObC8wjuxJjx6rBSiKo2A/videos
The Sacred Heart is knocking at the door of our heart. Will we open the door for Him? Will we make a commitment in devotion to serve Him with greater zeal and fidelity? Will we let Him in? The choice is now ours. Those who want to grow, know where the Sacred Heart is waiting for the response of their love and they know how to imitate His love in their daily life. Let us resume all that has been said with a final thought from St John Eudes: “The Son of God gives us His Heart not only to be the model and rule of our life but also to be our heart, so that by the gift of this Heart, immense, infinite and eternal, we may fulfil all our duties to God in a manner worthy of His infinite perfections. [Thus] we have received from our Divine Saviour, the gift of His adorable Heart, which is the perfect means of fulfilling all our duties. We should employ the Sacred Heart as if it were our own heart, to adore God fittingly, to love Him perfectly, and to satisfy all our obligations adequately so that our homage and love may be worthy of His supreme majesty. Eternal and infinite thanks be rendered to Thee, O Good Jesus, for the infinitely precious gift of Thy divine Heart. May all the angels, saints and all creatures bless Thee forever!
Let us Pray: Daily Consecration to the Sacred Heart
Daily Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayers to the Sacred Heart – The League of the Sacred Heart 1936 – 15th Edition, Dublin
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, filled with infinite love, broken by our ingratitude and pierced by our sins, yet loving us still, accept the Consecration we make to Thee, of all that we are and all that we have. Take every faculty of our souls and bodies, only day by day draw us, nearer and nearer to Thy Sacred Heart, and there, as we shall hear the lesson, teach us Thy Holy Way. Amen
Thought for the Day – 19 June – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Learn From Me, For I Am Meek and Humble of Heart”
“It is very easy to be gentle and humble when everything is going well for us.
It is difficult, however, when we meet humiliation, misunderstanding or opposition.
We need to be well advanced in perfection, if we are to have mildness and humility of heart, like that of Jesus.
We can only reach this state of perfection by prayer, sacrifice and character formation.
Pride, self-love and the desire to excel, are the evil effects of our corrupted nature.
St Francis de Sales jestingly remarked that self-love dies three days after us.
It is difficult to remove it completely from our character and to put, in it’s place, the love of God and of our neighbour but, this operation is necessary, if we are to obtain Christ-like humility and gentleness of heart.
God, not our own ego, should be the centre of our lives, He should be the focal point of all our thinking.
Let us beseech God for this grace and try and behave in this fashion on all occasions.
When we encounter lack of sympathy, coldness or injustice on the part of our fellowmen, we should try and avoid becoming annoyed or discourage.
The testimony of a sound conscience before God, is all that should concern us.
We should offer everything else to God, whether it is joy or sorrow, praise or criticism.
We shall be rewarded with peace of soul.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine!”
One Minute Reflection – 19 June – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, Gospel: Luke 15:3–7, Readings: Deuteronomy 7:6-11, Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 10, 1 John 4:7-16, Matthew 11:25-30
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” … Matthew 11:29-30
REFLECTION – “Now, O love, my King and my God, now, O Jesus my dear one, receive me into the most gracious care of Your Divine Heart. There, there, so that I may live entirely for You, fasten me to Your love. Now release me into the great ocean of Your mercy’s abyss – there, there, commit me to the bowels of Your overflowing kindness. Ah! Now cast me into the voracious flame of Your living love. There, there, transmit me into You until my soul and spirit are reduced to ashes in the conflagration. And at the hour of my passing away, commit me to the providence of Your fatherly charity.
There, there, O my sweet Saviour, console me with the sight of Your gentle presence. There, by the taste of Your dear ransom with which You have redeemed me, recreate me. There, with the loving voice of Your incomparable love, call me to You. There, there, receive me in the embrace of Your infinitely merciful forgiveness. There, by the exquisite scent of the breath of Your Spirit’s sweetness, draw me to You, draw me in and draw me. There, in the kiss of perfect union of Your fruition, immerse me forever. And grant me then to see You, to have You, to enjoy You eternally in the greatest happiness, for my soul has yearns for You, O Jesus, dearest of all dear ones. Amen.” … St Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) Exercises IV, §400-419
PRAYER – Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – By St Gertrude the Great (1256-1302)
O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
fountain of eternal life,
Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love.
You are my refuge and my sanctuary.
O my adorable and loving Saviour,
consume my heart with the burning fire
with which Yours is aflamed.
Pour down on my soul those graces
which flow from Your love.
Let my heart be united with Yours.
Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things.
May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions.
Thought for the Day – 9 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Unless You Turn and Become Like Little Children, You Will Not Enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”
“At the beginning of their ministry, before they had been strengthened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were as ambitious as most other men.
One day, the mother of John and James, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and asked Him, if her two sons could have precedence over the other Apostles and sit on the highest thrones in His kingdom, one at His right hand and the other at His left.
Jesus disapproved of this desire to predominate. “Whoever wishes to become great among you,” He said, “shall be your servant and, whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; even as the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:26-28).
On another occasion, the Apostles came to Jesus and asked Him, which of them would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus’ only answer was to call a little child and to place him in the centre of the group. “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whoever, therefore, humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3-4).
This is the lofty teaching of the Gospel.
If we wish to be great and pleasing in the eyes of God, we must be unimportant in our own regard and in our relations with men.
The Gospel involves an overthrow of human values.
Anyone who makes himself insignificant, will become great.
Anyone who tries to make himself out to be a great man, becomes of little account in the eyes of God. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Cf Js 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
If we wish to please the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the first thing we must do, is become as little children.
In other words, we shall have to suppress our ambition and vanity and destroy our self-love, so that, the Sacred Heart may fill our hearts with the love of God alone!”
Thought for the Day – 11 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Learn From Me, For I Am Meek and Humble of Heart”
“Jesus is perfection itself.
In Him, therefore, every virtue is to be found.
He could truly claim that He fulfilled in Himself the precept: “You are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
Throughout His life, He performed in a perfect manner, the will of His heavenly Father: “I do always the things that are pleasing to Him” (Jn 8:29).
Jesus Christ provided us with an example of every virtue.
As the foundation of all the virtues, He insisted on the great precept of loving God above all things and our neighbour as ourselves.
In proposing Himself as a model, however, this is what He said: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and ou will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:29).
The outstanding example which Jesus gave us for our imitation, was this meekness and humility of heart.
We shall have peace of soul only, if we are meek and humble.
In what did the humility of Jesus consist?
He was God and He became man.
He Who possessed everything was born poor in a wretched stable and lived as a lowly workman for thirty years.
He allowed Himself to be betrayed by one of His Apostles, to be sentenced to death as an evildoer and, finally, to be executed on the Cross.
He combined humility with gentleness.
He was happy when He could receive back penitent sinners and grant them forgiveness and peace.
Let us recall the examples of Mary Magdalen, the adulteress, the lost sheep, the prodigal son and, finally, the repentant thief, to whom He promised the reward of Heaven.
What greater gentleness and mercy could we ever find?
To the present day, moreover, Jesus Christ is hidden in the Blessed Eucharist under the consecrated species and appeals to us to imitate and love Him.
When we are disturbed by pride, ambition, or worldly desires, let us go to Jesus and kneel in silence before the Tabernacle. “Learn from me,” He will say to us once more, “for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls.”
Thought for the Day – 10 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Surmounted by a Flaming Cross
“St Margaret Mary saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus, surmounted by flames in the midst of which, a Cross was raised on high.
These flames and this Cross, were the symbol of the infinite love of Jesus.
Let us reflect a little.
God, immeasurably happy in Himself, wished to communicate a share in His happiness to men, whom He created in a state of earthly happiness.
He was offended by men and, when He saw that they were heading for destruction, He sent His Eternal Word to them.
The Word took a human nature and became our brother; He preached the way to Heaven and gave us the means to achieve it.
More than this, He offered Himself as a divine victim of expiation for our sins.
Having been condemned by those whom He had come to show the way, He died on the Cross and shed all His Blood, for our salvation.
Pagans of all times have called this “the folly of the cross.”
In fact, it is the miracle of the infinite love of God for humanity.
Let us remember, however, that, although His love and goodness are infinite, so also is His justice!
It is an overwhelming miracle of love on the part of God, that He became man and died for us.
It will be our own downfall if we fail to co-operate with this miracle of love!
The same Jesus, Who died on the Cross for us and revealed His Heart, pierced and flaming with love, will one day appear with the same glorious sign of the Cross, as our Supreme Judge.
Then, He will say to the wicked: “Depart from me, accursed ones, into everlasting fire!”
God’s justice is, as infinite as His charity!
We must choose either the way of the Cross, the way of love and goodness to which the Sacred Heart of Jesus invites us, or the way of sin, which leads to the gulf of ruin and the final condemnation of the Supreme Judge.
This is the tremendous choice we have to make.”
Thought for the Day – 9 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Crown of Thorns Which Surrounds the Sacred Heart
“When Jesus appeared to St Margaret Mary, He showed her His Heart encircled by a crown of sharp thorns.
What is the significance of this?
In Heaven, Jesus is happy and cannot suffer anymore.
The Angels, Saints and the whole of creation, sing a hymn of unceasing praise in His honour.
Nevertheless, He sees the immense tide of sin, which surges forth from the human race which He redeemed by His Precious Blood, a redemption now made futile by many.
He is aware of the insane blasphemies hurled by so many against His lofty throne.
He sees how His gifts, His Sacraments and His graces are abused by many.
He sees, finally, the number of privileged souls, often consecrated to His service, who are indifferent and ungrateful, while, they should be trying to make reparation for the evils of mankind by their love, prayers and penances.
The explanation for this mystical crown of thorns, lies in His infinite love.
He does not suffer anymore because, He cannot suffer but He still has an immense love for all men, even for sinners and for those who are lukewarm and ungrateful.
He loves and wishes to save all men.
In spite of their sinfulness and ingratitude.
He still calls them appealingly to His Heart, which they, by their sins, have crowned with thorns and pierced with a lance.
This is a mystery of love which we cannot properly understand.
Only a man who loves Jesus fervently, can even have the slightest understanding of it.
If we sincerely love the divine Heart of Jesus, we shall realise, that these sharp thorns which once pierced His Heart in Gethsemane and on Calvary, were caused by our sins.
Then, we shall do our best to make a generous return for such love and to make reparation, even with grave sacrifice, for the offences which are still being committed by men against the loving Heart of the Redeemer.”
Thought for the Day – 8 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Our Response to the Love
of the Sacred Heart
“The Sacred Heart of Jesus is adorable in itself, not only as the living symbol of His human-divine love but, also, as part of His most holy humanity, insofar as it is hypostatically united to the divinity of the Word.
We should, therefore, pay very special homage to the Sacred Heart.
It is the Heart of the God-Man and, as such, is worthy of our highest adoration.
It’s sentiments harmonised mysteriously with the human will and, at the same time, with the divine Will of the Incarnate Word of God.
Every throb, was a token of an infinite love which we could never fully understand, for we cannot properly “know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:19).
But, we should adore this love as represented by the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The adoration is not an act of idolatory.
On the contrary, it is a fitting act of worship, because, it’s object is the Heart of the God-Man and, of the human-divine love of which it is the symbol.
Moreover, we owe the Sacred Heart of Jesus, all our gratitude and a return of love.
Let us reflect on how much Jesus has done for us and how much He has loved us.
Let us consider, not only the general work of Redemption and the supernatural gifts and graces connected with it but, also, the particular favours which we received from our childhood, up to the present moment.
He has bound us to His Heart by a loving chain of graces and of mercies!
How could we dare to break this chain, or to ignore such love?
Love demands love in return.
Favours demand gratitude.
It would be disastrous for us to display indifference and coldness, or, worse still, to respond to such great love, by committing new offences!”
Thought for the Day – 6 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Promises Made to Those Who Practise
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
“When Jesus appeared to St Margaret Mary Alacoque and commanded her to propagate the worship of His Sacred Heart, He promised very special blessings to those who would be truly devoted to His Sacrd Heart and spread this devotion among others. “I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life…consolation in all their trouble…peace in their families…blessings on all their undertakings.”
These promises are an inducement to us, to love Jesus and to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart.
Our Divine Saviour, is not content with having loved us so much during His mortal life and given us His Precious Blood, the Blessed Eucharist and His most Holy Mother, for our salvation.
He sees that His infinite love is not returned as it ought to be and seems to exercise a gentle pressure, in order to compel us to love Him. “Behold this Heart which has so loved men that It spare nothing…to prove to them It’s love. And, in return, I receive from the greater part of men, nothing but ingratitude, by the contempt, irreverence, sacrileges and coldness with which they treat Me in this Sacrament of Love.”
“I thirst, I burn with a consuming desire for men’s love and I find none to quench this thirst, according to My wish, by making any return of love.”
Thought for the Day – 6 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Worship of the Sacred Heart
in Relation to the Love of God and of Our Neighbour
“There is nothing sentimental about having devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Neither does this devotion consist only in prayers and pious practices.
It is much deeper than this.
It should flood our whole being, enkindle the fire of divine love in our hearts and transform our lives in accordance with the commands of Jesus.
A love which is not active cannot be genuine, it is only a passing emotion.
Our love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus should be real and effective.
As far as possible, it should change us into living replicas of Jesus Christ.
“You are my friends,” He said, “if you do the things I command you” (Jn 15:14).
Which commands does He mean?
All of them, of course. “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24). “Thy shalt love the Lord thy God, with they whole heart and with they whole soul” (Mt 22:37).
Anyone who practises these precepts and all others which are contained in the Gospel, is sincerely devoted to the Sacred Heart.
If anyone neglects to put them into practice but is satisfied with prayers, aspirations and the performance of spiritual exercises, his devotion is empty and has no foundation.
These prayers, aspirations and pious practices have their value, insofar, as they can attract God’s grace.
But, we must co-operate with God’s grace by our good actions.
Then our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, will be sincere and effective.”
Thought for the Day – 5 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacred Heart and the Holy Viaticum
“The infinite love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus accompanies us through life.
Our Lord loved us so much, that He gave His life for us – there could not possibly be any greater love than this. “Greater love than this no-one has, that one lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).
The Heart of Jesus beats for us continually and His gaze follows us everywhere, especially when we are in danger or in temptation.
Since Jesus loved us so much, that He died for us, it is incredible that He would ever abandon us.
Even though He is now happy and beyond suffering in Heaven, He still loves us dearly.
But if the Sacred Heart enfolds us now in a close embrace of love, He will certainly protect us in a very special manner at the moment of death, that moment on which, depends an eternity of joy or of suffering.
Let us reflect on what happened when Jesus was hanging upon the Cross.
He gave us all His love and all His Precious Blood and, with His dying breath, He gave us the last treasure He possessed, His Blessed Mother.
Omnipotent though He was, He could not give us anything more.
He had exhausted His infinite love, giving us, not merely all that He possessed but, giving us Himself also.
One of the thieves who was being crucified along with Him, turned towards Him, a look of repentance and of supplication.
His Heart was filled with love and mercy and He said to the penitent thief: “This day, thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Lk 23:43).
These are comforting words.
Someday we also shall be in agony and shall turn to Jesus in our final hour.
Then Jesus, in the Blessed Eucharist, will come to us for the last time.
Let us pray earnestly that the Viaticum may bring us the same consolation which the words of Jesus gave to the good thief: “This day, thou shalt be with me in paradise!”
Thought for the Day – 4 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
and the Blessed Eucharist
“It is from the loving Heart of Jesus that His innumerable gifts come to us – His graces, the Sacraments, the supernatural work of our redemption.
His many acts of mercy and compassion, of which we read in the pages of the Gospel, show us the immensity of the love which His Heart bore for us.
The greatest of all His gifts to us, is the Eucharist, for in the Eucharist, He gives us, not merely His gifts but Himself, the Author of all these gifts.
There are three great mysteries which show us, in a special way, the infinite love of God for us and indicate, although in a manner which we cannot clearly comprehend, that He is love itself. “God is love.” (1 Jn 4:8)
These three mysteries are the Creation, the Incarnation and the Eucharist.
God, infinitely perfect and happy in Himself, wished to impart something of His infinite perfection.
He created the universe and made man master of it.
But, ungrateful man separated himself from God by sin.
He became engulfed in an abyss of evil from which he was incapable of rising to return to God, his only good.
Then God, in another mysterious act of love, became man.
The Eternal Word assumed a human form, taught us the way to Heaven, gave us the means of reaching it and died for our sins on the Cross.
We could never meditate sufficiently on this profound mystery of love.
There was more to follow, however.
When Jesus was returning to His heavenly Father, He wished to remain among us.
During His earthly life, He had given Himself completely up, to the final immolation on Calvary.
But, He wished to give us Himself for all time, until the end of the world.
This is the explanation of the Eucharist, which is Jesus dwelling amongst us as our nourishment and as our consolation in life and at the hour of death.
By means of this wonderful gift, we can live the life of Jesus Himself!”
Thought for the Day – 3 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Revealed in the Gospel
“If we meditate on the pages of the Gospel, we shall find that they are vibrant with the infinite love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Let us, in imagination, enter the cave of Bethlehem and kneel before the crib where the Divine Infant is lying.
Darkness is all around, darkness over the earth, darkness in the minds and hearts of the majority of men.
But, now, the heavens open and from the brightness the voices of angels ring out, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace among men of goodwill.”
Who is this infant?
He is the Eternal Word, the substantial image of God, Who, for love of us, has been made man.
He is the Infinite One Who has willed to unite Himself with the finite, in order to lift us towards Himself.
This little heart is throbbing like that of any baby but, in this throb, is expressed the love of the God-Man.
It is a profound mystery, that God should have loved man so much, that He became a tiny infant.
Yet, He did this so that we might love Him more easily and in order to show us His own immeasurable love.
There is about this Infant, a fascination, at once human and divine, which compels us to love Him, even as Mary, Joseph and the simple shepherds loved Him.
He is asking us for love, adoration and complete surrender.
Can we refuse Him?
Now let us take ourselves in imagination to Calvary and kneel at the foot of the Cross.
The heart which began to beat with the sacred love in the manger at Bethlehem, has given everything for us, has poured forth it’s precious blood for our salvation and, has bestowed on us, as a final gift, the Blessed Mother of God.
Now, this heart is consumed with love for us and ceases to beat only when it has give us everything. “It is consummated” (Jn 19:30).
At Bethlehem we have experienced a joyful ecstasy of love.
Here, at the foot of the Cross, we should experience a deep sorrow, which will cause us to weep for our sins and to transform our lives after the model of Jesus Christ.”
Thought for the Day – 1 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Necessity of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
“Considered as the cult of the love of God and of His Incarnate Son, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is a necessary and obligatory religious practice.
God loved us so much, that He willed that the Eternal Word should assume a human nature, instruct us concerning the way to Heaven and give us the means necessary to reach it and, die upon the Cross, in order to impart to us, the merits of the shedding of His Precious Blood.
It is obvious, then, that we have a strict duty to make a return of homage and love, for such great love on God’s part.
“God so loved the world,” the Gospel says, “that He gave His only-begotten Son that those who believe in Him, may not perish but may have life everlasting” (Jn 3:16).
“In this, has the love of God been shown in our case,” St John adds in his first epistle, “that God has sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we may live through Him” (1 Jn 4:9).
It is the mystery of the immeasurable love of God, that He became man, suffered and died for us.
We should offer Him, in return, not only the affection of our hearts but, also, our adoration, gratitude and the dedication of our entire lives in His service.
As He lived and died for love of us, so we should live and die for love of Him.
As His human-divine actions were aimed at our salvation, so we should aim all our thoughts and actions at the promotion of His glory.
In this way, writes Pope Pius XI, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, becomes the synthesis of Christianity and the guide to more perfect knowledge, love and imitation of Christ (Encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, AAS 1928, p.167).”