Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in this Sacrament of love… I come into the heart I have given you in order that through your fervor you may atone for the offenses which I have received from lukewarm and slothful hearts that dishonor me in the Blessed Sacrament.
"Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth."
from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque's vision of Jesus
The sacred heart of Christ is an inexhaustible fountain and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to his good pleasure. From this divine heart three streams flow endlessly.
The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; it pours into their hearts sentiments of contrition and repentance. The second is the stream of charity which helps all in need and especially aids those seeking perfection in order to find the means of surmounting their difficulties. From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of his friends who have attained perfection; these he wishes to unit to himself so that they may share his knowledge and commandments and, in their individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing his glory.
This divine heart is an abyss filled with all blessings, and into the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss of love to meet our every need.
Are you making no progress in prayer? The you need only offer God the prayers which the Savior has poured out for us in the sacrament of the altar. Offer God his fervent love in reparation for your sluggishness. In the course of every activity pray as follows: "My God, I do this or I endure that in the heart of your Son and according to his holy counsels. I offer it to you in reparation for anything blameworthy or imperfect in my actions."
Continue to do this in every circumstance of life. But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him. (from a letter by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque)
- The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary for those devoted to His Sacred Heart:
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will establish peace in their families.
- I will console them in all their troubles.
- They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
- I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
- Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
- Tepid souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
- I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
- I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
- Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
- The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.
A Meditation from St. Peter Julian Eymard:
HOW is it that our Lord is so little loved in the Eucharist?
One reason is that we do not speak enough of it and that we insist only on faith in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament instead of speaking about His life and His love therein, instead of calling attention to the sacrifices which His love imposes upon Him, in a word, instead of showing Jesus Eucharistic with the personal and special love He has for each one of us.
Another reason is our behavior, which denotes little love in us. From the way we pray, adore, and visit Him, no one would suspect the presence of Jesus Christ in our churches.
How many among the best Catholics never pay a visit of devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament to speak with Him from the heart, to tell Him their love I They do not love our Lord in the Eucharist because they do not know Him well enough. But if in spite of knowing Him and His love and the sacrifices and desires of His Heart, they still do not love Him, what an insult!
Yes, an insult!
For it amounts to telling Jesus Christ that He is not beautiful enough, not good enough, not lovable enough to be preferred to what they love.
After having received so many graces from this good Savior, made so many promises to love Him, and offered themselves so often to His service, such a treatment of Him is a mockery of His love.
For if they do not want to know Him too well, to see Him at close quarters, to receive Him, to have a heart-to-heart talk with Him, the reason is they are afraid of being caught by His love. They fear being unable to resist His kindness; they fear being obliged to give in, to sacrifice their heart unreservedly, and their mind and life unconditionally.
They are afraid of the love of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and they avoid Him. They are disturbed in His presence; they are afraid of yielding. Like Pilate and Herod, they avoid His presence.
On a personal note: When I read of the 12 promises to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
on the First Friday devotion back in 1995, the promise that struck me the most was number 7 for I knew I was a tepid and lukewarm soul but I did not wish to remain that way! So I began the 9 First Fridays. And at month 7, I forgot to go to Holy Mass. So I started over.
And the second attempt was successful! But other things came into place in all those months: I began to relearn and to pray the Rosary. I started with a decade a day the first month and then two decades a day the second month and so forth until I was praying a Rosary daily. That brought even more graces as Our Blessed Lady took me in hand. By the end of my successful Nine First Fridays, I was a daily communicant and had fallen in love with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. My life has never been the same.
Needless to say, I heartily recommend the Nine First Friday devotion to everyone who wishes to intensify their spiritual life.