The Month of the Sacred Heart

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“Behold the Heart that has loved men so much that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify to them Its love. But in return I receive from the greater part of mankind only ingratitude, by reason of the contempt, irreverence, sacrilege, and coldness shown Me in this Sacrament of Love.” – Jesus to St. Margaret Mary 

 

In the Catholic church, we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June. And so the Church dedicates the entire month to the Sacred Heart. This devotion can be traced back to the Apostles.

St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantel founded the order of the Daughters of the Visitation in 1671. They promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart. St. Margaret Mary entered the order that first year. Between the years of 1673 and 1675, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary and revealed His Divine Heart to her.

During these apparitions, Jesus told St. Margaret Mary how to honor His Sacred Heart. He also made 12 promises to those who follow this devotion. They are:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

2. I will establish peace in their homes.

3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.

4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.

5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.

6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.

12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

St. Margaret Mary was a cloistered nun. Our Lord brought St. Claude la Columbiere, a Jesuit priest, to her to be her Spiritual Director. He believed what St. Margaret Mary told him and so did her superior. Widespread propagation of the devotion in the Universal Church began. From that time, the Jesuits became the chief propagators of devotion to the Sacred Heart.

 

On May 8, 1873, the devotion to the Sacred Heart was officially approved by Pope Pius IX. On July 21, 1899, Pope Leo XIII urged that all bishops observe the feast in their dioceses. We celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart on the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi.

If you would like to learn more about the Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion go here.

 

A PRAYER OF REPARATION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Adorable Heart of Jesus, glowing with love for us and inflamed with zeal for our salvation. O Heart that understands the misery to which our sins have brought us, infinitely rich in mercy to heal the wounds of our souls, behold me humbly kneeling before You to express the sorrow that fills my heart for the coldness and indifference with which I have so long returned the numberless benefits which You have bestowed upon me.

With a deep sense of the outrages that have been heaped upon You by my sins and the sins of others, I wish to make reparation to Your most Sacred Majesty. It was our sins that filled Your Heart with bitterness; it was the weight of our guilt that pressed down Your face to the earth in the Garden of Olives and caused you to die in agony on the Cross. But now, repentant and sorrowful, I implore Your forgiveness.

Adorable Heart of Jesus, Source of true consolation and ever merciful to the penitent sinner, impart to our hearts the spirit of penance that we may be sincerely sorry for our sins. Pardon them, O Lord, in Your mercy, and let all who have sinned against You in the Sacrament of Your love be converted and return to You. Deliver us from our sins. And in order to repair the sins of ingratitude by which we have grieved Your most tender and loving Heart, may we love and honor You in the most adorable Sacrament of the Altar, where You are present to hear and grant our petitions and to be the food and life of our souls.

Merciful Jesus, be our Mediator with Your heavenly Father, whom we have so grievously offended. Help us to amend our ways. As Your Sacred Heart is our refuge and our hope when we have sinned, so let it be the strength and support of our repentance, and nothing in life or death shall ever separate us from You. Amen.

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My Rose

I have been struggling with my faith lately.  I have been in danger of losing my home.  I have doubted that God would take care of me.  The situation has caused me to become paralyzed.

As you can see, I have not posted here for quite a while.  Unfortunately, I failed miserably during Lent.  I failed miserably during Easter.  I have not been able to pray with any sincerity most of the time.  I have in simple terms been a mess.

I have a little story to share.  I am a great “fan” of St. Therese.  I have loved her since I was a child.  Even though I have had a difficult time with my prayers, I have always believed but neglected God.

“O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.*  This is a line from the Novena Prayer to St. Therese.  I hadn’t given it a thought, but a couple of weeks ago while food shopping, I found two miniature rose bushes with the most beautiful blooms on them.  I just had to have them.  My property is all natural woods.  No gardens only the wildflowers that pop up on their own.  I guess they are actually weeds.  🙂  These little bushes were very inexpensive so I treated my self and got both of them.

As the weeks passed I still did not give the roses a second thought.  Two days ago, I received a call from the bank that they were going to work with me so that I could stay in my home.  It was like someone lifted a huge weight off of my back.  Yesterday everything was finalized.  I have more energy than I have had for weeks.

The thing is, someone did lift that huge weight from my back.  It was God.  And I let my faith that He would take care of me falter.   St. Therese even sent me a sign.  Because of my wavering faith, I didn’t realize it.

I have been abundantly blessed.  God is indeed awesome.  I have learned that no matter how bleak things look, God always takes care of His children according to His plan for us.  All we have to do is trust.

Here is the prayer I quoted from.

My Novena Rose Prayer
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose
from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God to grant the favors
I now place with confidence in your hands…

(mention in silence here)

St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did in
God’s great love for me, so that I might imitate your “Little Way” each day.

Amen.

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First Week Of Lent

John-Paul and Annie of Pray More Novena Ministry’s Lenten retreat has begun.  I am very impressed with the speakers this year.  I like to download the talks onto my phone and listen to them in the car and again in bed at night.

I am always amazed how much I learn from the speakers during these digital retreats.  And I don’t even have to get dressed and leave the house!  I hope that some of you have taken advantage of this very worthwhile retreat.

I am so blessed that I found John-Paul and Annie and their ministry, Pray More Novenas.  These novenas and retreats have helped me so much in my life.  As a matter of fact, the St. Michael the Archangel Novena started yesterday.  St. Michael is also a favorite of mine.  I think it’s because when I was little, I lived in St. Michael’s parish and attended the school.  Because he was our patron, we learned about him.  I was so impressed that he led the fight against Lucifer and drove him and the other fallen angels out of heaven.

The nice thing about signing up for the novenas is that you get an email each day with the prayers to be said.  It’s pretty much foolproof.  I no longer start novenas that I don’t finish.

I wish you a holy, happy Lent.

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Our Lady of Lourdes

 

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Yesterday was the anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Mother to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.  Bernadette, 14 years old, was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend when a lady spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle.

Our Lady appeared to Bernadette a total of eighteen times between February 11 and July 16.  It is to Bernadette that Our Lady identified herself as the Immaculate Conception when she was asked who she was by Bernadette.   Just a few years prior to this message on December 8, 1854, Pius IX had raised the teaching about the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady to be dogma of faith with these words:

By the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we declare, pronounce, and define: the doctrine which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was from the first moment of her conception, by the singular, grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin, is revealed by God and therefore, firmly and constantly to be believed by all the faithful. (The Christian Faith #709).

Our Lady gave heavenly confirmation of the dogma Pope Pius IX had given to the church.  The virtues of Christian poverty and humility that are seen in Bernadette are a model of how we are to live our lives.  Our Lady also said that the important thing is to be happy in the next life so we must accept our cross in this one.

Initially, the church doubted the young girl, but after the canonical investigation into these apparitions, the church declared them to be valid.  The title of Our Lady of Lourdes was given to these apparitions of the Blessed Mother.

Our Lady appeared with a rosary hanging from Her right arm, which is a significant sign of the importance of praying the rosary.   She asked to have a chapel built at the site of these apparitions which Bernadette reported to her priest.  During her ninth apparition, she told Bernadette to drink and bathe from the fountain.  Bernadette, confused by her request seeing no water anywhere began to scratch at the ground with her hands. As Bernadette uncovered the gravel, she noticed that the ground underneath was moist. She continued to dig, and a little pool began to form. She cupped her hands together, drank, and then washed her face in the muddy water. The following day, the pool was overflowing, and soon the trickle of water became a gushing stream.  As news of this spread through the town, the people began to go to the grotto to drink the water.  Many miracles have been attributed to its healing power both physically and spiritually.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, the church Our Lady asked to be built,  is one of the major Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world.   Almost 5 million pilgrims from all over the world come every year to pray and to drink the miraculous water, believing they obtain from the Lord healing of the body and of the spirit.

How blessed we are to have had Our Lady come to earth to teach us what we need to attain heaven.  Her message of prayer, especially the rosary, penance, humility, mercy for sinners, and compassion for the sick is a roadmap for us.  The road may be bumpy at times.  We may take a wrong turn.  But we have a loving and forgiving God who will accept our repentance and allow us back on the right path.  If we follow Our Lady, she will lead us right to our Lord.

Bernadette Soubirous entered the convent of the Sisters of Charity in Nevers in 1866.  She contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 35 in 1879.  After miracles attributed to her intercession, she was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XI on December 8, 1933, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Let us ask Our Lady of Lourdes to lead us this Lent so that we become closer to her Divine Son.  let us ask her to help us repent our sins which will console Jesus during his Passion.  Let us join together to ask Our Lady’s help for ourselves, our families, our country, and our world.  Her intercession is powerful.    I have always felt very close to Our Lady.  Not really having a patron saint, there is no St. Wanda, I adopted Mary as mine.  My middle name is Marie a form of Mary so it made perfect sense.  I truly believe that Our Lady took me under her mantle as my patron saint and has obtained many graces for me throughout my life.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.  Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.

God bless!

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Another Quote

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” – St. Therese of Lisieux

This is one of my favorite quotes from St. Therese.  It exemplifies her “Little Way”.  St. Therese did not do heroic things during her life but rather did the ordinary.  Everything she did was intentional and done with love.

Just think how much we can impact each other with kindness, a smile, opening a door for someone, or just saying hello.  We never know what is going on in someone else’s life.  Maybe that hello is what is needed for them to get through another day. Love doesn’t cost anything, but the ripples it starts are endless.

As you prepare for Lent keep St. Therese’s words in mind.  There is no better consolation for our Lord as we prepare to celebrate His Passion.  Christ does not demand heroism, just small acts of love toward one another.

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St. Agatha

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Today, February 5th is the feast day of St. Agatha.  She is one of my favorite saints.  When I was in nursing school, I was given a poem about her and a pin for National Nurses Day.  She has been celebrated as the patron of nurses and is one of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of the Catholic Church.  St. Agatha was very helpful to me throughout my career as a nurse.

She was born in the year 231 and died at the hand of Quintianus after he had her tortured in the year 251.  He had her breasts cut off which is why she is the patron of those with breast cancer.  She had given her life to Christ and the church and he could not stand that she rebuked his advances.

She is commonly featured in religious art with shears, tongs, or breasts on a plate, and is the patron saint of Sicily, bellfounders, breast cancer, against fire, Palermo, rape victims, and nurses.

As we are preparing for lent, we can take a page out of St. Agatha’s playbook.  She was resolute in her love for God and the church.  We may not be called to give our lives for God as Agatha did, but we are called to do everything in love for each other and for God even the smallest task.

God bless!

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Evil Abounds

I belong to a prayer chain that is worldwide.  The requests are sent to us via email after they are compiled weekly by our leader.  Over the years I have heard or read as it were, of many, many terrible atrocities that require prayer for the victims and the perpetrators.   One 3-year-old little girl, I have been asked to pray for was beaten by her mother’s boyfriend and placed in a hot oven.  Every time I think about that poor innocent child being abused in this way it sickens me.

I mention this incident as an example of the evil in the world.  So many people don’t believe in the devil.  How foolish they are.  He has certainly seduced so many into believing that he does not exist in order to trick them into falling away from God and His laws.  What other reason would account for the terrible act of this man who harmed this innocent child?

As Christians, we are called to pray for both the victim and the abuser.  We must pray for his forgiveness and repentance.  We are called to love everyone, to pray for friend and foe.

Hitler, the Holocaust, the extermination in Rwanda, teenagers shooting up schools and killing their fellow students, ISIS, abortion, assisted suicide, homosexuality, the list goes on and on. The devil is alive and well and his evil is rampant here on earth.  I wonder how long it will take for people to wake up and realize that the only way to go is with God.

Now I know that many of you will say that if there was really a God and if God truly loved us He would not permit these kinds of atrocities here on earth.  That is the first line of defense that the devil uses to insist that God does not exist.  God does not make us follow him.  He does not insist we follow His laws.  We are free to choose the path we follow.  God sent us His divine Son to save us from eternal damnation.  The devil is betting that he can seduce us with temporary worldly “things” through our veracious lustful appetites.  Money, fame, fortune, sex…

Each generation is convinced that the world is getting worse for their children.  I worried for my children, but I am even more worried for my grandchildren.  I honestly believe that we are headed for a rude awakening in the form of a great chastisement.  According to the Blessed Mother, and many visionaries if we do not mend our ways it is coming.  The good news is that God is a forgiving God.  We can repent and be forgiven.  Until we take our last breath here on earth we can change our eternity.  But our sorrow and repentance must be sincere.  God wants us to spend our eternity with Him.  Jesus never tires of asking us to allow Him into our hearts.

If we do choose to follow the narrow path we can take comfort in the words of St. Padre Pio.  “Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience since this shows that he is not inside your will.”

God Bless!

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