8 - 12 minutes readFriday – First Week After Pentecost ~ St Alphonsus

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Friday – First Week After Pentecost

Morning Meditation

THE AMIABLE HEART OF JESUS

The Heart of Jesus is all pure, all holy, all full of love towards God and towards us. Every perfection, every virtue reigns in this Heart. This is the Heart in which God Himself finds all His delight. O amiable Heart of Jesus, Thou dost well deserve the love of all hearts.

I.

He who shows himself amiable in everything must necessarily make himself loved. Oh, if we only applied ourselves to discover all the good qualities by which Jesus Christ renders Himself worthy of our love, we should all be under the happy necessity of loving Him. And what heart among all hearts can be found more worthy of love than the Heart of Jesus? A Heart all pure, all holy, all full of love towards God and towards us; because all Its desires are only for the Divine glory and our good. This is the Heart in which God finds all His delight. Every perfection, every virtue reigns in this Heart; a most ardent love for God, His Father, united to the greatest humility and respect that can possibly exist; a sovereign confusion for our sins, which He has taken upon Himself, united to the extreme confidence of a most affectionate Son; a sovereign abhorrence of our sins, united to a lively compassion for our miseries; an extreme sorrow, united to a perfect conformity to the Will of God; so that in Jesus is found everything that is most amiable.

O my amiable Redeemer, what object more worthy of love could the Eternal Father command me to love than Thee? Thou art the Beauty of Paradise, Thou art the Love of Thy Father, Thy Heart is the throne of all virtues. O amiable Heart of my Jesus, Thou dost well deserve the love of all hearts; poor and wretched is that heart which loves Thee not! Thus miserable, O my God, has my heart been during all the time in which it has not loved Thee. But I will not continue to be thus wretched; I love Thee, I will always continue to love Thee, O my Jesus. O my Lord, I have hitherto forgotten Thee, and now what can I expect? That my ingratitude will oblige Thee to forget me entirely and forsake me forever? No, my Saviour, do not permit it. Thou art the object of the love of God; and shalt Thou not, then, be loved by a miserable sinner such as I am, who have been so favoured and loved by Thee? O lovely flames that burn in the amiable Heart of my Jesus, enkindle in my poor heart that holy fire which Jesus came down from Heaven to kindle on earth. Consume and destroy all the impure affections that dwell in my heart and prevent it from being entirely His.

II.

Some are attracted to love others by their beauty, others by their innocence, others by living with them, others by devotion. But if there were a person in whom all these and other virtues were united, who could help loving him? If we heard that there was in a distant foreign country a prince who was handsome, humble, courteous, devout, full of charity, affable to all, who rendered good to those who did him evil; then, although we knew not who he was, and though he knew not us, and though we were not acquainted with him, nor was there any possibility of our ever being so, yet we should be enamoured of him, and should be constrained to love him. How is it then, possible, that Jesus Christ, Who possesses in Himself all these virtues, and in the most perfect degree, and Who loves us so tenderly, how is it possible that He should be so little loved by men, and should not be the only object of our love? O my God, how is it that Jesus, Who alone is worthy of love, and Who has given us so many proofs of the love that He bears us, should be alone, as it were, the unlucky One with us, Who cannot arrive at making us love Him; as if He were not sufficiently worthy of our love! This is what caused floods of tears to St. Rose of Lima, St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Teresa, St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, who, on considering the ingratitude of men, exclaimed, weeping: “Love is not loved! Love is not loved!”

O my God, grant that I may only exist to love Thee, and Thee alone, my dearest Saviour. If at one time I despised Thee, Thou art now the only object of my love. I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, and I will never love any but Thee! My beloved Lord, do not disdain to accept the love of a heart which has once afflicted Thee by my sins. Let it be Thy glory to exhibit to the Angels a heart now burning with the love of Thee, which hitherto shunned and despised Thee. Most Holy Virgin Mary, my hope; do thou assist me, and beseech Jesus to make me, by His grace, all that He wishes me to be.

Spiritual Reading

CORAM SANCTISSIMO

NINTH VISIT

St. John says that he saw our Lord girt up with a golden girdle, which supported His breasts: I saw the Son of Man girt about the breasts with a golden girdle –(Apoc. i. 13). Thus also is Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar, with His breasts all filled with milk; that is to say, with the graces which, in His mercy, He desires to bestow upon us. And as a mother whose breasts are overcharged with milk goes about seeking children who may draw it off, and relieve her of its weight, so also does He call out to us, You shall be carried at the breasts –(Is. lxvi. 12).

The Venerable Father Alvarez saw Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with His hands filled with graces, and seeking to whom He might dispense them. Of St. Catharine of Sienna it is related that when she approached the Most Holy Sacrament she did so precisely with the same loving avidity with which a child flies to its mother’s breast.

O most beloved and only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, I know that Thou art the object most worthy of being loved. I desire to love Thee as much as Thou deservest to be loved, or at least as much as a soul can ever desire to love Thee. I fully understand that I, who am a traitor and so great a rebel to Thy love, deserve not to love Thee, neither do I deserve to approach so near to Thee as I now am in this church. But I feel that Thou, for all this, seekest my love. I hear Thee say: My son, give me thy heart-(Prov. xxiii. 26}. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart –(Matt. xxii. 37). I understand that it is for this end Thou hast spared my life, and not sent me to hell, that I might be converted and turn all my affections to Thee. Since, then, Thou art pleased that even I should love Thee, oh, yes, my God, I will do so. Behold, here I am! To Thee I yield myself up: I give myself to Thee: I love Thee, O God! all goodness, all love, I choose Thee for the only King and Lord of my poor heart. Thou desirest it, and my will is to give it to Thee: it is cold, it is loathsome; but if Thou acceptest it, Thou wilt change it. Change me, my Lord, change me; I will no longer dare to live as I have hitherto lived, ungrateful, and with so little love towards Thine infinite Goodness, which loves me so much and deserves an infinite love. Enable me to supply from this day forward all the love I have hitherto failed to bear Thee.

Ejac. My God, my God, I will love Thee! I will love Thee! I will love Thee!

AN ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

My Jesus, I believe that Thou art truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love Thee above all things, and I desire to possess Thee within my soul. Since I am unable now to receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace Thee as already there, and unite myself wholly to Thee; never permit me to be separated from Thee.

VISIT TO MARY

In all things like to her Son Jesus, is His Mother Mary; and as she is the Mother of Mercy, she is thrice happy when she succours and consoles the miserable. So great is the desire of this Mother to bestow graces on all that Bernardine de Bustis says “she desires more to do us good and to impart to us graces than we can desire to receive them.”

Ejac. Hail, our hope!

Concluding Prayer

Most holy Immaculate Virgin and my Mother Mary, to thee, who art the Mother of my Lord, and Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I have recourse today I, who am the most miserable of all. I render thee my most humble homage, O great Queen, and I thank thee for all the graces thou hast conferred on me until now, particularly for having delivered me from hell, which I have so often deserved. I love thee, O most amiable Lady; and for the love which I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and to do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee all my hopes; I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O Mother of Mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or rather obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Of thee I ask a perfect love of Jesus Christ. From thee I hope to die a good death.

O my Mother, for the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life. Leave me not, I beseech thee, until thou seest me safe in Heaven, blessing thee, and singing thy mercies for all eternity. Amen. So I hope. So may it be.

Evening Meditation

THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST

“CHARITY IS NOT AMBITIOUS.”

XX.–HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST DESIRES NOTHING BUT JESUS CHRIST.

I.

He that loves God does not desire to be esteemed and loved by his fellow-men: the single desire of his heart is to enjoy the favour of Almighty God, Who alone forms the object of his love. St. Hilary writes that all honour paid by the world is the business of the devil. And so it is; for the enemy traffics for hell when he infects the soul with the desire of esteem; because, by thus laying aside humility, she runs great risks of plunging into every vice. St. James writes that, as God confers His graces with open hands upon the humble, so does He close them against the proud, whom He resists. God resists the proud, and gives his grace to the humble-(James iv. 6). He says, He resists the proud, signifying that He does not even listen to their prayers. And certainly, among the acts of pride we may reckon, the desire to be honoured by men, and self-exaltation at receiving honours from them.

II.

We have a frightful example of this in the history of Brother Justin the Franciscan, who had even risen to a lofty state of contemplation; but because, perhaps-and indeed without a perhaps-he nourished within himself a desire of human esteem, behold what befell him. One day Pope Eugenius IV sent for him; and on account of the great opinion he had of his sanctity, showed him peculiar marks of honour, embraced him, and made him sit by his side. Such high honours filled Brother Justin with self-conceit; on which St. John Capistran said to him, “Alas, Brother Justin, thou didst leave us an angel, and thou returnest a devil!” And, in fact, the hapless Brother becoming daily more and more puffed up with arrogance, and insisting on being treated according to his own estimate of himself, he at last committed murder. Afterwards, becoming apostate, he fled into the kingdom of Naples, where he perpetrated other atrocities, and there he died in prison, an apostate to the last. Hence it is that a certain great servant of God wisely said that when we hear or read of the fall of some towering cedars of Libanus, of a Solomon, a Tertullian, an Osius, who had all the reputation of saints, it is a sign that they were not wholly given to God, but nourished inwardly some spirit of pride, and so fell away. Let us therefore tremble when we feel arise within us an ambition to appear in public, and to be esteemed by the world; and when the world pays us some tribute of honour, let us beware of taking complacency in it, which might prove the cause of our utter ruin.

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