Thursday, June 22, 2017

Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - The Yoke of Christ

At that time Jesus answered: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him. 
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Introductory Prayer
O God, you are meek and humble of heart, your example continues to inspire men and women, like St. Francis, to dedicate their lives to the salvation of souls. They are humble hearts who imitate your heart by bending their backs beneath the load of the cross that they accept because they love you. Lord Jesus, help me to let go of myself, to love you to the end.

Petition for the Meditation
The grace of accepting the cross in my life with love.

Points for Meditation

1) Poverty 

St. Francis is mostly remembered because of his love for Lady Poverty. It was poverty, in the words of Pope Pius XII, “that lightens the burden of the journey, gives wings to the feet, and inflames the heart with the zeal to set ablaze the whole earth with that fire the Redeemer brought to earth.” Poverty is smiled upon by many, sometimes despised by men, looked for by very few. But as Pope Pius teaches it sets us free from the bonds of the earth. Poverty is lived in different ways according to the specific vocation that God has given to each one. Parent can’t practice the poverty of a hermit, nor should they. Yet it is a virtue for us all. What we need to do to make progress in our spiritual life is to detach ourselves from all material things. Money cannot be our idol, nor can comfort, nor fame, nor other material goods. They are means, they are creatures that God permits us to use for his greater glory and our salvation. Above all, poverty cuts us free from our attachment to our plans, ideas, remarks and decisions. This is a poverty we are all called to. When I give my opinions center stage to the point that they become dogmas in my heart, I have fallen down before them and given them worship. They are no longer means to an end; they have become the very goal of my existence. And it is in these moments that bitterness becomes present in my heart. This can happen to us all in many different ways. That is why we need to practice interior poverty, not just material poverty. Our heart’s treasure must be Christ and all things that are his.

2) My yoke is easy

What is the yoke of Christ? To be bound by the bonds of Christ. It is the weight of the cross, suffering and pain that come with following Christ. St. Francis had to bear the stigmata on his body as a sign of his Christian vocation. We are called to bear the internal stigmata, the invisible stigmata on our souls with patience and humility. This stigmata is the cross that Christ lays on our shoulders as a condition to be his followers. At times we rebel against the cross. It hurts; we shrink from it because we are afraid. We forget that the cross comes to us from the One who loves us more than we could ever love ourselves. We forget that it is our Creator and Redeemer who offers us the cross.

When we accept the cross with humility and love, perhaps a little fearful, it is not long before we experience just how true the words of the Lord are, “it is easy.” Yes, the cross becomes “easy” because it is love not self-interest that moves us. It is no longer a burden that crushes us. By the grace of God it becomes a source of life and of joy. Through the yoke of Christ, obedience to his holy will, dedication to the pursuit of holiness, a life of charity, we begin to be free for the first time. The more we embrace the cross the easier it is to carry. This is so because we have Christ supporting us along the way. Then the words, the “Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want, ..., fresh and green are the meadows where he gives me rest” take on their true meaning in our lives. To accept the yoke of Christ is to walk in the will of God. And in our lives we begin to experience God’s goodness, his kindness, and his unfailing love. The yoke of Christ, the bondage of faith, is the freedom of the children of God. For those who accept Christ are living in the truth. They are free. They are also living in his love, which is the abundance of life that he promised he would give us. 

Dialogue with Christ
Lord, at times it is not easy to embrace the values that you spell out for me in the Gospel. I so often want to arrange things my way. I like to decide how virtues ought to be lived and what is a fair cross for me objectively to carry. Hidden in these attitudes there lies a lack of faith and love. They reflect a confidence that is so feeble that the cross stands for all that is unbearable. But Lord, you know that I want to take up your cross. You don’t have to explain anything. You don’t have to justify anything. Just let me know and love you more and more. Let my life – like St. Francis’s – bear fruit for the whole Church. That will be enough.

Resolution
Renew my commitment to take up my cross in my daily life. What is it that God wants from me, here and now? I accept it with generosity and confidence.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - Master, Teach Us to Pray


Jesus said to his disciples: "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I am aware that you know what is best for me, and that is why I believe in you. You are more interested in my spiritual well-being than I am, and that is why I trust in you. You always give me your loving forgiveness in spite of my sins, and that is why I love you.

Petition: Lord, teach me how to pray.


  1. Prayer is the Fruit of Silence: Some people like to talk. They demand to be listened to, but they don’t have the same interest in listening. However, you usually can’t listen if you aren’t used to silence. St. Theresa of Calcutta once wrote that prayer is the fruit of silence. Jesus wants us to understand that prayer is more about listening than about talking. When you are with someone who knows much about a topic that interests you, you limit yourself to asking questions and dedicate yourself to listening. Jesus is the revealer of God the Father. That means our main interest in prayer should be asking Jesus, our Lord, about his Father and then dedicating ourselves to listening.



  1. God is Our Loving Father: Jesus tells us that God the Father knows what we need before we ask him. Still, we should ask, because in asking we become aware that we have needs that only God our Father can grant us. We learn to ask God what we most need for our salvation. That is why Jesus taught us the “Our Father.” Praying the “Our Father” reminds us that he is the father of all, and therefore every human person is truly our brother. In praying the “Our Father,” we essentially ask for three things: that God have the first place in our lives, that he give us our material and spiritual sustenance, and that he grant us his forgiveness.



  1. Forgive in Order to Be Forgiven: Jesus emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. As the First Letter of John reminds us, we are all sinners (cf. 1:8). One of the essential characteristics of Christian life is seeking to encounter Christ’s loving mercy. We can really experience it only when we put it into practice ourselves. We can admire a person who parachutes off a plane, but we won’t understand the experience until we skydive ourselves. We grasp the true meaning of mercy when we forgive others. Our mercy will not be the same as Christ’s: He never sinned, and therefore he forgives us even though we don’t deserve it. If Christ has forgiven us, how can we dare not to forgive others?


Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you for teaching me to pray to the Father. I don’t always pray as much as I should. Please help me to pray more and better. Please help me to want with all my heart to give God the first place in my life, preferring his will to mine. Help me to treat others as I would like them to treat me, forgiving them when they offend me.

Resolution: I will dedicate a specific time to prayer each day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious - The Danger of Vanity


Jesus said to his disciples: "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a living faith. Though I am so inclined to sin and weakness, I trust in your mercy. I want to show my love for you in this meditation. I long for my recompense to come only from you, not from people’s applause. 


Petition: Lord, help me to act with greater purity of intention in my life.


1. Who Do You Seek to Please: In today’s Gospel reading, Christ presents a difficult challenge and, at the same time, a great consolation. His teaching can be summed up with a simple phrase: In everything we do, act always before God alone. At the end of our life, all that will remain is what we have done for God and our brothers and sisters. Everything else, all of our vanities, our desires to be esteemed, loved or taken into account will vanish on the last day, like fog disappears under the rays of the sun. The challenge is clear: to act before God with absolute purity of intention. But where is the consolation? Our heavenly Father “sees in secret.” What might never be perceived or recognized or appreciated by the world will one day be rewarded in heaven.


2. Between You and God: Mother Theresa echoes the Gospel teaching in a brief poem entitled “It’s Between You and God.” 

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight.

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous.

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.

Give the world the best you have anyway.

Why?

Because in the final analysis, all of this is between you and God….

It was never between you and them anyway.


3. Our Everlasting Reward: Christ declares three times that hypocrites who act before others have already received their reward. One day each of us will stand alone before Christ. Our eternal destiny will depend upon the outcome of that moment. May we not discover to our chagrin that our hands are empty because we have secretly acted to win the applause of men. Rather, may we perform our good deeds in secret, not letting our left hand know what our right is doing. Then our heavenly Father, “who sees what is hidden” will repay us.


Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for always seeing what is hidden, for always being ready to reward what is done for you. Your words and the example of holy men and women inspire me on this point. I wish to live facing you and eternity and to give up all my vain ambitions and worries about what others think of my actions.


Resolution: I will renew my purity of intention in the different activities of the day, doing them out of love for Christ and to help establish his Kingdom.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - Be Perfect?

"You have heard that it was said, ´You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.´ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you became a man in order to show me, in your own flesh and blood, the way to holiness. In every word and deed of yours recorded in the Gospel, you teach and reveal to me the secret of a life worthy of eternity. I believe that you are with me now, and that you will use these moments of prayer to increase my faith, hope and love. Here I am, Lord, to know, love and serve you with all my heart. Amen. 


Petition: Lord, help me to seek holiness out of love for you and others. Amen. 


1. “Be Perfect” Who is telling us to be perfect? Christ the Word, he through whom all things were made, through whom we came into being: our Lord, our Creator, who from all eternity longs to see each one of us be made perfect in love. This is not a suggestion; it is a command. He says it to his disciples with energy, even knowing that for them alone it is impossible. For God, though, nothing is impossible. We are reminded today that our saintliness is a possibility; it is God’s plan. Miracles happen when we believe. God is not through with any one of us yet. All God asks is that we be perfect – not a whole life in one fell swoop – but, rather, every present moment, one at a time. That is what I have – this present moment. This is what I have to perfect.


2. Why Does God Command Us to Become Perfect? God’s demand that we seek and strive after the perfection of holiness becomes more understandable when we contemplate the increasingly dire situation of our world. That world, so gravely in need of Christ’s salvation, is the starkest and most palpable reason why any one of us should pursue holiness. What is the value of Christian holiness in the world? One early Christian apologist put it in these terms: 


To sum up all in one word –– what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world. The flesh hates the soul, and wars against it, though itself suffering no injury, because it is prevented from enjoying pleasures; the world also hates the Christians, though in nowise injured, because they abjure pleasures. The soul loves the flesh that hates it, and [loves also] the members; Christians likewise love those that hate them” (From the Letter to Diognetus). 


3. Seeking Holiness is a Labor of Love: In a world of shifting sands, we can offer solid ground; in a world of blind forces of spiritual and material violence, we can offer the persuasive power of Christian goodness. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was heard to say that holiness is not the privilege of a few, but the obligation of all. When with simple and profound faith, we delve into that link between our striving for holiness and the salvation of souls, we can discover a new impetus and a new strength. The challenge of seeking holiness can become a labor of love, driven by a heart aflame with zeal for the salvation of all our brothers and sisters. 


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, the world needs men and women of God; the world needs saints. I know this. I know you call me in a personal, urgent and insistent way to seek my holiness. For the sake of my brothers and sisters, for their salvation, Lord, make me holy. Amen.   


Resolution: I will dedicate some time today to pray to Our Lady and entrust to her, with living faith and childlike simplicity, the entire project of my personal sanctification.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time - Something Radically New

Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, 
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you present a message that is not easy for my fallen nature to accept. However, I believe in your words, and I trust in you because you alone have the words of eternal life. As I begin this moment of prayer, I turn to you as one in need. I want only to please you in all I do.

Petition: Lord, help me to embrace your call to turn the other cheek.

1. The Leitmotif: Can we discover a unifying thread in this week’s Gospel readings? One that stands out is the radical newness of Christ’s Kingdom. It is new in its fundamental principle: a charity that must extend to loving one’s very enemies (Monday and Tuesday). It is new in the intentions which must motivate all our actions (Wednesday). It is new in the way we are to pray to our Father in heaven (Thursday). And, finally, it is new in the radical demands it places upon us as followers of Christ: We must make this Kingdom our only treasure (Friday) and seek it above everything else in life (Saturday). What a privilege to be called to the mission of helping to establish such a Kingdom! What a joy, what an honor, what a glory to be the subjects of such a King! Do people encounter a “newness”, a freshness, in my approach to life? Is it rooted in Christ’s new teaching?

2. A New Legislator: We find ourselves at the heart of Christ’s discourse in his Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord attributes to himself an authority that must have startled and even shocked his Jewish listeners. He claims the power to alter what has been proclaimed in the very Law of Moses and the prophets — the absolute source of authority for the Jewish faith. Remember that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and God put his word in the mouths of the prophets. So when Jesus says, “You have heard it said…. But I say to you...,” only two alternatives are possible: Either Christ is a madman, or he is truly the Son of God, the one who has come “not to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.” I may agree that he is truly the Son of God, but do I embrace all of his teachings?

3. Turning the Other Cheek: It would certainly be hard to find words more radical than these. Who would dare to speak them, if not the Son of God himself? He would live them out fully in his own life, allowing himself to be nailed to the cross by evil men. But is it really possible for us to live them as his followers, as Christians? Do we really turn the other cheek when someone strikes us? If people demand something of us unjustly, do we give them even more than they ask? What could be the purpose of these commands from Christ, which seem to leave us vulnerable and defenseless? In the end, it is only such heroic charity that will be able to win over evil men to the cause of the Gospel. And that is precisely what Christ, our Savior, longs for. “God … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I long to have a heart that is more like yours. Warm my selfish heart so that I will lovingly turn the other cheek as you ask of me. Help me to grow in zeal for all men to be saved and to come to know you in their lives. 

Resolution: I will do an act of kindness for someone with whom it is difficult for me to get along.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Daily Meditations with The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus


From June 10 until 30 


Day 10 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE BEST CONSOLATION


I

Sin has made of this world, which should be an anticipated paradise, a true valley of tears. The thorns we encounter and stumble into at each step of our path puncture us painfully and make us cry out in pain. It is in this manner that mankind needs consolation so much during this mortal life. We need consolation during setbacks of fortune, in the pains of sickness, in the loss of loved ones, in one's own doubts of conscience and in all moments of life and, above all, in the most critical and anguishing moment of our last moments of life.


Where else can we find this consolation than in the most sweet and consoling Heart of Jesus? Haven't from Him these words been uttered, so tender and loving: "Come to me all those who are weary and weighed down. I will grant You relief"?


O good Jesus! The only true Consoler of our anguished hearts! To whom shall we resort to but You in our hours of grief and unease? When worldly concerns do not fulfill us, when friends become distant, when strength is lacking: to whom if not You shall we resort to, You, inexhaustible source of all solace and consolation?


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

And yet, notwithstanding all this, my soul, you resort last to Jesus in your hours of tribulation. First you go to your friends on earth, rather than to that most loving Soul of Heaven. You first seek the solace in worldly pastimes than in the sweet intimacy of the Sanctuary, where Its most merciful and compassionate Consoler awaits for you.


Tell me: don't you already carry enough dissapointments? What wounds do you have or pain do you carry that the world has relieved? What balm have you found to sweeten the bitterness of adversity? Do you not yet see that the world does not delight in consoling those who suffer, but instead to vitiate the blessed? What do you search for, you who suffer, in that world that is not to understand you? There is but only one refuge for the wounded hearts, and this is the wounded Heart of Jesus.


O Lord! I shelter myself to Your Heart like the bosom of a loving mother, so that you wrap me up inside It with Your warmth, and You defend and console me. Only You offer comfort for our poor heart.


Distance from us vain, inconstant and deceitful human consolations, which are as a cup of liquor whose rim is sweet but from its depths one drinks only the bitter dregs of disappointment. I seek only You, Lord: into Your Heart I enter, and there I wish to remain. O God of all consolation. In You and only in You do I hope to find my disconsolate heart.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 11 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE MOST FAITHFUL FRIEND


I

Friendship is one of the most pressing demands and at the same time one of the sweetest satisfactions of the human heart. Our heart needs to communicate with another heart, in its joys as well as in its sorrows; this affectionate communication is called friendship.


Do you want a true friendship? Have as a friend the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We cannot draw closer to any other heart with the same certainty of being corresponded to in kind. It is a constant friend that does not abandon us, if it is not abandoned first. It is not like the friends of the world, that only serve you perhaps in prosperity, and forget you in time of affliction. The friendship of the Heart of Jesus is firm for those who love it, until death and beyond death.


He will keep watch like a faithful friend together with you in your bed of agony, and will be your guarantor in the presence of the Supreme Judge. Let us therefore look for this unique friendship, which cannot ever turn out to be false. Yes, my Jesus: admit me into the number of friends of Your Heart.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

My soul, many friends you have had in this world, or at least many have called themselves such. Have they truly been friends? Ah! They will never be for you what the Heart of Jesus promises to be!


The friends of the world conceal many times, with flattering words, coldness or even self-serving attention. They are inconstant, changeable, egotistical. Even the most firm friends cannot resist the forced separation that death imposes. Who will lend their heart to such vain friendships?


It is not this way with You, most sweetest Jesus, my love, my friend; and yet, how few are your friends! The world comes together at all hours in its centers of dissipation and misdeeds, and You barely find any who, surrounding the Tabernacle, will give you amorous company!


I want to be one of those few, O Divine Jesus, to make me worthy of your friendship. I want to give you frequent conversation, since your greater delights are contained in your conversations with our souls. O my Jesus! O my God! O my friend! Let us both be friends for ever, and may such a sweet friendship never end, even when my life does.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 12 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE MOST RELIABLE TEACHER


I

Let us consider today under this point of view the Sacred Heart of Jesus. With its weight in gold and the burden of long voyages, men search for those advantaged teachers, and with great honor and happiness they become their disciples and learn human sciences from their lips. With lesser cost and fatigue we can instead find in the Sacred Heart of Jesus the most reliable teacher.


We are given by this Divine Preceptor two types of lessons: one are exterior, through the means of the voice of the Church; the other are interior, by means of Its secret inspiration. And what does It teach? Great truths, maxims of eternal life, counsels of salvation, entirely celestial prudence. Trained by this Divine Teacher, illiterate men and women have beeen seen in the Church of God impress and confuse the knowledgeable ones, and leave behind monuments of profound interior science for those to come; science not acquired in schools, but instead with the interaction and familiarity with this Sacred Heart.


O Master of Truth! O Book that is always open for those who wish to penetrate into its secrets! O holy Cathedra, where neither Moses nor the prophets, nor the philosophers, but only God Himself dictates Lessons of Truth to the disciples of His Heart!


Open, Lord, my own heart so that it meekly receives such divine teachings, and follows and practices them all with great joy.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

Who have you listened to up until this day, my soul? It's been teachers of seductive words who have led you down paths of perdition.


Your masters have been: the world with its foolish maxims, passions with their misguided and evil suggestions; vanity, self love, anger and all the other disordered appetites. I have listened to these lessons, my Jesus, and these have made me deaf to the gentle counsels of Your Law. Speak now, Lord; speak, Divine Teacher, that your faithful disciple now hears You. Speak to the intimate recess of my heart from the depths of Your own; may it hear Your sweet voice, and learn from it the secrets of eternal life, which cannot be taught by anyone else. Deaf I wish to be from now on to all those who have seduced or deceived me.


O Divine Teacher! Admit me into the school of Your Heart, from where so many advantaged disciples have come! I am ignorant like a child; be in charge of my ignorance; have pity of my shortsightedness. For Teacher I do not want anyone else but You: teach me, My Teacher, to always do Your Holy Will.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 13 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE MOST PRIZED TREASURE


I

Men tire and expose themselves to the gravest dangers so as to acquire a fortune; they will cross oceans, defy weather; all adversity will seem small if only they can gain a fistful of gold so as to pass their miserable life in a better state. How many are nevertheless cheated from their hopes! And even for those who obtain for themselves large riches: do they give peace and happiness to their souls? On the contrary, due to the fear of loosing those riches or having to abandon them upon their death, they suffice to cloud the sky of joy achieved by possessing them.


My soul, do not search with crazy zeal these perishable riches. May your greatest riches be the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Here is a Treasure that you can achieve without enormous effort. You do not have to undertake anything to gain it; long voyages, costly work, nor difficult industries; nor to fight with the elements, nor risk your health or your existence. All of these things are done by men for worldly gold and silver. None of this is demanded from you by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is close to you; It is within your reach. He Himself offers and shares His Heart with you. You only need to want to be rich with the riches of this Sacred Heart in order to possess them with all assuredness.


Do you desire, soul of mine, this brilliant fortune? Do you decide to be rich with the riches of this Sacred Heart?


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

O vain riches of the world, which have excited my covetousness so many times! O miserly treasures of gold and silver, or better said, of mud and trash, into which man normally places his own heart! What are these in comparison with the eternal riches of that Sacred Heart, Treasure of the blessed and guaranty of all their joys? How foolish are men who go out of their way to reach these worldly goods, knowing they will die, almost as soon as they have begun to possess them!


O Lord, who are the True Riches of Your elect! I want nothing else but You, nor do I seek any better treasure. I am sure that if I come to possess You, neither thieves, nor adversities, nor death itself will separate me from You. The powerful of the world have sumptuous palaces; I suffice a Haven in the Loving Nest of Your Love. They cover themselves with elegance and jewels of great price; I suffice only for my soul the jewels of Your Grace. They revel in splendid banquets and noisy music; I suffice in savoring the ineffable consolations of Your Love.


O Lord, inexhaustible riches! How poor is the heart that does not possess You, even though it may possess all the goods of the earth!


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 14 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE MOST FIRM HOPE


I

Vain are the hopes of the world and miserable are the ones that trust in them. The years of youth pass, fortunes change, dreams fade, friendships become lukewarm; nothing, in one word, remains standing: that with which a man may be gratified only a few times, throughout his or her brief walk on this earth.


And yet, the poor human heart needs something firm and permanent to latch onto, so as to not fall into the horrors of despair. In what then, can it fix its hope? Ah! All passes, Saint Theresa of Jesus has said; everything passes, it is true. Yet God does not move on. Here then is the fixed center in which we can place our hopes; that is, for those whose desire to place themselves within something secure and inmutable.


O Divine Heart of my most beloved Jesus! Everything escapes and disappears from our love, leaving us empty and desolate! Only You remain eternally as a beacon of light and resplendent guide for the heart who loves You. May I lack everything, my God, except for You! In You I place my hope, and I know I will never be let down.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

O human life so full each day of so numerous and cruel disappointments! O soul of mine, which has tried to place its happiness in so many objects, without any of them achieving the soothing of your longing! O poor mortal one! You are like a dry leaf that the wind swirls and agitates, searching for joy in everything and not finding it in any created thing!


Stop now and focus! Dig deep your roots into the love of your good Jesus, the only One that can calm your amorous yearning, the only One that will not defraud your hopes. Poor little boat, always being carried here and there by the waves, and always with the abyss under your feet fearing your shipwreck! Cast here your anchor if you want to find a sure port, where you can repose and recuperate from the fatigue of your perilous navigating! Dove so tired of flying everywhere, without finding where to place your feet! Enter through the opening of this Ark, which awaits for you, offering a sure haven against all storms.


Heart of Jesus! Be all for me, as from You my afflicted heart waits and expects all from You. I look at those seductive promises of the century, those which have so many times disappointed my soul, as what they truly are: dust, nothing. What can be promised for the one who places his or her hopes on dust and nothing?


O God of heavens and earth! What tranquil rest is reached by the one who expects and waits with hope for everything from You, and for nothing outside of You!


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 15 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE MOST LOVING FORTITUDE


I

In nothing is known the profound misery of the human being as in his or her weakness. Our soul has remained, after original sin, so weak and unstable that any effort made by the enemy suffices to knock it down, unless it has by its side a superior force that sustains it. At the same time the soul can work only a little good, because any difficulty intimidates and daunts it. Do you want to be strong in place of this weakness? Then resort to the fortitude found in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


There the Saints went, weak creatures and of contemptible flesh like our own, and thanks to doing that they became strong and worked marvels. When we recall through the history of the Church, we will see both dedicated youths and the helpless elderly, overcome all the malignant power of the enemies of Christ, making themselves superior to the flattery, the torments and even death. The cloisters and the deserts, domestic life and even the courts and encampments, are full of men and women who at the peak of their age are strong, in the midst of all seductions, to renounce all and to follow Jesus Christ, so as to elevate themselves to a greater dignity.


My Soul! There is nothing they have done that you cannot do, if you obtain for yourself the same fortress.


Where is this fortress found? It lies within the Sacred Heart.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

You are weak and fragile, my soul, because you want to be. Yes, because you want it. What excuse would the child have that cannot get up off the floor, because it does not want to extend his hand to reach the hand that his good mother is offering? This is why your stumbles and falls are frequent; this is why you feel dejection and distrust before the smallest difficulty. Perhaps, lending to greater tragedy, you have presumed something coming from your own self-worth, and with stubborn arrogance you have believed yourself capable of doing without any solace!


Resort, my soul, to God, Your Helper and Powerful Aid, and you will be saved. Your fiercest enemies will not be able to do anything against you; neither the most tempestuous passions. You will feel agility, quickness; the facility to perform all good works and to do so even when they involve costly sacrifice.


O, Heart of Jesus, Fortitude of the weak and fallen! My heart runs under continuous discouragement, and resorts to You so that You sustain it. Give me Your hand, Lord, like You have given it to so many whom, for You, arose from the mud to the summit of virtue, as You did for Saint Magdalene, Saint Paul, and Saint Augustine.


What could the most valiant do if You abandoned him or her? On the other hand, what could the most weak one do if You fortified them? O my God, my Fortitude! Make me strong with You, so that I may reign victoriously with You.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 16 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE FONT OF HAPPINESS


I

Serve God with happiness, the Holy Books say; and, in effect, the happiness of the heart has always been the distinctive trait of the true servants of God. The Saints, in the middle of their most rigorous austerities, were happy. Sadness was never a virtue for the Christian soul; it's rather been temptations and danger.


Yet, where do we find true happiness? Causes of disturbance and sadness we will find everywhere, and it seems impossible to remove ourselves from them. Let us deposit our worries and distress in the Heart of Jesus, and we will find in Him the source, the Font of True Happiness. Let us unload there the weight of our concerns through a perfect acceptance of the Holy Will of God. Let us not tarry in hearing resonate in the depth of our heart those sweet words that the Saviour often said to His disciples: "Peace be with you!"


O my Jesus! My soul needs You so as to shake off the overwhelming weight of its perpetual sadness. You have said it on another occasion: "Rejoice, son of Zion, because the Saint of Israel is in Your midst." Give me, O Lord, that celestial gift with which You favor Your elect.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

We all search for happiness, but we commonly err in the path we choose to find it. The world continuously promises it, but well does it know it really cannot deliver happiness. The world's joys are noisy and a racket, yet they do not fill the heart, nor do they last for more than a brief moment. The countenance of the worldly is almost always a happy mask which hides a heart devoured by tedium and unease, and probably also by remorse. The inner bliss is the sole property of a good, clean conscience. The soul of Saint Francis Xavier, in the middle of its apostolic fatigues felt so inundated with joy that he was forced to exclaim: "Enough, Lord, Enough!" Thus, when we find ourselves feeling sad, let us examine our heart, and we will see that our sadness is always born from some secret lack of virtue.


O Divine Heart, who are in Heaven the joy of Angels and Saints and in this world the joy of all Your friends! For You they smile happily amid their torments and martyrdoms, the anchorites in their penitences, the followers of Your Holy Law in their humiliations. For You I hope and wait to conserve the profound bliss of my soul, most beloved Jesus, even until the bitter moments of my last agony. Speak, O my God, to my soul with that moving voice, and my entrails will tremble with joy, and I will enjoy already in this world with anticipation the joys of paradise.


Me ditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 17 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE MOST EFFICACIOUS PROTECTION


I

Surrounded by enemies as we are, we need at all times a zealous and vigilant protector; and above all because these enemies are numerous, and they are powerful, and they abhor us with death.


Everything that is an enemy of Jesus Christ is by consequence an enemy of us Christians. I thus have in front of me all the power of hell and I serve as a target for its attacks of persecution as well as of seduction. The army of evil, inspired invisibly by Satan, and visibly commanded by his representatives on earth, fill the world; there are moments when anxiously one's heart asks whether he is already owner of the entire globe. For the propaganda of his ideas the media and eloquence serve him well. Many governments carry out his orders; many wayward persons lend him their talents. There is no event that we witness that is not a bellicose act in favor of or against the cause of God, and consequently has either a public or secret effect on the eternal fate of each one of its advocates. Just as God has put everything for my service so as to save me, the devil, my enemy, has done the same, to lose me. All the rage and fury of hell, against God, is released by him against me, made in God's image, since against God he recognizes he is powerless. Woe of me, made a continuous object of so many violent assaults. Is there hope of salvation for a person in the midst of such an obstinate determination to lose him or her?


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

Yes, my soul: you have a Protector stronger than all your enemies. And certainly all of hell cannot harm the one that knows to find refuge in such an Efficacious Protector. Shelter yourself in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Take Him as your shield, and advance valiently. Say with total certainty: "The Lord is my shelter; I will fear nothing that the enemy may do against me. The Lord is my defender. What can frighten me? If against me entire armies arise, my heart will not fear. If against me a difficult battle takes place I will put in Him my trust."


Sacred Heart of Jesus! See how my soul is continuously besieged, victim of constant persecution, perhaps vacillating and close to falling into the hands of its enemies. Give me strength, Sacred Heart! Against me in the world are the devil and the flesh. Yet I know I am not alone, but with You, my Sweet Good, my only Haven, my Protector and my Fortitude, I no longer fear my enemies. Whether tempestuous passions awake in my heart; whether the world around me shines with its most powerful attractions; whether I hear buzzing above my head the continuous gun shots of those persecuting You, Your Church and Your friends: by Your side I will be and I will not faint! Whether a thousand fall to my right, and ten thousand fall to my left, the darts of the persecutor will not touch me. I will call out to the Lord, and He will hear me; with me He will be during my rigororous difficulty, and He will save me, and even with all these adversities He will glorify me.


Yes, my Sweet Protector, most kind-hearted Heart, in Your power I have put this trust, and I know You will not fail me.


Me ditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 18 - IN THE SACRED HEART, WE WILL FIND THE BEST HONOR


I

Illustrious and honored are called those by the world who obtain through either their own merits or their fortunes the favor of famous personalities, and they have free pass and valuable influence within the palaces of the powerful. These people are generally looked upon with a mixture of admiration and secret envy: the latter due more to their riches and power which signal the importance surrounding their name, rather than the splendor in which their families live, out of the consideration and respect their compatriots have for them. And yet, notwithstanding, how fleeting and temporary this human glory is, and how easily it changes into forgetfulness, and perhaps in atrocious tragedy! History is full of these catastrophes of human vanity; more than once in just one day the extremes of major elevation and major ignominy have been lived; perhaps the throne yesterday, and today, the gallows.


Not so is the glory and honor that the Sacred Heart of Jesus grants to its servants. The predilect and favored of this generous King never ever lose their royal grace, so long as they do not voluntarily renounce it. They are admitted into His most sweet intimacy, and they possess close to Him the most absolute influence. By his recommendations they can avail themselves of the Heavenly Father whenever it may be advantageous for themselves or their brothers and sisters. The ancient Joseph has not shown himself any gentler and generous towards his own, as our elder brother Jesus Christ wishes to show Himself to us. To those who have faithfully submitted their lives to Him, He promises a seat together with Him so as to judge the world in the supreme tribunal. To those who have been His own here, among all mankind, He promises to recognize them as His own before His Celestial Father.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

If you have ambition for glory, honor and royal preference, my soul, then have ambition for all these which the Sacred Heart can give you. Listen to what Jesus said to His disciples, and through them, to all of us: "I no longer call you slaves, because the slave ignores what his lord does; you I now call friends, because I gave to you the knowledge of all that I heard from my Father". What earthly prince ever talked to a subject in this manner, to one he wanted to honor?


I recognize it as such, my Jesus and for this reason, from now on, I do not want any other glory or any honor than those that serve You. May the kings keep their palaces; the notables their coveted influence; the powerful the gifts with which they honor their friends. Keep all these depective favors which are bought at such a high price and are so easily lost.


They will no longer excite me: the coveting of the brilliance of luxurious garments, elevated posts, illustrious renown, uncertain and fickle popular fame.


O my Jesus! The one who lives imitating You reaches the greatest favor: one who can call himself Yours; he or she achieves the most distinguished title of honor. I desire nothing more, nor do I want to accept anything less. May this be my principal nobility: the Holy Cross, the sacred wound of the lance and the crown of thorns that you show in Your Heart; here are my emblens, the only ones that will make me known in the judgment for having served in Your Palace. Ambitious I am, my Jesus, and I am not content with anything less than reigning with You in the glory that you prepare for your elect. Give me each day more of those true honors, and may I reach them one day in Your Celestial Kingdom.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 19 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR OUR HOLY FATHER THE POPE


I

We have come already to the last novena in the Month of the Sacred Heart. It is now time for us to think about directing ourselves to Him with our fervor, so as to plead in these last days for the most urgent needs of human society. For our own particular needs we have pleaded every day, and we can continue to do so from the depths of our hearts. For these other new prayers our oration must be public and common, as they are public and common. Let us dedicate today then to plead to the Sacred Heart for our Holy Father the Roman Pontiff. For who else could we offer with preference our most eficacious prayer? The Pope is the center of all Catholic life on the face of the earth; the foundation of its edifice; the visible head of the spiritual body of which Christ is the invisible head.


The Pope is, for these same reasons, the chosen object of the most violent rages of hell. Surrounding his throne all the tempests of impiety rage on with unequalled furor. Many, spiteful, direct brutal threats are directed at him; others, false and betraying, serve him astute threats.


Could a faithful son or daughter of the Church leave alone, abandoned their Father or Pastor in those difficult battles? Would we not resort to the Sacred Heart for this first and most urgent need of our days?


O Sacred Heart of Jesus! Cover with your protective shield Your Vicar, the first of your children, whom You have constituted on earth as Father and Pastor of Your souls, in Your name and in Your stead. Assist him, defend him, make him victor in all his battles.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

Of all the duties of a good Catholic, the duty to plead for the Pope is, without doubt, the first and primary one. What family exists in which its children do not feel the duty to lend all types of assistance to their father? Here the great family is Catholicism, and her great father is the Roman Pontiff. We are her children, and the primary assistance she needs is our fervorous and constant support and prayer.


It is almost certain that we have behaved like strangers, or with indifference. Are we sure we have always met our obligations as good children? Let it not be that our neglect is a motive of accusation against us in the tribunal of God. Let us dwell any longer in this coldness and oblivion.


O Sacred Heart of Jesus! This is the petition I want as mine own, constantly, in Your presence: Save the Pope! Grant authority and force to his words; make it so this rebellious, difficult world respect his voice; make us above all obedient to his teachings. May those who wish evil be confused and dispelled; may those who have been misled by strange doctrines come to their senses; may the sheep that has separated from the flock return joyfully to the amorous Pastor.


O Sacred Heart of Jesus! By the merits of Your Holy Cross, for the infinite value of Your Blood, for the lashes and the thorns of Your Passion, give to Your Vicar on earth that which we ask You for, for him, today.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 20 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR THE CLERGY AND RELIGIOUS ORDERS


I

If the Pope is the head of the body of the Church, the Clergy and Religious Orders are her arms. From these come good works and the promotion of the service to God: for this the priests and religious are so abhorred by impiety, that at all hours it goes about procuring to either destroy them or corrupt them. Let us dedicate ourselves, then, brothers and sisters on this day to plead for these most important needs that the Clergy and Religious Orders address.


Let us ask the Sacred Heart that it kindle and embrace in zeal and charity the soul of His priests and religious, so that through them the Kingdom of God acquire new territory over the earth, and new souls be won over for the Celestial Glory. May in them the observance of ecclesiastical laws be made perfect; may they shine among the people with the purity of their customs; for their disinterested giving; for their obedience; their humility and their spirit of sacrifice.


O Heart of Jesus! Look at this world, and at the need that exists for good workers in it! O Father of families: send good workers to Your Vine. Make it so, Divine Heart, for Your Glory and for the salvation of so many souls that You have handed over to in confidence to Your ministers.


We supplicate all this most especially, Sacred Heart, on this day of Your devoted Month.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

The way the priests and religious houses are, so will the secular laity that lives in their surroundings be. Woe of the people where even in the ministries of the sanctuaries there reigns disorder or even negligence! How much must this need interest us in addressing before the Sacred Heart!


O Divine Heart! Give to Your zealous pastors Your sheep, ardent announcers of Your Holy Word, faithful dispensers of Your Sacraments. Enliven in the souls that reside in the religious institutes and that You have chosen as Your special portion, that they may be more profoundly bound to You. Give them the spirit of prayer, the mortified life, inner examination, exemplary observance.


Lord! You have said "A little bit of leavening makes all the dough ferment". And who is the leavening of the people, if not these souls You have chosen from the common dough of all? Send forth religious saints, Lord! Send us souls of superior perfection, and the world will be transformed.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 21 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY


I

Hell directs its attacks with its best effort on domestic society. To achieve the disappearance of Jesus Christ from the family: this is the target of its desires. And in so many places this desire of Satan is being achieved! Today one rarely finds anymore a truly Christian family. Many fathers and mothers of today seem to have banished Religion from their homes, based on how they have forgotten all forms of its practice. Prayer rarely happens; and in the family, also rarely is the name of God heard. All importance is given instead to self-interests, vanity, exaggerated luxury and faulty diversions.


O Sacred Heart of Jesus! Make Yourself in charge also of this need and harken to its remedy. Make all homes Yours once again, where the devil seems to have cast You out. Come back to reign, O Lord, in our homes, as in other temples consecrated to You. Unite to Your Divine Heart the hearts of parents and children, who today are miserably divided by dissipation and selfishness.


O Sacred Heart! We ask you today most fervently for this need, one of the saddest of our days.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

How different would the face of the earth be if in the Christian family the Sacred Heart of Jesus reigned again! How great would the prudence of the parents be; likewise for the respect of the children; likewise for the faithfulness of the spouses; and likewise for the love between siblings! Each Christian house would be a living carbon copy of the Sacred Family of Nazareth.


Today God does not reign in many families; selfishness, mistrust and the relaxation of the most sacred bonds reign instead. Heart of Jesus! Is this the Christian family as You want it? No. It is how the devil wants it, enemy of Your Name and of our souls. Take away then, Jesus, this lordship from Satan; recover it as Your own so as to never lose it again. Be You Yourself in the family the center and focal point of union, the norm of conduct; give the parents good example and healthy counsel; show the children obedience and docility; may all involved take great pains in the fulfillment of Your Law and in the respect towards Your Church.


O Lord! Be the true Father of families, of all the ones here on this earth, so that together they may form with You, one day, the most blissful family of Heaven.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 22 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR THE CHRISTIAN EDUCATION OF BOYS AND GIRLS


I

Boys and girls are the early flowers in the garden of Christ and a predilect portion of His most loving Heart. Jesus Christ in His mortal life manifested for children a singular preference. A passage in the Holy Gospel shows to us the Saviour beckoning those tender young ones to His flock, and bestowing upon them sweet warm receptions, recommending them to the care and solicitude of the Apostles. The Church, inheritress of the Divine Teacher, shows herself as zealous in carrying out this maternal predilection.


Yet the enemy also shows decisive determination in taking control of those hearts; the world moreover seconds his intentions, and many parents favor both of these robbing these souls from God in a most horrible manner. The most dreadful symptom of these our times is the corruption of childhood! Let us plead then, today, for all the children, to the Sacred Heart.


Save, O good Jesus, from the pestilence of the century these poor souls, barely emergent from the waters of Your Baptism, and already muddied, perhaps by the blind current of corruption; conserve in their hearts the complete possession that You had of them when through that most Holy Sacrament you redeemed them from the claws of Satan. Look, Divine Jesus, how today the most beautiful flowers in Your garden are deteriorated and broken!


O sweet Jesus, kind friend of boys and girls! We ask You today with much pain for these jewels which the devil endeavors to steal from Your Heart.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

Who is not saddened by seeing so many tender souls be distant from God, they who should be the beautiful garment and most prized hope of Catholicism! Some immersed in the darkness of the infidelity of non-Christian countries, others delivered to a perverse education in impious schools, others witnessing each day corrupting examples from the same ones who, for the sake of their well being, should be their mirror and their light. How many of these boys and girls already take with them to their First Communion a soul already stupefied by vice! How many, once they have gone through the act of possessing in themselves the Child of God, eject Him immediately from their heart so as to instead raise up the throne of His enemy?! And how many will then remain under the power of this enemy the greater part of their life, and how many more will remain so, eternally?!


O sweet Heart of Jesus! These victims of infernal astuteness well deserve the most fervent pleas from Your devout. We thus plead that you make this favored crop which tomorrow will be Your harvest, Your own. Free them from the bonds that tie them down; from false teachers, from bad parents, from perverse lectures and distractions; from friends of perdition. May You be the Custodian of their candor, the guide for their steps, the sweet object of their first affections; attract them and enamor them, conquer them with the sweetest influx of Your love, imprint in them the seal of Your perpetual dominion, and may all this be complete in them during their entire lives, beyond their death, and everlasting for all eternity.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 23 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR THE INCREDULOUS AND THE BAD CHRISTIANS


I

There are brothers and sisters, created like us by God, redeemed like us by the Precious Blood, destined like us for the eternal Kingdom, who nevertheless are obstinate and close their eyes to the light of truth and remain separate from the faith, in a blind and voluntary paganism. These are the incredulous. How many of these there are in our Christian society! How many of our friends and aquaintances, and maybe even parents, do not have God and His Law in their lives, nor do they have any knowledge of His major Mysteries, almost like an uncivilized person from the jungle that knows nothing of the Cross! Let us plead then, today, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the remedy of this painful state for so many souls.


O Jesus, Our Lord! How can it be that, twenty centuries after your coming there are still people who do not know You? Open, Lord, the eyes of those with blind souls. You who illuminated so many in body during Your mortal life; we will tell You like that blind one in the Gospel did: "Lord, may they see!" May they see, may they feel, may they enjoy the truth of Your Law, the tenderness of Your love, the efficacy of Your Sacraments! May these poor souls know You, O good Jesus, those who think they can be saved by merely living in wordly honor, considering that You will not recognize this way of life as worthy of Heaven in your judgment. Lord, rip apart the dense fog that envelops so many of our brothers and sisters, and which impedes them from seeing the awful abyss of eternity that they have open under their feet. Mercy for them, most pious Jesus! Accept for them, Sacred Heart, the humble pleadings of our exhausted and submissive hearts.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

Aside from the incredulous we have the bad Christians; this is to say, those who do truly believe, but do not practice; they have faith - and they do not want to stop being called Catholics - but they have bad habits and sometimes commit criminal actions. What good will their belief be if they do not endeavor to have a conduct that is coherent with such belief? It will only give them a greater accountability before the tribunal of God.


We ask You also, most Sacred Heart of Jesus, for these bad Christians whose culpable and vicious life dishonors Your Law and gives open invitation for your enemies to mock and ridicule You - aside from the fact that it all amounts to mortal scandal for the gullible. O indignant ingratitude! They believe in You, Lord, but they do not serve you; they admit Your Law, but they step all over it and affront it; they fear hell, but they do nothing to not fall into it.


Lord! Awaken with the clamor of Your words of warning all those who sleep! Clean them from the stains of their bad actions - those who have leprosy of the soul! Touch with Your inspiration those who, like Lazarus, already smell bad from the corruption of their vices!


Make Your power and mercy shine over all of us, so that we can be beacons of sanctity and insignias of the Church.


Sacred Heart of Jesus! For the incredulous, for the hardened sinners, we ask You today light, grace, and pardon.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 24 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR THE WORKS OF THE APOSTOLATE


I

Today we ask for all the works embarked on in our society to promote the influence of the Catholic Church and of its institutions, against the dissolving and demolitionary actions of so many diverse mediums intent on de-catholicizing the world.


All the ecclesiastical ministries belong to the general concept of the opus of the Apostolate. However, in a very particular way we can distinguish with this name the works that are conducted under the Church by the laity. The societies of charity, the schools and workshops, the Christian newspapers and books, the Academies of Catholic Youth, plus the associations of Catholics and all those who with one name or another, are intent on repairing the havoc of our times, the remoralizing of the people, the protection of the poor; or simply put, the merely practical exercises of society without any human respect for Religion: all that today constitutes a diversity of organizations and means a marvellous unity of thought, towards the great army of the lay Apostolate.


Let us pray then, today, for this urgent need of our present age. Let us pray for those our brothers and sisters that untiredly fight in these fields of engagement. Let us pray that God sustain their strengths, increase their faith, give outreach to their words, free them from vacillation and discouragement when hard times befall them; that He crown them with consolations here on earth and with glory in Heaven as a reward for their combats.


O Sacred Heart! You are the Chief of that spiritual and generous militia. You are the Name of its shield and the motto of its banner. Make them One Heart with You and One Soul, valiant, dignified of everything from the holy cause that they defend and of the celestial recompense that they await.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

How glorious is that believing army that, from one end of the world to another, fights without rest for the name of Christ, mixed, although not confused with, another army - one of error and corruption that follows the banner of the enemy! What great combats are unleashed at all hours between one and the other, through the means of the army of charity, of the pen, of words, of the sincere example, so full of effort! How gratifying it must be for God to see surrounding His Church those people of all ages, men and women, young and old, that labor in these magnificent Catholic works!


Let us plead to the Sacred Heart that our hearts beat with all the divine heartbeats of the Heart of Jesus! May no other desire move us but to achieve His greater glory and the salvation of souls! May the vain fire of erring doctrines not deceive us to diminish the saintly intransigence of the Catholic dogma!


O Heart of Jesus! Let us come to warm our souls in You, forge of infinite love; may we be formed in it, ardently on fire with Your zeal and Your most ardent charity! You came to bring fire to the earth; what do you Want, if not to make this fire come alive in us without ceasing? Enliven it, Lord, first in our hearts that are already Yours, and then serve Yourself with them for the grandiose enterprises of your Holy Religion.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 25 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR THE DYING


I

Thousands of souls pass each day in this world into eternity. Consequently, thousands of people are at all hours of the day in painful agony. What is agony? It consists of the last instants given to a soul before it is presented before the Divine Tribunal. It consists of the final battles between the grace of God and the suggestions of the devil, in a heart that has been the battleground betweeen these two opposing forces for its entire life. It is the precious last moments from where one can either enter into eternal joy, or into a most unfortunate and sad eternal state. With each step, as the body's strength fades; the chest lacks breath; the eyes, light; and one's members lose heat and movement, the soul gets closer to that place from which it cannot ever go back.


This is to agonize; this is to die. And thousands of our brothers and sisters are each day, at this very precise instant, undergoing this difficult moment! Let us plead for them today and every day to the Sacred Heart of Jesus!


O Divine Heart, which agonized in the orchard and on Calvary! Be light and consolation for these our brothers and sisters in their painful agony. Look kindly upon these souls deprived of all human solace, hanging between the Heaven they desire and the hell they fear, placed inbetween the time that is fleeting and the eternity that is coming upon them, who do not have any longer anyone else to turn to, except, for You.


Agonizing Heart of our Divine Savior! Be the warm-hearted balm for these our brothers and sisters in their most anguishing final state!


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

One day we will be the ones that will find ourselves in dying agony. What we have many times seen in others will also happen to us and we will see our own friends saddened. They will say that the end has come for us, the hour to abandon this world, a world which perhaps we have given too much of our poor hearts to.


Heart of Jesus! When I lack everything, and all flees from me, and everyone abandons me, You will not leave me. O my sweet Friend! From You I wait for the best consolation that will fortify my grieved spirit and will calm my agitation and worry. From You I await, by means of the Sacred Sacraments, for the final embrace of Divine peace and reconciliation.


Nevertheless, thousands of our brothers and sisters find themselves in these final sorrows, and I beg you for their succour. While I eat, rest, work, pray or am entertained, these souls find themselves hanging onto the outcomes of their eternal luck, in their last decisive combat. O beloved Heart of Jesus! For those three most bitter hours in the deathbed of the Cross, Heaven and earth saw you agonizing, dying; succour all those in their own deathbeds: the Children of Your Most Sacred Heart.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 26 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN PURGATORY


I

The Church of God has needy children even outside of this world, and also has relief for their needs in the next life. Between the combats of the present life and the final rest of Glory, there are for many souls a period of expiation for sins not yet purged, or for the payment of debts not yet satisfied. This period of expiation, granted by Divine Mercy and required by Its Justice, is Purgatory.


The good devout follower of the Sacred Heart of Jesus cannot be anything less than a good friend of Purgatory. There one finds souls that were most fervent, who prayed at the foot of the same altars as we did, who smiled with the same Christian joys and wept with identical sorrows. They love God, they desire Him, they have secure possession of Him. Yet their ultimate joy is delayed until the payment of their debts is complete. For their suffrage, God admits our prayers and good works. Who would deny these for them?


O Sacred Heart! Make my own heart feel a tender affection, a vivid interest for the relief of these kindred souls of mine, who no longer cannot do anything for themselves and they wait for everything from our own charity for them. Pour over their sorrows and sufferings the treasures of Your Heart, and hasten the sweet moment of reuniting them eternally with You.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

Great is the charity towards the souls in Purgatory. All the great saints have been very fervent on this point. The Church gives us an example by mingling in all its prayers and ceremonies the pious remembrance of those who have died.


The communication of our hearts with these brothers and sisters of ours is very sweet, by means of prayer! It is a most mysterious bond, which allows us to have friends beyond the grave, and distances from us the idea of a total separation from them!


Parents, siblings, friends, benefactors! I know that you all hear me in the Heart of Jesus and that through Him you receive and appreciate my affectionate remembrance!


O Sacred Heart, most tender intermediary of these beautiful confidences! Give these souls the peace that Your friends on earth ask for them, with the end that one day we will all be reunited in the infallable sweetness of Heaven! Accept for this cause our prayers, our alms, our Communion, our mortifications, our devotion to You. Because we know that these souls are dear to you, we recommend them to Your compassion. The merits of Your life, Passion and death; the tears of Your Mother; the virtues of Your saints; all the services of Your Church; all this we offer You in payment of their debts, so that You kindheartedly apply them for their redemption.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 27 - WE ASK THE SACRED HEART FOR THE INCREASE OF THIS DEVOTION IN US AND IN ALL THE WORLD


I

Could we somehow forget this plea among the many others we have just finished directing, all these days, for the most Sacred Heart of Jesus? Could we stop being vividly interested in His presence, so that in us and the whole world this Devotion becomes more and more ardent with each passing day? With this Devotion we work in favor of all people, and for their eternal salvation, through what is the most fecund apostolate.


Look how the worldly work hard to propagate their ideas; look how they suffer to achieve what they pursue and how they expose themselves to diverse setbacks. What could we do to extend ourselves even further for the love of Jesus? What have we done until now? What do we propose to do, moving forward? What goals do we think of realizing in our surroundings, with our own friends or family, or at least within ourselves?


O good Jesus! Would I want so much to extend to the whole world and make known to all people the riches of Your Heart; yet, because my strengths cannot match what is required by this enormous apostolate, I plead to You my Jesus, that You be the one who makes known to all Your Sacred Heart so that each day the number of those who love You and serve You may grow. May I be one of them, King of Souls; make me a faithful disciple and a fervent friend of Your Sacred Heart.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

Enormous graces we can be sure to receive from the Sacred Heart for dedicating ourselves to propagate this devotion amongst our brothers and sisters, and to also augment it within us. Let us hear the words the Savior revealed to Saint Marguerite: To those who work in extending the devotion to my Sacred Heart, I will give them the abundant graces needed for their state in life; I will give peace in their families; I will console them in their sorrows; I will be their refuge in life and in death; I will bless their Christian enterprises. To the Religious that work for the conversion of sinners I will give them the strength with which to soften and move the most hardened hearts. Full of blessings will be the homes where my image is exposed. Those who dedicate themselves to make known the worship to Me, will have their name written in My Heart, and I will never blot their names out."


O Sacred Heart, to whom we have attentively resorted to celebrate each day of this devout month! May in us and in your friends these promises be fulfilled! You have us fully here to renew the purpose of eternal happiness and constancy in Your service and in the apostolate of Your Heart. Reign in us and in our homes, towns and cities; preside over all our projects, animate all of our thoughts, which may all be focused into one only goal: that of promoting without rest Your Glory.


O sweet Jesus! Blissful is the one who lives like this, in You, and who in You, dies! May Your Heart be always our treasure in life as well as for all eternity, where all together we will praise you, enjoy and possess you for ever. Amen.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 28 - WE GIVE THANKS TO THE SACRED HEART FOR THE BENEFITS RECEIVED IN THE ORDER OF NATURE


I

We will dedicate these last days of June for our thanksgiving. There is nothing more dignified coming from a noble heart than the appreciation for benefits received, and unfortunately nothing more forgotten for the common lot of Christians.


Let us focus today solely on what we owe God in the order of nature (the natural order). This existence I have is one of His gifts, plus the thousands of means which, with His goodness, He conserves me every day and embellishes me. The light that illuminates me, the bread that sustains me, the water that satiates my thirst, the sleep that repairs my strength, the entire creation that surrounds me, all of this has been placed at my disposal so that it serve me, reward me and help me in the attainment of my goals. 


If dawn and dusk take place, if the seasons change, if the earth yields its harvests, if the sun shines in the firmament, if the sea has fishes and the earth has beasts, and birds the air; if in all reigns the most admirable order and providence, for me He made it, for Me he ordered this all in an admirable ensemble.


Is there a heart capable of singing to the Supreme Maker the hymn owed in thanksgiving for such grand marvels? Yes there is. In the Sacred Heart of Jesus man has a sure medium with which to express his or her gratitude. O Supreme Imparter of all good! What our tongue is incapable of expressing to You, what our heart is too small to feel what it ought to, for us, and on our behalf, the Sacred Heart of Jesus sings it eternally and satisfies You with infinite love and praises! In Him, then, and by Him, and with Him we will be eternally recognized. Look, Heavenly Father, the Heart of Your Son, and see in Him the satisfaction for all Your good things.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

The benefits of God have not just been made for us once; instead, they follow us, they surround us, they accompany us like a luminous atmosphere of love in all the moments of our life. The sun of each day shines brilliantly on the horizon, from which shines continuously upon me the ineffable goodness of God. Even in the evils that in His adorable design His Providence allows over the earth, I find motives for thanksgiving. Because even setting aside the ultimate good, which is the end that everything is infallibly ordered for; if, due to those evils, I unite myself, as is proper, to the designs of His sovereign will, how much peace and consolation will His hand extend over me during any of my tribulations? Haven't I proven many times the truth of that expression that says that God the Father never shows Himself more than when something afflicts us? And even without this in mind, isn't it true that just the mere consideration of the many wrongs from which He has freed me every day with His goodness, demands from me a constant and amorous acknowledgment? The sickness I do not have; the persecution I do not suffer; the lack that does not mortify me: all these are negative benefits so to speak; but, are they then to be appreciated any less? Who but God has extended like a shield His hand over me to free me from so many anguishes that may afflict my brothers and sisters?


O Sacred Heart, I thank you for such inestimable benefits, so that You may be for me my Intercessor before the Heavenly Father, presenting to Him my most affectionate appreciation. May my gratitude pass through You and in doing so, acquire in the lit fire of Your Heart the qualities that may make it worthy of being admitted by the Supreme Dispensor of all that is good.


I am like a child, my God; I say this as a Prophet; I know not how to speak of You in a way that matches the merits of Your goodness and grandeur. May they speak for me the harmonious accents of gratitude and praise that emanate eternally from the Heart of Your Son; and may they make up for my indignity and my insufficiency. Amen.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 29 - WE GIVE THANKS TO THE SACRED HEART FOR THE BENEFITS RECEIVED IN THE ORDER OF GRACE


I

If the Hand of God has shown itself prodigious with me in the natural order, it has not shown itself any less so in the order of grace, in other words, in the supernatural means He has granted for my justification and eternal salvation.


In the center of His Church He has made me to be birthed, like a beautiful garden irrigated by mighty rivers and fertilized with abundant rainfall. The Baptism with which His Church initiated me into the supernatural life; the other Sacraments with which she strengthens and sustains me; the saintly examples which for my stimulus make me continously admire all that surrounds me; the voice of her ministers; the teachings of her good Books; the secret touches with which she now awakens, or enlivens, or perhaps even resucitates my own heart: what are all these if not the actual history of the admirable benefits with which she conducts me by her hand, from the cradle to eternity?


If I consider what has been my life until now; if I stop to reflect on the causes that at any period in my life have influenced my decisions which have made me what I am today: do I not find in all my footsteps that I am the object of a tender and amorous solicitation of my good God? That word that caused me a good impression; that page in a book that touched my soul; that example that lit me up with living radiance: who made these available to me, making them seem to appear out of nowhere, in the middle of my travels, if not the admirable Providence of my God that watches over me, like a mother for the child she carries in her arms?


O Sacred Heart of Jesus! To You I owe the source of these graces without measure, which Divine Mercy has poured over my ills. They are Yours, because You have made us worthy of deserving them, and have proportioned them to us, as Yours is the path by which the affections of my poor heart are able to reach switfly the Heavenly Father.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

In the order of grace there is not a minute of my life where I do not have something to appreciate for the infinite goodness and mercy of my God. Easier would it be to count the stars in the sky on a serene night, or the drops of dew that fall at early dawn, than to count the superior illustrations of God constantly enlightening the night of my life, or the drops of dew with which He softens and fertilizes the dryness of my heart. The habitual distracted state in which I live in and the limitations of my intelligence do not allow me to probe those mysteries of God's operation in my soul, through His multiformed grace, as I would want to. Complete knowledge of His grace I will not have until I am in the light of Glory in eternity. Today I can only imperfectly follow it. Yet even so, it is enough for me to consider a small piece of it, so that its incommeasurable riches, its magnificent variety, and its powerful efficacy, touch me. The attentive study at the same time of myself encountering and overcoming just one of my temptations which I have happily resisted, would give me enough to offer incessant praise to God. And there are so many temptations during the days, months, years, in life itself; so many are the crisis passed towards my eternal salvation; crisis that have come to be resolved in my favor with help that at that moment I didn't even think was possible!


Eternity itself does not seem enough for me to adequately appreciate such demonstrations of love of my good God for me. You, Sacred Heart of Jesus, can fulfill completely this sacred obligation, in my name. I choose You to pay for me my debt of recognition and gratitude. O My Jesus, take the pleas of my soul and present them to the Eternal Father in the union of the eternal hymn of thanks which, in His glory, your adorable Heart sings.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.


DAY 30 - WE GIVE THANKS TO THE SACRED HEART FOR THE BENEFITS WE HOPE AND WAIT TO RECEIVE IN GLORY


I

The mercies that the Lord dispenses here on earth to His creatures are but a pale shadow of the ineffable mercies He reserves for them in eternity. Heaven will be our perfect state, and there will the most perfect happiness will be realized, something which now man cannot imagine even in his or her most optimistic dreams. Or better said, our bliss will be such that it cannot be imagined, even in the smallest proportion. If only one drop of His consolations, spilled into our hearts, suffices for us to forget our sadness and heartbreak, what will it be like, in that bottomless sea of blessings and peace? If the Author of all that is created has wanted to leave a glimmer of His perfection and beauty in some of his creatures, who in turn through art inspired by Him they then reproduce masterworks that elevate and perfect our soul: what will it be like to be able to see, face to face, supreme Beauty and perfection, openly and without veils, which He will communicate to His elect? There health exists without the smallest risk of sickness or pain. There is found life without the painful perspective of a nearby or distant death. There is found love without tepidness nor lassitude. There is found the perpetual feast of the soul without any break in one's rejoicing. The glorious hallelujah that is sung there is not like it is here, mixed with the moans of persecution or the voices of combat. Nor does one overcome there with fatigue and sweat; instead peacefully, one reigns. To live with the most absolute meaning of the word Life; to enjoywith what the word enjoyment carries in its most pure and sweet manner; to love with the utmost fullness and reach that can ever be given to the word Love. Here is what God promises; here is what He reserves for me.


Thank you, Heart of Jesus, glory of the blessed, sun of the most blissful city of God! Thank You for those gifts that we await from You, and which by means of Your grace and our good works we are sure to come to possess.


Meditate on this for a few minutes.


II

My soul, raise your eyes to the blue heavens replete with stars at night and radiant with clarity at day. Raise them and contemplate there your motherland, the sweet home of Your Father, the Happy Mansion that in a short time will be your patrimony. This marvellous region of peace, joy and eternal blessing, with His Angels and Saints, with the Glorious Queen of them all, Mary, with Humanity resplandescent within Christ, with the august majesty of the Most Beatific Trinity. All, everything, all of this, is all for you. Broaden your heart, stretch it more than your imagination can fathom, be covetous to the limits of what your most demanding longing can aspire to. All that awaits you in Heaven will surpass your expectations and hopes; everything will push your dreams beyond their limit. This does not include perishable goods that death snatches away; or inconstant loves that age withers and absence chills; or uncertain fortune that is fickle and changes upon the most minor vicissitude. Nothing of all this, with which the world promises making you happy but which ends up making you profoundly miserable, will be your recompense. Contemplate the grandieur of your future, the magnificense of your hope. Arouse yourself in ardour to possess them, and give a thousand thanks to the Divine Heart, Who is the One that will provide them to you.


O Sacred Heart of Jesus! I do not want to wait to receive your grand gifts so as to show me being grateful. The son who knows his father will give him part of his inheritance, does not wait to give him thanks after he has received title to it. No; the Will and Testament wherein the inheritance is promised is equivalent already for the son to the title of possession. And this page You have written many times in Your Will and Testament, and in her you have mentioned me infinite times, but mere ash, as an inheriter of Your Glory. Thank you, Sovereign God! We give tribute to Your graces, here present in this day of Your devout month, and we all aspire to reunite ourselves with You in Heaven to sing the great hymn of thanksgiving, there in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit, to whom belongs all praise, all honor and all glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Meditate and ask for this particular grace.