3 June – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
“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” (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).
Sixteenth century Calvinism and seventeenth century Jansenism preached a distorted Christianity that substituted for God’s love and sacrifice of His Son for all men the fearful idea that a whole section of humanity was inexorably damned.
The Church always countered this view with the infinite love of our Savior who died on the cross for all men. The institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart was soon to contribute to the creation among the faithful of a powerful current of devotion which since then has grown steadily stronger. The first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart were composed by St. John Eudes, but the institution of the feast was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. The celebration of the feast was extended to the general calendar of the Church by Pius IX in 1856.
The Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions (today, in other years) is superseded by the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Close to the Heart of the Son is the Heart of the Mother
The Church, in this month of June, giving us the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, wishes us to understand the consequential devotion to Our Lady traditionally lived in the Marian month par excellence: the month of May. The Heart of Jesus is the See and Throne of Divine Mercy, revealed to the world in the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.
The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI speaking of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus two years ago said: “In biblical language, “heart” indicates the centre of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell. In the Heart of the Redeemer we adore God’s love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy. Practising devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 5 June 2005).
The call which comes from this important feast day is first of all a call to Eucharistic adoration, because in the Sacred Host the Lord Jesus is truly present and He offers each of us His Heart, His Merciful Love. To spend time in the Presence of the Eucharistic Lord, to adore Him, is the best expression of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which, as we know, spread all over the world thanks to Jesus’ revelations to Saint Margherita M. Alacoque in the 17th century: “Behold the Heart which so loved mankind”!
The Lord God says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I shall bring them out of the countries where they are; I shall gather them together from foreign countries and bring them back to their own land. I shall pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in every inhabited place in the land. I shall feed them in good pasturage; the high mountains of Israel will be their grazing ground. There they will rest in good grazing ground; they will browse in rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest–it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.
Jesus spoke this parable to the scribes and Pharisees:
‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.’
But what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were sinners.
God loves us. God loves me.
Even though I’m a sinner. He chooses to love me still.
I must admit, that I’ve never been that far away from the Lord, in that I have never experienced being lost from the Lord (Thanks be to God!).
But that in itself is a true sign of His wondrous love for me. By not allowing me to be far from Him, I have not fallen down hard in my life.
I shared in one of my previous reflections that I suffer from eczema. Because of that, I have been exposed to the Charismatic movement from a young age as my grandmother would bring me for healing services held at various churches, in hope of receiving healing from the Lord.
Well, I have not been healed of my eczema yet. But there is definitely one thing that I have received from the healing services – the love of God.
I have come to understand, that it is because of the faith of my grandmother in bringing me for the healing services, I have come to know the Lord and to be open to His love.
As mentioned in today’s Gospel, the love of God is like a shepherd rejoicing because he has found his lost sheep.
For me, reading this Gospel, I imagine the Lord to be carrying me upon His shoulders when I exit the confessional after each Sacrament of Reconciliation, rejoicing that He has found me.
If I had not known the love of God, then would I be open to His mercy and forgiveness? Probably not.
Thanks be to God for finding me even when I’m not so lost and not in the darkest moment of my life.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Lee)
Prayer: Dearest Father, You are the Good Shepherd who sought me out when I was lost. Help me to always remember that it is because of You that I am who I am today. Let me never lose sight of You and forget Your love for me. Amen!
Thanksgiving: Thank you dear Lord, for Your love and mercy. Thank you for your faithfulness in guiding me on the right path.