On the Power of Love in the 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 Power of Love in the Heart of Jesus.
To-day, in commencing your meditation, let your thoughts dwell for a few moments on the three hours agony of our Lord upon the cross. It is impossible for you to contemplate it without deep emotion, without feelings of contrition, of gratitude, of love. Yet at the time hundreds stood by callous and indifferent, unmoved by the awful sufferings of which they were eye-witnesses on Calvary. Thus even the pains our Lord endured at His crucifixion failed to melt those stony hearts; the crown of thorns, the transfixed hands and feet produced no impression on them. But all was changed when once the heart of Jesus was opened.
1st. Consider that just as the greater the altitude the sun attains in the sky the more power its rays have to warm the face of the earth, so it was with the Sun of justice, our Lord Jesus Christ. Whilst He walked on the earth in lowliness and abjection, the hearts of many sinners were, it is true, warmed and illuminated by the sunshine of His grace, but the great majority remained obdurate. But when that heavenly Sun ascended higher, when from the elevation of the cross He sent the rays of divine charity, issuing from His wounded side, into the hearts of men, they were warmed and melted. Not the centurion alone, but all the bystanders struck their breasts in contrition, and a far greater number of Jews at that time believed in Christ than until then His signs and miracles had been effectual to convince. The Gentiles also were converted to the faith less by the power of His miracles than by the potency of the charity the crucified Redeemer displayed. The blood and water, the last and highest token of love that came from the heart of Jesus, was more efficacious in softening those stony hearts than all the signs and wonders that had gone before. This fact will not appear so incomprehensible when we consider:
2d. The extraordinary ardor of the charity that consumed the heart of Jesus. Great heat causes perspiration, it makes a man put on thinner clothing, it produces excessive thirst and accelerates the circulation of the blood in the extremities of the body. Now in like manner the heat of the fire of charity that burnt in the heart of Jesus was so ardent, so intense, that it caused the sweat of blood to exude from His pores, it caused Him to be stripped of His garments, and it was this, still more than His bodily sufferings, which induced a thirst so inexpressibly torturing that He who up to that point had borne the most grievous sufferings with mute, lamb-like endurance, uttered upon the cross that bitter cry: “I thirst! “More over the fire of charity in that Sacred Heart burnt so hotly, that it made the blood flow in streams from His veins, dyeing His body with its crimson tide. Furthermore in the furnace of that glowing charity the Heart of Jesus itself was at last broken; it was opened in order that the flames whereby it was inwardly consumed might flare up externally, and kindle our hearts by contact with them. Oh how great was the power of love in that divine heart which thus made a victim of Christ’s most holy body!
3d. Yet, my soul, consider that perhaps your heart is even now resisting the power of that love. “Who,” we read in the Imitation, “approaching humbly to the fountain of sweetness, does not carry away thence some little sweetness? Or who, standing near a great fire, does not receive from it some little heat?” (Imit. B. iv. ch. 4.) And you, my soul, stand so frequently at this fire, nay more, how often when you receive Holy Communion you lean on the Heart of your Redeemer, that Heart which glows with charity for you. But when do you give any outward proof that you are inwardly consumed by the fire of divine charity? If it were indeed so with you, you would toil in the sweat of your face in the service of God and the untiring struggle against sin; you would put off the garments of sinful desires, the burdensome apparel of evil habits; you would then experience a thirst for greater perfection, and you would open your heart to your Saviour and listen to His inspirations as a flower unfolds its petals to the sun. Is that the case with you? And if not, why is this? What will you do in future that you may no longer offer any resistance to the all-powerful charity of the divine heart of Jesus?
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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