Sacred Heart, Etc.

Click HERE to read an editorial by our Virginia bishops…

margandjesus…Anybody know who died 323 years ago today? How about the special revelation she received?

The Sacred Heart of Christ beats in the heavenly temple where He ministers as High Priest of all the good things of God. Ever since He ascended into heaven, we Christians have “felt” the beat of His Heart by faith.

Then, out of the superabundance of His love and care for us, He chose to appear to St. Margaret Mary and to make His Heart visible to her. He revealed the image to her for all of our sakes. He did it to renew our intimacy with His love. As Pope Pius XII put it in his encyclical letter on the Sacred Heart of Christ:

[The significance of the revelations given to St. Margaret Mary] is that Christ–showing His Sacred Heart–willed in a special way to call the minds of men to the contemplation and veneration of God’s most merciful love for the human race. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is so important that it may be considered the perfect profession of the Christian religion, for this is the religion of Jesus, and no man can come to the heart of God except through the heart of Christ.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. Christianity. The same thing.

Probably everyone knows, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that: one way to practice devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ is to spend a Holy Hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Friday of every month. As Blessed Pope John Paul II put it, the Sacred Heart of Christ “beats” in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, and by spending time in adoration, we attune ourselves to the beating of His Heart. Also, we practice the devotion by making a good, humble Confession as close to first Friday as possible.

Devotion to the love of God in the Sacred Heart of Jesus liberates us from our self-centeredness. As Pope-Emeritus Benedict put it in his letter on the Sacred Heart devotion:

The experience of love, brought by the devotion to the pierced side of the Redeemer, protects us from withdrawing into ourselves and makes us readier to live for others.

St. Margaret Mary, pray for us, that we might draw closer and closer to the Sacred Heart of the Lord.

Punishment May Be Slow, But…

Roman poet Horace
Roman poet Horace
I neglected something very important in my earlier account of the martyrdom of the prophet Zechariah, son of Jehoiada.

(By the way, it is not the same person as the prophet Zechariah who has his own book in the Old Testament, or the priest Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. There are three different Zechariahs in the Scriptures.)

Anyway, I failed to recount Zechariah’s dying words, which he uttered as King Joash’s henchmen were killing him in the Temple:

“May the Lord see and avenge.”

Just in case you don’t remember Horace’s Third Ode word-for-word, allow me to call these lines to mind:

raro antecedentem scelestum
deseruit pede Poena claudo

“Although punishment may walk with a lame foot, she rarely allows the guilty man to run ahead.” (Tip of the hat to Fr. Haydock.)

May God give us the grace to repent of our sins and escape liability for the blood of the prophets! May His mercy allow us to run ahead of the punishment we deserve!

Also: If you missed it last year, click here for a message on the occasion of the Memorial of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

The Religion of Jesus

Three hundred eighteen years ago tomorrow, a French Visitation nun named Margaret Mary Alacoque drew her last breath in the world. She had lived a painful and difficult life. But the Lord had given her a special gift: He appeared to her and showed her His Sacred Heart.

The Heart of Christ had never before been visible to the human eye. Even when He walked on the earth, the Lord’s human heart could not be seen. It was pierced by the soldier’s lance when He hung on the Cross. When He came back to life, His heart began to beat again in His breast. Now the Sacred Heart of Christ is in heaven, along with the rest of His glorified body. His heart is the fitting symbol of His infinite love, the divine love united with the love of a man.

When the Lord appeared to her, St. Margaret Mary saw how the Heart of Christ burns with love for the heavenly Father and for His children on earth. She wrote: “The Sacred Heart is an inexhaustible fountain, and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble. The divine heart is an abyss of all blessings.”

The revelations which St. Margaret Mary received were a gift for the whole Church of God. The vision of the Sacred Heart is a reminder of the fundamental truths of the Christian religion. Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical about the revelations given to St. Margaret Mary. He wrote:

“Their significance is that Christ–showing His Sacred Heart–willed in a special way to call the minds of men to the contemplation and veneration of God’s most merciful love for the human race. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is so important that it may be considered the perfect profession of the Christian religion, for this is the religion of Jesus, and no man can come to the heart of God except through the heart of Christ.”

Pope Benedict XVI also wrote a letter two years ago about the Sacred Heart.