HEART OF JESUS – A LIFEBUOY FOR THE WORLD
Fr. MAREK ŁUCZAK
Among promises given by Lord Jesus in relation to the cult of the Holiest Heart sounds unusually tempting: if we practice nine first Fridays of months, we will not die without sacraments and without Christ’s grace
Lord Jesus said: ‘My Divine Heart burns with love to people so much that it is impossible to keep these flames blazing, closed in My womb. It wants to pour it through my intercession and wants to enrich people with its Divine treasures’. These words are addressed to St. Margaret Maria Alacoque in the Cistercian monastery in Paray-le-Monial during the first revelation in 1673.
A ladder to the Heaven
Nearly a year later Lord Jesus reappeared to the French nun. This time, he gave the Pupil of His Heart very particular promises, which may be help for the contemporary world. It can be said that they are a ladder between the hell and the heaven, a lifeline for some people. ‘This divine service – as St. Margaret writes – is the last effort of His love and will be the only help for people in the recent years’.
In the same year 1674 the third of great revelations took place. During the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Lord Jesus appeared to Margaret, ‘in His bright glory, with stigmas of five wounds, shining like the sun’. Jesus uncovered his breast again and showed his Heart in full brightness. He insisted thatreligious souls expressed their expiation to His Heart, hurt by sins and human ingratitude towards His Heart and His love expressed to the humankind. He demanded from the Saint nun, an adoration in the spirit of this convent every night, which would last for an hour before the first Friday of every month, the ‘holy hour’, and also the Holy Communion on the first Fridays, which would be devoted to expiation to the Divine Heart for sins and human indifference.
Finally, on Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi – on 10 June 1675 there was the last great revelation. When Margaret was kneeling during the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Christ appeared to her, showed her his heart and said: “Here is Heart which loves people so much that it had not saved anything till it was completely destroyed for showing them love, but in return it gets only bitter ingratitude, contempt, disrespect, neglect, indifference and sacrilege from people, who express them to Jesus in this Sacrament of Love. But what is the most painful to me, is the fact that hearts especially devoted to ministry to me are behaving towards me in the similar way. Therefore I insist that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi has been sacrificed as a separate feast to worship My Heart from now and for anexpiation to Me through communion and other religious practices, for sacrileges which I experience. In return, I promise that my Heart will pour out abundant graces onto all these people who will pay a tribute to It in this way and will contribute to spread the worship’.
Insurance of Lord Jesus
All in all, during the revelations, in which St. Margaret Maria Alocoque participated, Lord Jesus made 12 promises. Some of them concerned daily matters, which the Redeemer promised to bless. Others concerned spiritual, and even psychic condition, because they were to be based on comforting the distraught or pouring peace into anxious hearts. A special blessing can be given to people who are spreading the cult of the Divine Heart, and priests who worship this Heart, will receive a gift of influencing on even the hardest hearts. However, the last, twelfth promise sounds the most promising for the contemporary world: ‘In the abundance of mercifulness of My Heart, I promise those all who will attend communion on the first Fridays of months, for nine months in the intention of expiation, that My Love will give a grace of repentance, that they will not die in My disgrace, or without holy sacraments, and My Heart will be a kind of a rescue for them in the last hour of their life’.
Month of May means the so-called white weeks. In churches, for seven days, every day, there are children wearing communion clothes, in order to participate the Holy Mass. Unfortunately, in practice our daily parish life shows that, as concerns the nine first Fridays of months, the promises of Lord Jesus seem to reach effectively only to children of thefirst communion. These are the children who stand in long queues to confessionals, and they participate in the Holy Masses piously later, and receive the Holy Communion. It is worth asking about the presence of adults on this day, if the promises referring to the personal salvation of each of us, were articulated by the very Jesus.
Besides the practices of the nine first Fridays of months, the Church suggests a few remaining practices, in relation to the cult of the Blessed Heart of Lord Jesus. Surely, one of the most popular form is singing the Litanies, which come from the XVII century. The present one comes from the XIX century. Its beginning took place in the monastery of French Visitation Nuns. It was approved to public recitation by pope Leon XIII on 2 April 1889. He also added an act of devotion of the humankind to the Blessed Heart of Jesus to the litany. Pope Pius XI added an act of expiation to the Heart of Jesus, who ordered to recite it every year on the feast of the Blessed Heart of Lord Jesus.
One of the greatest worshippers of the Heart of Jesus in the contemporary times was, undoubtedly, John Paul II. He expressed it not only through giving many homilies or writing documents about this cult. The greatest evidence of the Pope’s love to the Heart of Jesus was his personal attitude to Divine Service of June. We remember very well papal pilgrimages to homeland, during which there was always Eucharist among great celebrations, but there were also Divine Services of June. Witnesses of unofficial meetings with John Paul II in Vatican, in his papal residence, say that is their visit took place in June, they had to get prepared for participation in the common singing the Litany to the Heart of Jesus. The Pope, sang every invocation with great solicitude, and he knew the whole Litany by heart.
JOHN PAUL II: TO THE MODEL OF HIS HEART
The contemplation of the Heart of Jesus in Eucharist will encourage believers to search for an unfathomable mystery of priesthood of Christ and priesthood of the Church in this Heart. In the communion with brothers, it will allow them to feel love taken out from the very source. Helping each of them in discovering the sense of their baptism, it will help them become more aware of the apostolic dimension of their life, which should be realised through spreading love and through evangelical mission. Everyone will join the prayer to Lord of harvest (see Mt 9.38), in order to give the Church ‘pastors according to His Heart’ (see Jeremiah 3.15), being in love with Christ the Good Pastor, and who will form their hearts to the model of His Heart and will be ready to take the roads of the world, in order to proclaim the news to everybody that He is a Road, Truth and Life (see ‘Pastoresdabovobis’, 82). A particular activity should be connected with it, whose aim is to help young people, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, be able to respond to great expectations of the Church and humankind in their hearts, thanks to the suitable formation, and be able to undertake the calling of Christ to devote oneself together with Him, in enthusiasm and joy, ‘for the life of the world’(J6.51).
John Paul II, from the homily on the feast of the Blessed Heart of Lord Jesus, given in 1999.
BENEDICT XVI: FULL OF THE GOOD AND LOVE
These days, the Church is celebrating the feast of the Blessed Heart of Jesus and reminiscence of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady. I wish all Poles learning from the Divine Heart of Jesus, which is full of the good and love, to be sensitive to the needs of another man, especially a weak man, afflicted with suffering. Let Poles receive strength to build mutual relationships in their families and communities of work from this Heart which is the king and unification of all hearts. I bless you with all my heart.
Benedict XVI to Poles, 17 June 2012.