Spiritual Exercises on Mercy. Consecrate yourself, reflect on Mercy, forgive, be kind, and be healed!
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The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and asked to be consoled, for His Heart plunges into deep sorrow because of humanity’s ingratitude and coldness to His burning Love. He has asked us to set apart “a special feast to honor my heart.” In response, the Church has designated the month of June for this occasion.

This year, the novena to the Sacred Heart begins on Thursday, June 7th and ends on Friday, June 15th, the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Let’s remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI, in  2008, as he urged all Catholics to renew their  devotion to Jesus’ Heart during this month of  June. To offer our devotion to Jesus’ Heart is nothing more than to invest our focus and become increasingly aware of Christ’s Love for us. Jesus’ words to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque can still touch us and give peace to our desperate search for love and acceptance. Jesus says: “Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love.”

So let’s pause and ask ourselves: Am I really loved to the extent that Jesus claims to love me? If the answer to this question doesn’t come   easily, I propose the following spiritual exercise. I ask you to call to memory a person or persons by whom you have felt loved. Then, let’s remind ourselves that these special people in our lives are “loving” us through their humanity: their hands, their gestures, their heart. Let us now recall that Jesus, the Son of God, did indeed become human and can love us just as much as others do.  Jesus “worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart – He loved.”  (CCC #470; GS 22 § 2) Now, although Jesus’ heart is human, He loves you with a divine intensity, an unconditional, faithful, free, fully invested presence and spirit. Can you see this?

We are His beloved! It was on the feast of St. John the evangelist, the beloved disciple, that Jesus appeared for the first time (Dec 27, 1673) to St. Margaret Mary. She was praying in front of the Blessed       Sacrament, she writes in her autobiography, when she began to feel overcome by a divine presence. She defines the feeling as being “wholly penetrated” to the point that she lost awareness of herself and her surroundings.  Jesus appeared and exclaimed that His Sacred Heart is so  inflamed with Love (for you) that He cannot contain the flames of charity from within.  Next, He asked Margaret Mary for her heart which she “begged Him to take.” And the unthinkable happened! Margaret Mary saw Jesus placing her heart in “His own Adorable Heart” and her heart began to be “consumed in this great furnace.” Jesus then withdrew it and Margaret Mary could see her heart and Jesus’ heart united in the form of “a burning flame.”

Jesus said, “my well-beloved, I give you a precious token of My love,having enclosed within your side a  little spark of its glowing flames, that it may serve you for a heart and consume you to the last moment of your life; its ardor will never be exhausted, and you will be able to find some slight relief only by bleeding. Even this remedy I shall so mark with My Cross, that it will bring you more humiliation and suffering than alleviation. Therefore, I will that you ask for it with simplicity, both that you may practice what is ordered you and also to give you the consolation of shedding your blood on the cross of humiliations. As a proof that the great favor I have done to you is not imagination, and that it is the foundation of all those which I intend further to confer upon you, although I have closed the wound in your side, the pain will always remain. If before, you have taken only the name of My slave, I now give you that of the beloved disciple of My Sacred Heart.”

St. Margaret Mary explains that His favor “lasted for a long time, during which I knew not whether I was in
heaven or on earth, I remained for several days, as it were, on fire and inebriated (with divine love) and so
completely out of myself, that I had to do myself violence in order to utter a single word. The effort I had to
make in order to join in recreation or to take food was so great that it was all I could do to overcome myself,
which was a cause of considerable humiliation to me. I was not able to sleep,because of the pain of the
wound, which is so precious to me; it produces such heat within me that it burns and consumes
me alive. I also felt such a plentitude of God, that I could not explain myself to my Superioress, as I should
have wished, regardless of any suffering and confusion which the recital of these favors might cause me.
I would rather have accused myself of my sins before the whole world than speak of these graces on
account of my extreme unworthiness. It would have been a great consolation to me had I been permitted
to read aloud my general confession in the refectory,in order thereby to make known the depth of
corruption which is in me, so that none of the favors I received might be attributed to me.”

(http://www.ewtn.com/library/christ/firstfri.txt)

Today, this Love is available to us. We are able to experience this very overwhelming experience which Margaret Mary felt by opening ourselves up to God’s daily graces. Times of solitude, reading the bible, gratitude and praise, and acts of Mercy are effective means to grow in closer union with God.  This is what we strive for at The John Paul II Center. Even through our imperfections, we work to be the hands, the feet, and the heart of Jesus as we attend to those whom God has sent to our doors. We understand that one of the main issues in our modern world is that we have simply lost knowledge of what love is and what love looks like.  Today, I encourage you to follow a merciful approach to life and love and forgive those who God has brought into your life. Always strive to become increasingly aware of their precious dignity as the images and children of God that they are. Being merciful in this way will in turn place us in a more intimate communion with our Savior and help us to understand the treasures hidden in Our Savior’s heart, His radical love for you and I.

Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

I. O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you,ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of……(here name your request)
Our Father…Hail Mary….Glory Be To the Father….Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: ”Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of……. (here name your request)
Our Father…Hail Mary….Glory Be To the Father….Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.” Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of….. (here name your request)
Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory Be to the Father…Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

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