To the Sacred Heart

A heart I need, to soothe me and to bless, —
A strong support that cannot pass away, —
To love me wholly, e’en my feebleness,
And never leave me through the night or day.
There is not one created thing below,
Can love me truly, and can never die.
God become man — none else my needs can know;
He, He alone, can understand my cry.

Thou comprehendest all I need, dear Lord!
To win my heart, from heaven Thou didst come;
For me Thy blood didst shed, O King adored!
And on our altars makest Thy home.
So, if I may not here behold Thy Face,
Or catch the heav’nly music of Thy Voice,
I still can live, each moment, by Thy grace,
And in Thy Sacred Heart I can rejoice.

O Heart of Jesus, wealth of tenderness!
My joy Thou art, in Thee I safely hide.
Thou, Who my earliest youth didst charm and bless,
Till my last evening, oh! with me abide,
All that I had, to Thee I wholly gave,
To Thee each deep desire of mine is known.
Whoso his life shall lose, that life shall save; —
Let mine be ever lost in Thine alone!

From the poem To the Sacred Heart, by St. Therese 

If you’d like a little spiritual reading on St. Therese and her devotion to the Sacred Heart click here.

The Heart of God

Non-Catholics sometimes find the image of the Sacred Heart strange, even disturbing, but for Catholics it is one of the most comforting devotions in the Church.  Each of us have our favorite image of the Sacred Heart, the one that speaks to us most deeply.  In fact, just looking for a picture for this post I found so many different images that it was hard to choose one.  No matter which one most moves our heart to devotion, every image reveals the vulnerability of God, sharing, no, offering, His Heart to us.

Our Lord’s Sacred Heart is the answer to the cry of longing within every human heart; it echoes our need to be loved and understood. He, too, asks for love and understanding from us in return, but since He cannot be Continue reading

Pope’s Sunday Angelus

Sacred Heart of Jesus by ChambersBelow is the Vatican Radio translation of Pope Francis’ remarks to the faithful before praying the Angelus with them in St. Peter’s Square.

Dear brothers and sisters!

The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the highest human expression of divine love. Just this past Friday, in fact, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the feast that sets the tone for the whole month. Popular piety highly prizes symbols, and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy – but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the center, the source from which salvation for all humanity gushed forth.

In the Gospels we find several references to the Heart of Jesus, for example, in the passage where Christ says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. (Mt 11:28-29)” Then there is the key story of the death of Christ according to John. This evangelist in fact testifies to what he saw on Calvary: that a soldier, when Jesus was already dead, pierced his side with a spear, and from the wound flowed blood and water (cf. Jn 19.33-34). John recognized in that – apparently random – sign, the fulfillment of prophecies: from the heart of Jesus, the Lamb slain on the cross, flow forgiveness and life for all men.

But the mercy of Jesus is not just sentiment: indeed it is a force that gives life, that raises man up! [This Sunday]’s Gospel tells us this as well, in the episode of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Jesus, with his disciples, is just arrived in Nain, a village in Galilee, at the very moment in which a funeral is taking place. a boy is buried, the only son of a widow. Jesus’ gaze immediately fixes itself on the weeping mother. The evangelist Luke says: “Seeing her, the Lord was moved with great compassion for her (v. 13).” This “compassion” is the love of God for man, it is mercy, i.e. the attitude of God in contact with human misery, with our poverty, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term “compassion” recalls the maternal viscera: a mother, in fact, experiences a reaction all her own, to the pain of her children. In this way does God love us, the Scripture says.

And what is the fruit of this love? It is life! Jesus said to the widow of Nain, “Do not weep,” and then called the dead boy and awoke him as from a sleep (cf. vv. 13-15). The mercy of God gives life to man, it raises him from the dead. The Lord is always watching us with mercy, [always] awaits us with mercy. Let us be not afraid to approach him! He has a merciful heart! If we show our inner wounds, our sins, He always forgives us. He is pure mercy! Let us never forget this: He is pure mercy! Let us go to Jesus!

Let us turn to the Virgin Mary: her immaculate heart – a mother’s heart – has shared the “compassion” of God to the full, especially at the hour of the passion and death of Jesus. May Mary help us to be meek, humble and compassionate with our brethren.

After the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke these words to Pilgrims:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today in Krakow are proclaimed Blessed two Polish women religious: Zofia Czeska Maciejowska, who, in the first half of the 17th century, founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Margaret Lucia Szewczyk, who in the 19thcentury founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Sorrows. With the Church in Krakow we give thanks to the Lord!

I affectionately greet all the pilgrims present today: church groups, families, schools, associations, movements.

I greet the faithful from Mumbai, India.

I greet the Family Love Movement of Rome, the confraternities and volunteers of the Sanctuary of Mongiovino, near Perugia, Umbria, the Young Franciscans of Umbria, the “House of Charity” in Lecce, the faithful of the province of Modena, whom I encourage [in their work of] reconstruction [the region was hard-hit by an earthquake in 2012], and those of Ceprano. I greet the pilgrims of Ortona, where we venerate the relics of the Apostle Thomas, who made ​​a journey “from Thomas to Peter”! Thank you!

I wish you all a good Sunday, and a good lunch!

Real Men Wear Red

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.03.09 PMToday marks the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Our Lord appeared in the 17th century.  Although devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had already been revealed to St. Gertrude centuries before, it is almost always thought of in conjunction with today’s saint.

This devotion to the Sacred Heart is not something that belongs to the past.  Like Our Lord Himself, it is outside of time, and it is still quite relevant today.   Most interesting is the devotion in connection with religious persecution.

What are we talking about?

On June 17, 1689 Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary saying that He wanted the King of France (Louis XIV) to consecrate himself and the nation to “my adorable Heart.  It wants to triumph over his and, through him, over the hearts of the great ones of the earth. It wants to reign in his palace, be painted on his standards, and engraved on his arms, so that they may be victorious over all his enemies. It wants to bring low these proud and stubborn heads and make him triumphant over all the enemies of holy Church.”

Regrettably for France, and the rest of the world, Louis XIV did not consecrate his kingdom to Our Lord’s Sacred Heart. Nor did his son. Nor did his grandson – until it was too late.  Exactly 100 years to the day that our Lord gave this message to St. Margaret Mary, the National Assembly stripped Louis XVI of his power.  Less than four years later he met his fate at the guillotine.  The night before his execution he consecrated France to the Sacred Heart, but the enemies of the Church were already well on their way to triumph.

How different might things have been if Our Lord’s request had been heeded.  Despite the lack of confidence those three kings apparently had in Our Lord, there have been many faithful who have painted the Sacred Heart on their standards and engraved It on their arms.  The Vendean army  in France, the Cristeros in Mexico, and the Catholic Carlists during the Spanish Civil War, all wore badges of the Sacred Heart of Jesus into battle.

As many in America grow more and more intolerant of Christianity let us entrust ourselves and our beloved nation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  During our time in this vale of tears we must hold fast to the promise He made to St. Margaret Mary: “Fear nothing, I will reign in spite of my enemies.”