Friday, June 19, 2009

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9
Thus says the LORD:
When Israel was a child I loved him,
out of Egypt I called my son.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.

My heart is overwhelmed,
my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not a man,
the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.

Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19
Brothers and sisters:
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the church
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.

This was according to the eternal purpose
that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.
For this reason I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

John 19:31-37
Since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath,
for the Sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and they be taken down.

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

+++ +++ +++

“When I was a child, I thought as a child”, wrote Saint Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians. The same is true for all of us. If you went to Sisters School, as I did, you probably learned the same thing I did about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: if you go to Mass and receive communion on nine consecutive First Fridays, you would surely go to heaven, because God would grant you the grace of final penitence. If you were like me, and my classmates, you probably saw the devotion of the Nine First Fridays as an insurance policy, to ward off fear of suffering Hellfire for your sins. Not that you and I could exercise sufficient deliberation and consent to commit a mortal sin between the day on which we made our First Communion to the day in June when we got out of grammar school.

Today, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I suggest that we follow through on the next part of what Paul wrote, “now that I am grown up…” and find out what how Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque prayed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

I give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being other than to honor, love and glorify the Sacred Heart. This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him. I therefore take You, O Sacred heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.

Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God the Father, and turn away from me the strokes of his righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in You, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Your goodness and bounty.

Remove from me all that can displease You or resist Your holy will; let your pure love imprint Your image so deeply upon my heart, that I shall never be able to forget You or to be separated from You.

May I obtain from all Your loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Your Heart, for in You I desire to place all my happiness and glory, living and dying in bondage to You.


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