Friday – Second Week After Pentecost
Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
THE FAITHFUL HEART OF JESUS
The faithfulness of the Heart of Jesus gives us confidence to hope for all things although we deserve nothing. God is faithful, says St. Paul. Oh, how faithful is the beautiful Heart of Jesus towards those He calls to His love!
Oh, how faithful is the beautiful Heart of Jesus: towards those He calls to His love: He is faithful who hath called you, who also will perform–(l Thess. v. 24). The faithfulness of God gives us confidence to hope all things, although we deserve nothing. If we have driven God from our heart, let us open the door to Him and He will immediately enter, according to the promise He has made: If anyone open to me the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him-(Apoc. iii. 20). If we wish for graces, let us ask for them of God, in the Name of Jesus Christ, and He has promised us that we shall obtain them: If you shall ask the Father anything in my name, He will give it you-(Jo. xvi. 23). If We are tempted, let us trust in His merits, and He will not permit our enemies to strive with us beyond our strength: God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able-(1 Cor. x. 13). Oh, how much better is it to have to do with God than with men! How often do men promise and then fail, either because they tell lies in making their promises, or because, after having made the promise, they change their minds: “God is not as man,” says the Holy Spirit, “that he should lie; or as the son of man, that he should be changed”¬(Numb. xxiii. 19).
I know my ingratitude, O my Jesus, and I abhor it. I know that Thou art infinite Goodness, Who deservest an infinite love, especially from me, whom Thou hast so much loved, even after all the offences I have committed against Thee. Unhappy me if I should damn myself; the graces Thou hast vouchsafed to me, and the proofs of the singular affection which Thou hast shown me, would be, O God, the hell of hells to me. Ah, no, my Love, have pity on me; suffer me not to forsake Thee again, and then by damning myself, as I should deserve, continue to repay in hell with injuries and hatred the love that Thou hast borne me. O loving and faithful Heart of Jesus, inflame, I beseech Thee, my miserable heart, so that it may burn with love for Thee, as Thine does. for me. My Jesus, it seems to me that now I love Thee, but I love Thee but little. Make me love Thee exceedingly, and remain faithful to Thee until death. I ask of Thee this grace, together with that of always praying to Thee for it. Grant that I may die rather than ever betray Thee again. O Mary, my Mother, help me to be faithful to thy Son.
God cannot be unfaithful to His promises, because, being Truth itself, He cannot lie; nor can He change His mind, because all that He wills is just and right. He has promised to receive all that come to Him, to give help to him that asks it, to love him that loves Him; and shall He, then, not do it? Hath he said, then, and will he not do it? Oh, that we were as faithful with God as He is with us! Oh, how often have we, in times past, promised Him to be His, to serve Him and to love Him; and then have betrayed Him, and, renouncing His service, have sold ourselves as slaves to the devil! Oh, let us beseech Him to give us strength to be faithful to Him for the future! Oh, how blessed shall we be if we are faithful to Jesus Christ in the few things that He commands us to do; He will, indeed, be faithful in remunerating us with infinitely great rewards; and He will declare to us what He has promised to His faithful servants: Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord-(Matt. xxv. 21).
Oh, that I had been as faithful towards Thee, my dearest Redeemer, as Thou hast been faithful to me. Whenever I have opened my heart to Thee, Thou hast entered in, to forgive me and to receive me into Thy favour; whenever I have called Thee, Thou hast hastened to my assistance. Thou hast been faithful with me, but I have been exceedingly unfaithful towards Thee. I have promised Thee my love, and then have many times refused it to Thee; as if Thou, my God, Who hast created and redeemed me, wert less worthy of being loved than Thy creatures and those miserable pleasures for which I have forsaken Thee. Forgive me, O my Jesus.
Had men but always recourse to the Most Blessed Sacrament to seek from it the remedy of their ills, they certainly would not be as miserable as they are. The Prophet Jeremias, lamenting, exclaimed: Is there no balm in Galaad, or is there no physician there?-(Jer. viii. 22). Galaad, a mountain of Arabia, rich in aromatical spices, according to the Venerable Bede, is a figure of Jesus Christ, Who, in this Sacrament, keeps in readiness all the remedies of our woes. Why, then, our Redeemer seems to ask, do you complain of your misfortunes, O ye sons of Adam, when you have the physician and the remedy for them all in this Sacrament? Come to me, and I will refresh you -(Matt. xi. 28). I will, then, address Thee, O Lord, in the words of the sisters of Lazarus: Behold, he whom thou lovest is sick-(Jo. xi. 3). Lord, I am that miserable creature whom Thou lovest; my soul is all wounded by the sins I have committed; my divine Physician, I come to Thee that Thou mayest heal me; if Thou wilt, Thou canst cure me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee. Draw me wholly to Thyself, my most sweet Jesus, by the all-winning attractions of Thy love. Far rather would I be bound to Thee than become the lord of the whole earth. I desire nothing else in the world but to love Thee. I have but little to give Thee; but could I gain possession of all the kingdoms of the world, I would do so, that I might renounce them all for Thy love. For Thee, then, I renounce what I can; I give up all relatives, all comforts, all pleasures, and even spiritual consolations; for Thee I renounce my liberty and my will. On Thee I desire to bestow all my love. I love Thee, infinite Goodness; I love Thee more than myself, and I hope to love Thee for all eternity.
Ejac. My Jesus, I give myself to Thee; do Thou accept me!
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
My Lady, thou didst say to St. Bridget: “However much a man sins, if he returns to me with a real purpose of amendment, I am instantly ready to welcome him; neither do I pay attention to the greatness of his sins, but to the intention alone with which he comes. I do not disdain to anoint and heal his wounds; for I am called, and truly am, the Mother of Mercy.” Since, then, thou hast both the power and the will to heal me, behold I have recourse to thee, O heavenly physician; heal the many wounds of my soul; with a single word addressed by thee to thy Son I shall be restored.
Ejac. O Mary, have pity on me!
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.
THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
XXIX.-HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST SEEKS TO DETACH HIMSELF FROM EVERY CREATURE
When once the love of God takes full possession of a soul, she of her own accord (supposing always, of course, the assistance of Divine grace) strives to divest herself of everything that could prove a hindrance to her belonging wholly to God. St Francis de Sales remarks that when a house catches fire all the furniture is thrown out of the window; meaning thereby, that when a person gives himself entirely to God, he needs no persuasion of preachers or confessors, but of his own accord seeks to get rid of every earthly affection. Father Segneri the Younger called Divine love a robber, which happily despoils us of all, that we may come into the possession of God alone. A certain man, of respectable position in life, having renounced everything in order to become poor for the love of Jesus Christ was questioned by a friend how he fell into such a state of poverty; he took from his pocket a small volume of the Gospels, and said: “Behold, this is what has stripped me of all.” The Holy Spirit says: If a man shall give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing -(Cant. viii. 7). And when a soul fixes her whole love in God, she despises all, wealth, pleasures, dignities, territories, kingdoms, and all her longing is after God alone; she says again and again: “My God. I wish for Thee only, and nothing more.” St. Francis de Sales writes: “The pure love of God consumes everything which is not God, to convert all into itself; for whatever we do for the love of God is love.”
The Sacred Spouse said: He brought me into the cellar of wine, he set in order charity in me-(Cant. ii. 4). This cellar of wine, writes St. Teresa, is Divine love, which, on taking possession of a soul, so perfectly inebriates it, as to make it forgetful of everything created. A person intoxicated is as it were dead in his senses; he neither sees, nor hears, nor speaks: and so it happens to the soul inebriated with Divine love. She has no longer any sense of the things of the world; she wishes to think only of God, to speak only of God; she recognises no other motive in all her actions but to love and to please God. In the Sacred Canticles the Lord forbids them to awake His beloved, who sleeps: Stir not up, nor make the beloved to awake, till she please (Cant. ii. 7). This blessed sleep, enjoyed by souls espoused to Jesus Christ, says St. Basil, is nothing else than “the utter oblivion of all things,” a virtuous and voluntary forgetfulness of every created thing, in order to be occupied solely with God, and to able to exclaim with St. Francis: “Deus meus et omnia-My God and my All!” My God, what are riches, and dignities, and the goods of this world, compared with Thee! Thou art my All, and my every Good. “My God and my All!” Thomas a Kempis writes: “Oh, sweet word! It speaks enough for him who understands it; and to him who loves, it is most delicious to repeat again and again: My God and my All! My God and my All!”