See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Sacred Heart of Jesus



Today is the First Friday of June, and June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Promises of the Sacred Heart to those who embrace this devotion.
1.I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2.I will give peace in their families.

3.I will console them in all their troubles.

4.They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5.I will pour abundant blessings on their undertakings.

6.Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7.Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8.Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9.I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured.

10.I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11.Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

12.The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

“Oh, how sweet is death when one has had a tender devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ!” - St. Margaret Mary

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"How do we serve God faithfully? We serve Him only as faithfully as we serve Him lovingly, by giving ourselves to the needs of everyone whom God puts into our lives. No one reaches heaven automatically. Heaven must be dearly paid for. The price of reaching heaven is the practice of selfless love here on earth.
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That is why God puts into our lives so many occasions for loving people who obviously do not love us, or giving ourselves to people who have never given themselves to us. How desperately we need, especially in today’s world, to learn that God became man in order to suffer and die out of love for us on the Cross.
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That is what devotion to the Sacred Heart is all about. It is the practice of selfless love toward selfish people. It is giving ourselves to persons that do not give themselves to us. In all of our lives, God has placed selfish persons who may be physically close to us, but spiritually are strangers and even enemies. That is why God places unkind, unjust, even cruel people into our lives. By loving them, we show something of the kind of love that God expects of His followers.
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Devotion of the Sacred Heart is the solution to the gravest problem in the modern world today. How can we give ourselves to those who do not love us, who even positively hate us? We can love them, with the help of divine grace, by following the example of Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross out of love for a sin-laden human race." - Fr. Hardon
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.


9 comments:

  1. How did I know that that was John Hardon before I even saw the name?

    Thanks for this.

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  2. Anonymous7:53 AM

    Beautiful.
    SF

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  3. I think I agree with an observation a friend of mine made regarding Fr. Hardon: essentially, that he offers some good intellectual understanding, but also that often reflects a more rigorous, fear-based spirituality which was, unfortunately, common in his time.

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  4. Your post is truly a very needed reminder. We should all heed the promises and pray to be made worthy of all the promises of Christ.

    Having said that. I really apologize but, Terry, you have been tagged

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  5. Thanks for this reminder of the Sacred Heart. A major piece of my conversion happened in the Sacre Coeur,thus my devotion to the Sacred Heart. I pray another major piece of my conversion happens in June as conversion is a project without end.

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  6. Patrick Dunn,

    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the spirituality of Fr. Hardon as something merely, "common in his time."

    I've followed much of his writing and I don't see, "rigorous, fear-based spirituality".

    Perhaps you can give examples?

    I know one thing, then Archbishop Burke felt Fr. Hardon was holy enough to open a cause and he is currently a Servant of God.

    I think the greater problem is not with Fr. Hardon's spirituality, but with the "make me feel good" spirituality which has dominated Christian culture for the past half-century. It's devoid of things like sacrifice; and, mortification is a word most haven't heard, let alone understand. He lived a life of redemptive suffering and if that is dismissed, then you need to dismiss the spirituality of a good many saints, including St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, among others.

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  7. Hi Diane,

    I suppose I could look for specific examples, though I had in mind a general sense I got from reading various items on that "the real presence" website.

    I'm not trying to dismiss his spirituality outright, nor call into question his holiness (I see various spiritualites, the more time goes on, in a more dynamic way than I once did; I used to compare them statically to one another as if to evaluate which was "best," and while there may still be value in that - certianly, I'm not saying all spiritualities are equal or that there are no bad spiritualities - I think it's important to emphasize that souls need specific direction and help where they are, so no one spirituality may fit all. Sacrifice and mortification are largely lost on us, but there are plenty of souls who need another message - not in place of that one, but rather to balance it out.

    I can agree then that Fr. Hardon's approach was probably very much needed in light of the "feel good" spirituality that was present otherwise.

    That said, I know many people today who fear God, and it's all about sinning or not sinning. My sense from reading Fr. Hardon is that things are rather black and white, and he seemed often to be emphasizing the dangers and pitfalls that we must be aware of. That's important, of course, but it's not the whole story.

    Many people, I think (I've seen it with my own parents and grandparents) grew up "God-fearing." But they didn't know the love of God, at least it seems to me.

    I think that the Lord gave us the Divine Mercy devotion, to offer a counter-example, as well as the teaching of St. Therese to help correct some of the fear-based rigorism that was prevelant for a while. It is a more complete and, in my opinion, essential image of God and image of what our response to Him should be: love rather than merely fear.

    There are many good intentioned people today whose spirituality needs healing, I think.

    The message that, if we don't do X, Y or Z, we aren't going to be holy has left some people discouraged and unsure even of what the purpose of obedience and such are really for: God's love for us and our loving communion with Him.

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  8. Hi Patrick,

    I think I understand where you were coming from. However, I think Fr. Hardon seemed to me to have a well balanced look on things. Today, there is all love and mercy and virtually no death, judgment, heaven and hell (the last four things). I know some who felt that certain priests back in the day knew nothing but death, judgment, heaven and hell. They were fire and brimstone types and that's what dominated their writings and addresses.

    Look up other terms by Fr. Hardon, like - google "childlikeness and Fr. Hardon."

    Look for other subjects, such as "mercy."

    There has to be balance of all things in the spiritual life. Its when someone goes out of balance that it is problematic.

    Now, by balance I don't mean that we shouldn't tell people that fornication is grave matter and that grave matter can buy you a one way ticket to hell if you die without repenting for it.

    I got real tired of priests telling me for years and years how much God loved me, without teaching me how to love Him back. We love God by following His will. Just taking the time to learn the 10 Commandments is a great start, but some people act like the townspeople who didn't want Jesus to enter their town after they learned the demons were sent into the pigs and they ran off the cliff. What I'm saying is that when the Church says you cannot have sex outside of sacramental marriage, some see that as rigid. Their problem is not with the Church, but with God Himself who made that rule. That is why I get concerned with words like "rigid" or "fear-based spirituality". In some circles, it is code for "I don't like that teaching and I most especially don't like the priest telling me about that teaching". But, from what you wrote, I don't think you fall in that camp.

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  9. Diane,

    Thank you. I agree with what you wrote.

    I am completely desirous personally to follow the Church's teachings and believe the Church to be of God.

    I think what I have in mind is perhaps more subtle, though in a sense, perhaps more central. People use the phrase "image of God" often for it and I've adopted it myself. But it's even more dynamic than that: I have in mind God's 'personality', who He really is and what He's really like, His purpose for and with us, and the essence of what our response to Him should be. In summation, I suppose it's the difference between seeing the Commandments and Church teaching as merely "rules" vs. understanding the goal of it all is truly love - God's love for us and our loving response to God. It's difficult to speak this way, though, admittedly, because "love" has become such a soft word. God no longer has any edge. "Love" today, if it is not falsified through sexiness or other like distortions, is a bland "tolerance" I suppose. It is empty.

    This I see as nothing less than the Gospel itself; it's the whole distinction between not abolishing the law and yet it not being, in a sense, about the law at all. It's above freedom to fulfill the law through love without being free from the law through false love or explaining away sin and death and such, as you note.

    It's difficult to express in words sometimes, but I think we are on the same page. Finally, with Fr. Hardon, you are probably right and I probably was imprudent in expressing my opinion of him. It's really probably nothing more than a matter of emphasis in his approach, that's all. Though Fr. Hardon in this piece Terry quoted for instance, does stress both God's love for us and our response to him, when I read something like this, my sense is that this is the real point of emphasis for Father - this was the real thrust of his preaching: "No one reaches heaven automatically. Heaven must be dearly paid for."

    That is of course true, though for some who read/hear that, it may give the impression that spirituality is primarily will-based or a matter of rigidity only - which I think can lead some to paralyzing fear and discouragement. But none of this is Fr. Hardon's "fault" - it's simply the reality that souls are in different places and need the help of direction and private prayer to figure out how God may be speaking to them more specifically and intimately, so as to then understand the whole picture, all sides and angles, clearly and truthfully.

    I think real balance with this is almost always paradoxical: grace and heaven are "free" and yet there is a cost; we can't save ourselves and yet we must work out our own salvation; etc.

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