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Sacred Heart

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Teaching the Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Part II

Sample Methods and Projects

Editors: Thomas Diehl, S.J. and John Hardon, S. J.

I — Week of the Sacred Heart

The Week of the Sacred Heart is given to children as a small brochure, which they are told to keep and use as their own. Each day, from Sunday through Saturday, has an appropriate set of resolutions, a typical practice or duty, and a special aspiration to the Sacred Heart. Opposite the daily program is a pen sketch of some mystery in the life of Christ that will appeal to children. Corresponding titles and texts are added as follows:

    SUNDAY:Jesus Teaching the Our Father (Matthew 6:9)
MONDAY:Christ among the Pharisees (Matthew 23:23)
TUESDAY:The Christ Child at Nazareth (Luke 2:51)
WEDNESDAY:  Christ among the Sick (Matthew 15:30)
THURSDAY:Christ Blessing the Children (Matthew 19:14)
FRIDAY:Christ Carries His Cross (Matthew 16:24)
SATURDAY:Christ Feeds the Multitude (John 6:11)

Depending on circumstances, the brochure may be given to all the children in the upper grades of grammar school, or at least to promoters and Sodalists and those who show special promise in the practice of Christian virtue.

Sisters who use the Week of the Sacred Heart vouch for its effectiveness in focusing the pupils’ attention on Christ and motivating their actions by a generous love of God. The text of Week of the Sacred Heart follows.

Jesus, Our Divine Teacher

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the greatest of all teachers. He is the Divine Teacher. He invites you to come to the school of His Sacred Heart and learn the lessons that He will teach you. These lessons He Himself practiced when He was a boy in Nazareth and a man in Galilee. His life was lived as your life is lived. He studied, worked, played, and prayed. He obeyed his parents. The boys and girls He played with were no better than, no different from the boys and girls with whom you play. By watching Him, you can learn how to play, how to work, how to study, and how to pray. In the school of His Sacred Heart He teaches you how He wants you to act, how to obey your parents and teachers, how to love your companions.

During His public life, Jesus said to His followers, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29). During His lifetime, people eagerly followed Him and were anxious to learn His lessons.

In the seventeenth century He appeared to St. Margaret Mary and said to her, “Behold this Heart which has loved men so much and receives in return only coldness and ingratitude.” In these words, and in others, our Lord again placed before us the lessons He would have us learn. He begged for our love.

From time to time popes have urged all Catholics to practice devotion to the Sacred Heart so that His love might reign among men. Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius XI both have consecrated the whole human race to the Sacred Heart.

Would you like to become distinguished in this school of the Greatest of Teachers? Would you like to be one of the best pupils and learn those lessons that will bring happiness for time and for eternity? Then, learn the lessons of the Week of the Sacred Heart. They are not hard. They will bring much happiness to you. By practicing them, you will delight the Heart of Jesus.

How will you learn these lessons? Not all at once. No, one lesson each day, and one day at a time. Take the lesson that your teacher will give you and see how our Lord practiced it while on earth. Ask Him for grace to follow His example. Ask Him also to help you be faithful to these lessons. Someday He can say of you, as His Father said of Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).


I will ask Mary and my angel guardian to help me to love and imitate the piety, reverence, and zeal of our Divine Teacher.

  1. At Mass I will pray for the pope and the Church. I will ask that the Sacred Heart be known and loved by all men.
  2. I will salute our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when passing the Church.
  3. I will make the Sign of the Cross as carefully as possible and offer it as an act of faith and love.
  4. I will say the Divine Praises in reparation for profanity, cursing, and swearing.
  5. I will always be faithful to wear my scapular and carry my rosary.

“Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your kingdom come.” (300 days)


I will ask Mary and my angel guardian to help me to love and imitate the truthfulness and honesty of our Divine Teacher.

  1. I will always tell the truth at any cost.
  2. I will admit my faults and will never allow anyone else to be blamed for them.
  3. I will be very honest in doing all my assignments and tests.
  4. I will be very careful in the use of church and school property. I will never destroy public property or that which belongs to others.
  5. I will be strictly honest in the handling of any money.

“All for You, most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” (300 days)


I will ask Mary and my angel guardian to help me to love and imitate the humility and obedience of our Divine Teacher.

  1. I will take the advice of my parents and teachers, especially with regard to reading, the movies, and choice of my companions. I will read the parish magazine or some Catholic paper as part of my reading.
  2. I will show by the respect and obedience that I give to my pastor and to the priests that I am proud to be a Catholic.
  3. I will be obedient to the laws and regulations of the country, just as our Lord obeyed the laws made for the people of his time.
  4. I will obey promptly when I am called in from play.
  5. I will not criticize or speak disrespectfully of the orders of anyone in authority.

“O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.” (300 days)


I will ask Mary and my angel guardian to help me love and imitate the charity and patience of our Divine Teacher.

  1. I will say only kind things about others.
  2. I will pray for the holy souls and for the conversion of sinners.
  3. I will aim at being one of the best mission workers in the school and take part in all the activities that I can.
  4. I will be very kind in my actions to all; especially to older people, the sick, and all who may need my help.
  5. I will think twice before answering anyone who has hurt me.

“Heart of Jesus, burning with love of us, inflame our hearts with love of You.” (500 days)


I will ask Mary and my angel guardian to help me to love and imitate the gentleness and modesty of our Divine Teacher.

  1. When angry, I will try to control myself in imitation of the gentleness of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
  2. I will give in to others instead of always insisting upon having my own way.
  3. I will be modest about the kind of clothes I wear and the way I wear them….
  4. I will never use coarse or vulgar expressions.
  5. I will never be boastful of what I can do, or of what I have.

“Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, increase in us faith, hope, and charity.” (300 days)


I will ask Mary and my angel guardian to help me to love and imitate the mortification and fortitude of our Divine Teacher.

  1. I will make the Way of the Cross today.
  2. I will accept any disappointment or punishment without complaint.
  3. I will have the courage to silence anyone who is using bad language or at least show him that I do not want to hear it.
  4. I will get up as soon as I am called in the morning.
  5. I will make mortification at the table, either by eating more of what I do not like so well, or less of what I like very much.

“Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.” (500 days)


I will ask Mary and my angel guardian to help me to love and imitate the generosity, gratitude, and courtesy of our Divine Teacher.

  1. I will show my gratitude by helping all I can at home, in a cheerful and willing manner.
  2. I will say “Please” when asking for favors, and “Thank you” when they are given to me.
  3. I will always leave the best for someone else---the best seat, the best place, and the best piece of food--the best of everything.
  4. I will not pass in front of the confessional when the priest is hearing confessions. I will never push ahead of others waiting to go to confession.
  5. I will be careful to notify the proper person when I cannot be where I am expected to be---school meetings, serving Mass, and so forth.

“Sacred Heart of Jesus, protect our families.” (300 days)

II — Student Meditations

As previously indicated, meditations on the Sacred Heart may be given to the students to be made in class, or remotely suggested for prayerful reflection at some other time in church or at home.

The following sets of “Points” are of the latter kind, preferably to be mimeographed and given to the pupils before the First Friday or other special occasions in honor of the Sacred Heart.

Even a cursory reading will show that the ideals they set before the high school boy (or girl) are exalted and demanding. If the student is also a Sodalist, he receives further motivation from the Sodality; if he is a promoter, this may be given him at the monthly or fortnightly meetings. But even an average student can profit from the high-powered stimulus offered by a periodic meditation on the virtues of the Sacred Heart and their relevance to modern life.

His Heart in My Day

I recall the Lord who is present within me, listening to me and talking with me.

Preparatory prayer: Every thought and act of love during these next fifteen minutes are Yours, dear Sacred Heart.

Picture: The Sacred Heart walking beside you saying: “(your first name), I need your loyal work and prayers twenty-four hours a day.”

Grace I want: That I may see in detail how the Sacred Heart wishes me to live my day.

Love is doing for another. But what can I do for Christ? Whatever he wants done. In the Our Father He says: “Thy kingdom come.” God’s kingdom: the world living as the mystical body according to Christ’s teachings. But how do I bring this about? “Begin with yourself!” Am I living according to Christ’s teachings? Am I giving myself to a generous, loyal manner to my spiritual exercises and to whatever is my particular apostolate at this time?

The mystical body is no better than its individual cells. If I am weak, the mystical body is weak. Dear Sacred Heart, fire me with Your courageous love so that I will be a strong cell of the mystical body, an important cell because a good Catholic. Show me how failure to study is failure in my present student vocation and therefore failure as a cell of the mystical body. Show me how You depend on my loyal prayer and hard-working apostolate for the growth of Your mystical body.

The mystical body’s strength is the strength of the family. Is that why You want each family in the world consecrated to Your Sacred Heart? Once I clearly understand what this consecration means---Your protection and our dedication of each moment of family life with all its joys, sorrows, work, and laughs to Your honor---maybe I’ll be more ready to help out around the house, to take sincere, genuine interest in my brothers and sisters, to make life happier for the family.

My school is an important organ in the mystical body because it is there that I prepare myself for my unique mystical body vocation which no one else can fulfill but me. Sacred Heart, is that why You want to see my class consecrated to You? With You looking down from Your picture and smiling at me, it will be hard to fool around and waste time; easier to pay attention, work hard, agree to help a slower student. Out of loyalty to You, I will try to make the mystical body stronger.

After school also I can continue to help build up the mystical body, prepare myself and help others prepare themselves for each one’s future important job in the mystical body. Everything I do can work toward this, from writing a column for the newspaper or throwing a block at football practice to helping sort out basketball uniforms or working on a debate file. But, Sacred Heart, it is so easy to forget this. Teach me to remember it always.

Outside the school and the family, in the hurly-burly of business life, night clubs, traffic jams, newspaper headlines. Your voice seems drowned out, dear Lord. Why? Is it because you speak only through my mouth, work only with my hands, make plans only with my mind? And I have been so quiet, somewhat lazy and dull, maybe even afraid to be “different.” It takes courage to change the world; Lord, give me some of the courage of Your Sacred Heart.

If America is called pagan, it’s really my fault, because I’m America. The weak, struggling, desperate, muddled world needs a strong, clear-thinking America to lead it. But the strength and clear thinking is my thinking. Without Your grace and love, dear Sacred Heart, I’m weak; and without the clear thought of Your Church, the mystical body, I am muddled. Grace, love, and light I will receive from Your sacraments and from the Catholic school You have given me. Help me to see this clearly.

Twelve Pledge of His Love: 1-6

I recall God who is present within me, talking with me as a close friend.

Preparatory prayer: To You, dear Sacred Heart, I give each thought and act of love.

Picture: The Sacred Heart, saddened by our sins yet supremely confident, appearing to St. Margaret Mary who feels as “little” and as fearful as I do now.

Grace I want: That I may trust wholeheartedly and confidently in the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart; for the greater my trust in Him, the greater my love.

To show Your eagerness for my cooperation, dear Lord, You made Twelve Promises which would be fulfilled if I worked because of love for You and Your Kingdom, the mystical body. Actually You could do everything Yourself with one split-second thought. But You prefer to bind Yourself down to my fumbling, weak, sometimes disloyal efforts. Why? Perhaps because You love me so much that You want me to share in the happiness You feel at working out the salvation of men. Always You think of me.

First Promise: “I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.” An infallible guarantee. With this help I cannot fail so long as I try to choose that state of life, that vocation in the mystical body, which the Sacred Heart wishes me to choose; for as head of the mystical body, He gives the graces I need to work effectively, joyfully, and courageously. Dear Sacred Heart, help me to see--especially during the retreat this year---what job You want me to do in the mystical body.

Second Promise: “I will establish peace in their homes.” The “peace” of the Sacred Heart does not mean “tranquility.” Behind the Iron Curtain there is a family whose father is under “police interrogation,” whose mother works nine hours a day in a tractor factory, whose oldest daughter at fourteen must be mother to the younger five. No tranquility here, but there is “peace”: the conviction, deep and calm, that the Sacred Heart, whose picture is hidden behind that of the prime minister, loves them deeply, knows what they are suffering, will protect them as the Good Shepherd.

Third Promise: “I will comfort them in all their afflictions” Life often imposes heavy burdens on our shoulders. Having carried many a heavy load before that terrible burden of Calvary, the Sacred Heart knows intimately each one I bear from the blister on the toe to the deep hurt of being misunderstood by one I admire much. Dear Sacred Heart, teach me to bear my afflictions and to offer them for others in the mystical body.

Fourth Promise: I will be their secure refuge during life and above all, in death.” Christ is always there no matter where I am---His strong arm to fight at my side, His warm glance to give me courage. But especially is He present as I struggle for those last breaths, hear the voices around me grow faint, feel cold numbness creep up my body. My close friend will be there because He is my companion.

Fifth Promise: “I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.” Dear Lord, I want to be a success in my mystical body vocation---probably for a lot of selfish reasons. But I want the main reason to be the spreading of Your kingdom out of loyalty to You. To know You are backing me will be a great help. And I know I can count on this so long as I am devoted to Your Sacred Heart.

Sixth Promise: “Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.” It seems from the way Christ treated the thief on the cross, Mary Magdalene, and Peter, that His Sacred Heart almost aches in its desire to show mercy to sinners. On the bus, do I ever pray for great sinners possibly riding with me---people whom Christ wants to receive into the comradeship of His mystical body? Do I have a friend who needs the mercy of the Sacred Heart?

Twelve Pledges of His Love: 7-12

I recall that my God, present within me, is anxious to speak with me.

Preparatory prayer: Dear Lord, I offer You every thought and act during these next few minutes.

Picture: The Sacred Heart appears to you and says: “Son, give Me your heart.”

Grace I want: That I may trust wholeheartedly and confidently in the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart; for greater trust means greater love.

Seventh Promise: “Tepid souls shall grow fervent” -- a promise built especially for me because I’m half-hearted in my service of God: spiritual exercises done halfheartedly, apostolic works grudgingly. Lord, warm my heart with Yours and make it devoted so that I will live my vocation to the hilt, sweating loyally through hard work for You. Is there anything more worthwhile than the genuine effort necessary to live my vocation fully?

Eighth Promise: “Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.” Are you kidding, Lord? Even me? That would mean I’d be a very special friend of Yours, and in a hurry. And yet I cannot doubt you. Maybe the answer lies in Your words: “Without me you can do nothing: (John 15:5), “The weak things of the world has God chosen to put to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). I trust in You, Dear Lord.

Ninth Promise: “I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.” Throughout our country the Sacred Heart picture is seen in many living rooms. If I am truly devoted to your Sacred Heart, won’t Your picture soon appear in my home, classroom, and (later) office or factory? Your picture is Your promise of protection for us and our pledge of loyalty to You. It says: “At least this part of the world is Yours, Lord.”

Tenth Promise: “I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.” Whether I’m a priest or a layman praying for priests, my prayers and my work will be as effective as my devotedness to the Sacred Heart. My prayer or sacrifice this moment may be different between everylasting hate in hell and eternal happiness in heaven for some soul dying in a mansion or in a skid-row saloon. Christ’s Heart yearns for this soul.

Eleventh Promise: “ Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.” That is, the surest way to heaven for me is helping people come to know and be devoted to the Sacred Heart. But how? First, by being devoted myself; otherwise no one will follow my suggestions. And devotedness to the Sacred Heart means working hard for His mystical body out of great love for Him, that is, being an expert in my mystical body vocation.

Twelfth (Great) Promise: “I promise you…that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance….” This is really a magnificent promise. What great good I would do for a friend if I got him to make the nine First Fridays with me! What a great gift to Christ! What a great proof of my love for Him and His mystical body!

“They shall not die in My disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments…”The Sacred Heart promises me that when death comes I’ll be ready. What else matters in life? This is Your last and finest gift in a life filled with gifts from You, dear Sacred Heart. For You I will do anything. Say what it is: then please give me the grace to do it.

Union Through the Morning Offering

Recall the presence of God: I am in the presence of the most Blessed Trinity. God is very attentive to the prayer which I am about to make.

Preparatory prayer: These fifteen minutes belong to You, Lord, May I use them well.

Picture: The Sacred Heart says to me: “Follow Me,” and we walk along together and talk.

Grace I want: To sanctify this day in union with the Sacred Heart.

O Jesus. You have given me the best of gifts---Yourself---to know, love, and serve. You are my most precious possession. Like the apostles, let me follow You wherever You lead me in the details of my life, especially those of today. Lord, take all that I am and all that I can do. Use this to spread Your kingdom among men. I want to give joy to Your Heart by doing whatever You will for me as perfectly as I can---at least today.

Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mother, you are the model of devotion and consecration to the Sacred Heart and His cause. Just as you strengthened and consoled Christ and His mystical body members, help me, Mary, to live out my consecration to His Heart this day by living generously my present vocation of study, class, extracurriculars, intramurals, after-school job, family life.

I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings. Lord, Your life was one tremendous prayer. You worked at Your carpenter’s bench, at training apostles, at saving men’s souls. Your Heart was full of human joys---friendships, Your oneness with men. You admired Your Father’s handiwork in creation: the sun, sea, and stars. You suffered Your sacred Passion---all these actions were Your constant prayer. May my prayers, works, joys, and suffering be joined to Yours to save the souls of men. May they be one constant prayer in praise of You.

For all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart. Your intentions, Sacred Heart, are intentions of love. Love of Your heavenly Father…. His eternal glory. Love of me….my true happiness here on earth and with you forever in heaven. Love of all men…all the members of Your mystical body perfectly united to You in love now and forever. Your intentions have one single purpose: the glory of Your Father through the eternal happiness of me and my fellow mystical body members. My earthly sufferings and troubles are aimed at this.

In union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. “For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation…” (Malachy 1:11). I make this true by attending daily Mass and getting others to do so, by helping the missions, by making converts, by keeping the Mass in mind during the day as I work.

In reparation for my sins. My sins, O Lord, have outraged Your infinite goodness. They were mean, selfish slaps at Your face, snarling rebuffs to Your infinite generosity and love. Now I desire to offer You most completely my life and all its details from morning till night to repay for my ingratitude. Instead of coldness and neglect I wish to give you a wholehearted service of love to make up for the past.

For the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intention of our holy father, the pope. Lord, no man is an island. He either is or should be a cell of the mystical body. Therefore my intentions united to Yours and to all our associates have the power of total victory for Your cause. Particularly do I pray for the intention, which the Holy Father has pinpointed this month; for this our earthly leader, the visible Christ for us, and when we pray in union with him our prayer is invincible.

Consecration in the Mystical Body

Recall the presence of God: Quietly I realize that God is watching me and loving me.

Preparatory prayer: During this time of prayer, dear Lord, may my intention and attention be entirely Yours.

Picture: I am kneeling at the feet of the Sacred Heart, who says to me: “Son, give Me your heart.”

Grace I want: The grace to make and to carry out effectively my consecration to the Sacred Heart.

My consecration to the Sacred Heart. I desire most sincerely to dedicate myself entirely to the service of Your Heart, O Jesus. I solemnly promise to offer my prayer, work and play, my talents, sufferings, and joys to You, in thanksgiving for Your everlasting love, in reparation for my sins, coldness, and neglect of You, and for that of other men. Thus may I live out my morning offering.

Generosity. O Sacred Heart, aflame with love for You, I wish to spend myself and to be spent for You. Lord, may I answer generously Your call to the apostolate. For instance, I promise by my example to help students make the most of their Catholic education.

Self-surrender. Lord, You gave Yourself completely on the cross for me, and I wish now to surrender myself wholly to Your service. For love of You I shall make the most of my schooling, especially striving to learn more and more about my Catholic faith. Thus whenever the occasion presents itself, I shall hope to explain it attractively and intelligently to others not blessed with my Catholic education. This is my way of bringing happiness into the lives of these poor souls who do not know Christ or His Church.

Call to heroism. Lord, Napoleon’s soldiers were completely devoted to him. One said that if they pulled out his heart, they would find the emperor’s name written on it. The zeal of the communists for their false cause is commonplace. Lord, shall I be less devoted to You who have loved me with an infinite love? Will my name be written Your Heart? Is Your name written on my heart or am I only a fake ‘promiser’?

The missionary of the mystical body abroad. Lord, You are ignored and unloved by the millions of pagans throughout the world who do not know You because no one has preached to them Your message of salvation. Lord, faithful to my consecration to You, I promise with Your grace to be a real missionary by seeking converts, supporting and writing to missionaries, praying for the missions.

The missionary of the mystical body at home. Dear Lord, the poverty You suffer in the slums of our great cities! The injustices You suffer when Your Negro brethren are despised and deprived of their human rights in our land! Enlighten me so that I may see what I can and should do about building up Your body here and throughout the world. Am I being called to special missionary labors---even as a layman?

Thanksgiving. In gratitude for everything You have done for me and have given me, Lord, I must share my gifts with others through our apostolate. Whether I shall follow You in the priesthood, in the married state, in the single lay state, I shall always remember that my real vocation is to love You and to share You with others. My gratitude to You shall always be expressed not merely in words but in deeds!

Reparation in the Mystical Body

Recall the presence of God: I am before the all-holy God who has loved me from eternity.

Preparatory prayer: May my prayer be pleasing to You, O Lord.

Picture: Our Lord on the cross saying to me: “All you who pass by, see if there be any sorrow like My sorrow.”

Grace I want: To console the Sacred Heart daily by my devoted service.

Reparation in justice: Lord, I want to make up for my sins by sacrificing and by working hard because of what You have done for me. Take my prayers, works, and sufferings. Everything is Yours because You suffered and died for me on the cross. You freely offered Yourself to our heavenly Father in reparation for my sins. Though I shall never be able fully to make up for my sins, yet in Your generosity You will be satisfied because I tried.

Reparation of love: You have loved me with an everlasting love, and you have proved Your love in deeds. I want to pay back this debt of love with my daily service through the morning offering. By trying to live out my consecration to You as perfectly as possible in the morning offering, I will make a most pleasing reparation to Your Sacred Heart. There is no greater proof of friendship than deeds and thoughtfulness.

Reparation through the morning offering: Through a sincere consecration of my day by means of the morning offering I make the most reparation of justice and of love to Your Sacred Heart. This reparation, dear Lord, is complete when I live my day in the spirit of the morning offering, seeking Your holy will in prayer, work, suffering, and joys, and also when I bring fallen-away Catholics or poor Catholics to You in confession and Communion and when I get others to go to Mass and Communion with me.

Models of reparation: You above all, Lord, are the model of reparation. By shedding Your precious blood You repaired the damage done by sin to the relationship between God and man. Our Lady, Your Mother and ours, by her devoted love and service of You, stands as a perfect model of reparation. King David, grieving over his sins, shows us a true spirit of reparation in the Psalm. Mary Magdalene weeping over her sins…. The worldling turned Trappist….I, with Your grace, will imitate their spirit.

Imitating Our Lady: Following her example I can imitate the spirit of reparation of our Lady especially. “Now there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother” (John 19:25). Our Lady of Fatima pleads for prayers and sacrifices in reparation for sin and for the salvation of souls. My suffering and troubles are necessary to save hardened sinners. Without my apostolic labors and prayers some souls will go to hell for eternity. Will I shrug my shoulders and think of something more pleasing?

Practical ways of reparation in the spirit of Mary. Our Lord has shown us how to make reparation to His Sacred Heart in the spirit of His Mother. He asks me to make the Communion of Reparation on First Fridays. He encourages me to devote a Holy Hour of Reparation to His Sacred Heart on the Thursday before First Fridays. He wants me to live the morning offering completely in a spirit of reparation. This is hard---a test of my loyalty.

A Catholic’s reparation in the apostolate: Reparation means repair---building up. What am I doing to build up the body of Christ, practically, concretely? Among my fellow students? Among Christ’s poor and ignorant? Among those suffering racial discrimination? Among countless pagans thirsting for the truth of Christ in the far-flung missions of the Church? Lord, show me what I can do!

The Sacred Heart---a Courageous Heat

I recall that God is present within me and listening to me as I pray.

Preparatory prayer: Lord, I offer You every thought and act of love for these next few minutes.

Picture: See Christ in each scene below; hear Him, live and work next to Him.

Grace I want: That I may understand the Heart of Christ.

A courageous heart: This is the Sacred Heart who, alone, drove out the money-changers and their tough bodyguards---who calmly rebuked the towering waves in a tiny, half-swamped board---who drove the devil out of tormented people time and again to the amazement of the terrified onlookers---who refused to be bullied by cowardly Pilate and willingly took on the most horrible death devised by man. Christ, give me a heart like Yours, courageous in doing my duty though weak and one against many.

The heart of a man: For forty days He fasted in the desert--alone--this carpenter’s son with gnarled hands and the lean, wiry muscles--a man idolized by rough and ready fishermen--a man continually hounded by the Pharisees because He loved the poor and oppressed; yet He challenged them time and again though He knew it meant sure death. Dear Christ, give me a heart like Yours, the heart of a man.

A majestic heart: A dark night in the Garden of Gethsemane; Christ praying alone and the disciples dozing some yards away. Soldiers rush up, torches held high in the left hand and swords in the right. Christ---alone and unarmed---says: “For whom are you looking?” They say, “Jesus of Nazareth,” He says, “I am Jesus.” Every one of them topples, falls face down to the ground terrified. Dear Christ, help me to see the powerful majesty of your Heart.

A joyful heart: Christ’s Heart is a joyful heart. Little children didn’t climb into His lap because He had a sour face. He once said to the long-faced Pharisees: “When you do penance, hide it with a smile; otherwise your only rewards will be men’s praise” (see Matthew 6:16). To the downtrodden, Christ said: “Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven” (see Matthew 5:12). Of all people the Catholic, the special friend of Christ should be joyful!

A considerate heart: Your thoughtful Heart, dear Christ, told You to change water into wine for an embarrassed bride and bridegroom at Cana, to lay Your hands on each leprous body or sightless eye, to defend vigorously your disciples from the sharp tongues of the Pharisees, to say to the parents of the little girl just raised from the dead: “Give her something to eat.” Dear Lord, make my heart feel the sufferings of others as Your Heart did.

An affectionate heart: Though weary, Lord, You had time to play with little children whom the apostles had tried to hold back. When Peter lent You his boat for a makeshift pulpit, You helped him catch a huge net of fish. You wept like a child over Jerusalem, and over the grief of Mary and Martha at the death of their brother, Lazarus. Give me a heart like Yours which loves quickly and lastingly.

An irresistible heart: Crowds flocked around You, Lord, forgot food while following You in the desert, did not give You time to eat or sleep. At one word and look, Matthew left all his wealth and had a big party to show how glad he was to follow You. In a way few proud, beautiful women have every done, Mary Magdalene humbled herself to win Your attention and affection. Dear Christ, give me a heart that wins great souls for You and Your service.

This Heart Loves Me

I recall that God is present within me, listening to me and speaking with me.

Preparatory Prayer: Lord, I offer You each thought and act of love in this prayer.

Picture: See Christ in each scene below, hear Him, live and work next to Him.

Grace I want: A deep understanding of His love for me as an individual.

He loves me --- this manly, majestic, joyful, considerate, affectionate, irresistible Christ. Not just the human race in one big nameless mass, but me. If I had been the only soul to be saved by His thirty-three years of suffering and work, He would not have done differently. During every second of all centuries I have been, as now, and always will be before His smiling eyes and in His affectionate Heart. Do I dare think about this fact---especially at certain times?

The Sacred Heart’s love for me will never die. Yet I think, “How is this possible? Me?” But I recall Mary Magdalene out of whom Christ cast seven devils, and Peter who denied Christ on the day He was to die for Peter, and the thief on the cross, and Christ’s last minute appeal to Judas: “Why are you doing this to Me?” Mary, Peter, the thief love the Sacred Heart enough to trust in His forgiveness; Judas does not. Lord, teach me to trust You.

The Sacred Heart loves me as no one else does or can. What friend would dedicate thirty-three years of his life solely to arranging for my happiness; then allow himself to be scourged and crucified after three years of being hounded by enemies---the devil and the world---especially when I have not always been a loyal friend to him? Why did Christ do this for me? Because He loved me much and knew I loved Him at least a little. Brother suffering for brother.

The Sacred Heart wants my love and affection. He said to St. Margaret Mary: “If men would return my love, then all that I have done would appear but little to My love. But they are cold toward Me and their only response to My friendliness is rejection of Me.” Such iciness seems impossible--until I look at my own heart. Are my fine words to Christ matched by fine actions? Do I have the courage to be known by my actions as a friend of Christ---in my home, the classroom, locker room, intramurals, the neighborhood hangout, and on a date? Or by my actions do I say with Peter, “I never heard of Him.”

The Sacred Heart proves His love by deeds. It is His way (really, the only way) of loving. And my actions, no matter how small (even tying my shoes), can be acts of love for the Sacred Heart---the same as kissing a crucifix--if I offer them to Him. Pretty words are not necessary. The best acts of love are doing things He wants: studying hard, playing hard and fairly, being a thoughtful son or brother, being a leader at school, helping out in the parish, being faithful to my spiritual exercises and duties.

As a Catholic I am wanted for a close friend by the Sacred Heart. You have chosen me, dear Lord, one from many, to be a Catholic leader--companion to Jesus and Mary. Why do You love me so much more than all the others? (Is Christ answering: “Because I expect you to do great things for Me--you, My loyal friend.”) Lord, give me the courage to be Your close friend--to sacrifice.

My love for Christ makes up to Him for the love He does not receive from those who are supposed to be His friends. He said to St. Margaret Mary: “My Heart has received in return from the majority of mankind only ingratitude, coldness, and the neglect of Me in the Eucharist. But what is even more painful to Me is that it is hearts consecrated to Me which treat Me this way.” What is my response?

Reflections on the Morning Offering

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You
What a privilege it is that I, a mere creature, may offer to You, my God, this day. Without Your precious gift of free will, I would never have been able to make this offering.

Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Whatever faults and imperfections may mar the beauty of my offering will all be forgotten by You, dear Lord, when they are presented to You by Your Mother’s loving hands. As St. Louis de Montfort expresses it, “They will be the work of Mary in her child and consequently will be exalted and imminently worthy of being offered to God.”

My prayers
My first thoughts on waking, my Mass, Holy Communion, thanksgiving, meditation, prayers before class, my meal prayers, the noon visit to the Blessed Sacrament, aspirations in the corridors and on the stairs, and every good thought that You may inspire in me today, I give to You.

My works
My morning duties, even my most indifferent actions, like eating my meals, getting ready for Mass and school; my home duties--helping with the housework, shopping, and so forth; my schoolwork--helping my younger brothers and sisters with their homework, my own homework though sometimes late into the night.

My joys
Dear Lord, I’ve always been glad this word “joy” was inserted in the morning offering. If there is anything I like to share, it is my joys. Life isn’t all prayers, works, and sufferings. You are most generous in sending us joys to make our earthly exile less difficult. You shared the joy of Your Mother and Your followers---and I know You like to share our joys, too.

My sufferings
I do not know what suffering may come into my life today, but since suffering is an integral part of life, I accept from Your loving hands all the disagreeable things that may come to me today--perhaps it will be bad weather, missing a bus and arriving late for school despite the fact that I leave home at 7:15; or it may be a reprimand from a teacher or a parent, or a snub from someone whose friendship I would like to enjoy. All the trials and difficulties of this day I offer in union with your lifelong sufferings and especially with Your holy passion and death on the cross for me.

For all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart
Your love embraces the whole world--every nation, every family, and every person-- “That all may be one in You as You and the Father are one.” That there may be one fold and one shepherd; that all may come to know You and to love You and to be happy with You forever. For these intentions I offer my day.

In union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass
Three times every second a white host is being elevated at Mass! What a tremendous privilege to be able to share in all those holy Masses. If I fully realized the number of Masses being offered throughout the world, the thought that I am sharing in all these Masses would stimulate me beyond measure. At any second of the day I can unite my intentions with three holy Masses and share in them.

In reparation for my sins
How grateful I am that You give me the opportunity of helping to make up for all the sins with which I have offended Your love--for all the sins of the entire world! How good of You to make it possible for me to make reparation by all the actions of my day! Lord I will try my best with Your grace to make this day sinless, an uninterrupted offering of reparation.

For the intentions of all our associates
Millions of members of the Apostleship of Prayer are making the same offering every day. We all share in the prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of each member. Shall we not gain joy and courage from the fact that in union there is strength?

And in particular for the intentions of our holy father
Our holy father’s intentions are Your intentions, dear Lord, since You since You speak to us through him.

(Conclude the meditation with an Our Father).

Copyright © 1999 Inter Mirifica

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