On the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
To-day, when we recall to mind in an especial manner the death of Christ, picture to yourself the moment when our Lord had just breathed His last upon the cross and one of the soldiers, raising his spear, thrust it into His side. Thus was that Heart pierced whose every pulsation was one of love for man; that Heart which loved us more than we ever else were loved; that Heart which was broken solely to effect our reconciliation with God. Keep the image of this pierced Heart before your eyes whilst you make your meditation.
1st. Consider the fearful agony our Lord endured while hanging on the cross. What wondrous charity animated this divine heart! To die when perfectly innocent, to die in the most cruel torture that can be imagined, to die for one’s enemies, is not this incomprehensible charity? But now the Heart of Jesus beats more and more feebly; at length it ceases altogether; one last throb and it breaks in death. Think, my soul, of the first pulsation of that Heart at Nazareth; realize as far as you can what from that moment to this that Heart has endured for you, felt for you, suffered for you. Now it is at rest; all is over. But the charity of that Heart is not exhausted. Jesus willed to bestow upon you all that was His: Whilst He hung upon the cross He gave His Mother to you; when the pallor of death overspread His features He gave His life for you; now after death He gives you His Heart, the Heart that was riven by His desire, that you might find therein a place of repose.
2d. Consider that the Evangelist does not say that one of the soldiers pierced our Lord’s side, but that with a spear he opened His side. (St. John xix. 34.) What is the reason of this? It was our Lord’s will that a secure place of refuge should be opened for you, none other than His Sacred Heart, in which you might abide continually, as did a certain holy count, of whom we read that when absent from home he wrote to his wife: “I am quite well in health. If perchance thou desirest to see me, seek me in the sacred wound of my Saviour’s side, for there is my dwelling, there thou wilt find me.” Ponder this attentively. There is an ancient fable which asserts that if one should eat the heart of a snake he can thenceforth handle snakes with impunity, and he is proof against the poison of their fangs. Now Christ is the mystic serpent, for He Himself declares: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (St. John iii. 14.) Whoso therefore spiritually feeds upon the Heart of the divine serpent, that is to say, is united to it in the closest union by entering in spirit into the wound of that Sacred Heart, cleft by the soldier’s spear, is safe against the venom of the infernal serpent and need fear no more that its bite will prove hurtful to him. Ask yourself, my soul, whether you have hitherto made use of that place of refuge, whether you have profited by our Lord’s charity in offering to you His Heart, or whether you have failed as yet to seek that sure asylum.
3d. Consider that from the wounded Heart of Jesus there flows an ineffable sweetness that makes all bitter things sweet. Truly, however hard, however wretched your life on earth may be, if you do but look upon the Heart of Jesus, opened for you, if you see the last drop of His blood mingled with water flow from that Heart, flow from it for your sake, nothing will any longer seem arduous, nothing will seem too hard for you to bear. It was so with a certain monk who all at once found the yoke of the Rule so intolerable that he hesitated whether he had not better leave the Order. Whilst he was in this state of uncertainty Christ appeared to him and showed him the wound in His sacred side, saying: “Whatever appears to thee too heavy to be borne, too austere to be endured, lay it within My bleeding side and it will become sweet and attractive to thee.” The monk did as he was desired, and persevered in his vocation. In like manner immerse yourself, my soul, this day and whenever your state of life or the Rule of your Order appears a burden beyond your power to sustain, in this source of grace, this fount of consolation and sweetness, and you will rise up endued with new courage, with fresh strength, and sing with joy and thankfulness the words:
“Jesu, Victim blest,
What else but love divine
Could Thee constrain to open thus
That Sacred Heart of Thine?
Hide me in that dear Heart,
For thither would I fly;
There seek Thy grace in life, in death,
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ
(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)
PRAYER WHICH ST. GERTRUDE RECITED DAILY.
I salute thee, O Heart of Jesus my Saviour, vivifying and immutable source of joy and eternal life, infinite treasure of divinity, furnace of pure love; thou art my refuge and shelter, Thou art all to me. O loving Heart, fill my heart with the same fervor which inflames Thine. Bestow on me those abundant graces of which Thou art the source. Let my soul be always united to Thine, and let my will be continually subject to Thee. I have but one desire, that is that the rule of my actions, the object of my thoughts and sentiments, be Thine holy and infallible will. Amen.
Jesus, who art meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thy heart. (300 days indulgence.)
Sweet Heart of Jesus, enkindle me with Thy love. (300 days indulgence.)
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us. (100 days indulgence.)
Be loved everywhere O Sacred Heart of Jesus!(100 days indulgence.)
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