Friday, May 30, 2008

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today, Friday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost, is the feast of the Sacred Heart, and Melancholicus is abashed to admit that he forgot completely about it, until he was reminded of it on (of all places) an Anglican blog (although these good fellows look pretty Romish in their persuasions).


THE thoughts of His Heart are from generation to generation: To deliver their souls from death, and feed them in famine. Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright.


O GOD, Who in the Heart of Thy Son, wounded by our sins, dost mercifully bestow on us infinite treasures of love: grant, we beseech Thee, that whilst we render It the devout homage of our affection, we may also fulfil our duty of worthy satisfaction. Through the same Our Lord.

Melancholicus has a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and so is all the more abashed to have forgotten this holy feast. On this day it is customary for devout souls to make an act of reparation to the Sacred Heart in atonement for all their sins, negligences and offences, and for those of the whole world. It is praiseworthy that this act be accompanied by confession of sins, hearing of holy Mass, and reception of holy communion.

An Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart (Iesu dulcissime)

Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.

Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law.

We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are now determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holydays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of Thy Divine Love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.

Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou once made to Thy Eternal Father on the Cross and which Thou continuest to renew daily on our Altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.

O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit Thou livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Amen indeed! They don’t come more Catholic than that now, do they? This act of reparation is also indulgenced, being listed in the new Enchiridion Indulgentiarum of Pope Paul VI. Publicly making this act on the feast of the Sacred Heart merits a plenary indulgence (subject to the usual conditions, of course). On other days, or in private recitation, the indulgence is partial.

Finally, before we close, it would be an impiety to discourse upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus without at least an honourable mention of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the apostle of devotion thereto.

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