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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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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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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