Feast in Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

 

sacred-heart

O Sacred Heart! Pastel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Kim Buck.

 

In the traditional liturgy, last week’s gospel reading on the Feast of Corpus Christi, featured these words spoken by Jesus to the Jews.

“My flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him [taken from St. John vi. 56-57].”

And in the Epistle from the same feast, St. Paul implores to the Corinthians:

“Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink of the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord[I Cor. xi. 27].”

And in the pre-Vatican II time when there was still an Octave of Corpus Christi,  this same Mass, reiterating these very same words, was celebrated on all eight days of the Octave.

And it was during this same Octave of Corpus Christi in 1675, that Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, in a small French town in Burgundy, called Paray-le-Monial. There, He called for a special feast in honour of His Sacred Heart. And He brought with His request a specific intention. In part, here is what He said …

“Behold this Heart, Which has loved men so much, that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify to them Its love; and in return I receive from the greater number nothing but ingratitude by reason of their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt which they show Me in this Sacrament of Love …

Therefore I ask of thee that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special feast to honour My Heart, by communicating on that day and making reparation to It by a solemn act, in order to make amends for the indignities which It has received during the time It has been exposed on the altars.

I promise that my Heart will expand to pour out in abundance the treasures of divine love on those who render It this honour.”

Thus, Our Lord Himself has asked that on this Feast, we both receive Holy Communion and make reparation to His Heart, present in the Blessed Sacrament, by a solemn act.

In other words, this is a Communion of Reparation. It is therefore imperative that we spend some time in preparation – in prayer, by confessing, in reverence before the Blessed Sacrament. Or, perhaps in contemplation of this august gift of Our Lord’s very own Body and Blood, and how we can return His immeasurable love.

And as we do so, it is important to reflect upon the sins committed against Our Lord in His Blessed Sacrament – our own sins and those of others – for instance, unworthy communions, lack of respect, indifference, mocking etc.

As St. Paul stresses, we must worthily receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord. Whilst this is always important, it is particularly so on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. To not do so would be a mockery itself.

And to help us open our hearts and enliven our love towards the Blessed Sacrament, we could do well to turn to these beautiful words written by Dom Marmion in the form of a dialogue between Jesus and ourselves, regarding what He gives us in Holy Communion. Dom Marmion writes:

“[The Lord] says to us … “Open thy soul … and I will fill it.”

[We say], “with what, Lord?”

[The Lord replies], “with Myself. I will give Myself to thee entirely, with My Humanity, and My Divinity, with the fruit of My mysteries, the merit of My labours, the satisfaction of My sufferings, and the price of My Passion.

I will come to thee as heretofore I came on the earth in order to destroy the works of the devil; I will offer with thee Divine homage to My Father; I will give thee a share in the treasures of My Divinity, in the eternal life I hold from My Father and which My Father wills Me to communicate to thee that thou mayest resemble Me.

I will fill thee with My grace so as Myself to become thy wisdom, thy sanctification, thy way, thy truth, thy life.

Thou shalt be another Myself, the object, like Me, and because of Me, of My Father’s delight. Open thy soul and I will fill it [Christ the Life of the Soul, p. 298].”

Oh, how much the Lord loves us and how little we love Him! But Dom Marmion’s words allow us to see how through the gift of the Holy Eucharist we are able to love Jesus in return. For He then abides inus and we in Him, enabling us to love as He does.

Now, personally all this puts me in mind of something else – something of tremendous importance for my entire life. For there is a place I know well, where one may palpably experience this love Jesus has for us and the love we can render Him in return.

It is that very place in France, where Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, requesting this Feast in 1675. There, I will testify, one is able to experience in some way the love and beauty of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And I am far from alone in stating this. Several people I have met say the very same thing.

For my husband Roger and I have had the grace of visiting Paray-le-Monial many, many times. And it has transformed our lives. The depths of prayer one can reach beside the relics of St. Margaret Mary in the chapel of the Apparitions and by those of St. Claude La Colombiere in the Jesuit chapel dedicated to him, is beyond words.

But moreover, it is as though there is an aura around the whole town of Paray, where, as an old lady we met once said, it is as though one can feel the Heart of Jesus beating there.

Now, all of this Roger recently spoke about in a video he made for his new YouTube channel (here). There he is speaking very much of the mysteries of Paray-le-Monial and how it transformed both our lives. It is also features photos, taken by me and others, of from this extraordinary French cité of the Sacred Heart.

I leave you with that video below and I wish you a holy and blessed feast. O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Burning Furnace of Charity, have mercy on us.

 

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