Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Devotion to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus. 20.


Two things chiefly are comprised in this act of consecration. First, complete forgetfulness of self, i.e., giving up entirely our own interest, profit, advantage, our own glory, and our own ease. It is the penalty of original sin, from which we all suffer more or less, that we are by far too self-occupied, too self-seeking, that we think too highly of ourselves. And since by nature two strong tendencies predominate within us, our self-seeking manifests itself in a twofold direction: in the earthly, sensual pleasures we procure for ourselves, and the praise, honour, and distinction which we desire and expect from others. Therefore oblivion of self and the relinquishment of our own interest consist in the renunciation of worldly and carnal pleasures, of earthly honour, and human applause; in the mortification of sensuality and pride. B. Margaret remarks on this subject: "If Christ is to live in our heart by His grace and His love, we must die to self, to our concupiscence's, our passions, our self-indulgences, to all, in short, that belongs to our unmortified nature."

In the second place this consecration consists in living entirely for Our Lord, i.e., striving to love Him, to glorify and magnify Him to the utmost of our power and in as far as our circumstances permit. Consequently, abandoning all care of self to Him who cares for us, we must think only how to do our duty, our daily work as well as possible to the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to promote the interests of that Heart to the best of our knowledge and ability. Thus when about to under take anything we ought first to implore counsel and assistance from Our Lord, to enable us to accomplish it to His glory alone; and when our task is finished we must give Him thanks with all our heart, whether it be crowned with success or result in failure. Such is the plan of action, such the frame of mind of one who has dedicated himself entirely to the Heart of Jesus, and desires to live only for God. "It appears to me," writes B. Margaret, "that this single intention will render our actions more meritorious and more acceptable in God's sight than all that may be done without that intention."

This sublime, this generous disposition is most beautifully expressed in the well-known formula of consecration, beginning with the words: Dulcissime Jesu, fons amoris, etc., which will be found on the last page. It was com posed by Fr. Roothaan and gives, in a more concise form, Fr. de la Colombiere's lengthy act of consecration. Fully to realise this act of consecration and to carry it out practically in one's daily life supposes, as is apparent from the explanation given above, a high degree of sanctity and perfection, which, however, every one does not, by making the act, pledge him self to attain. Yet he who does not regard the act merely as the expression of a pious desire or as a prayer, but considers it to be a serious promise and solemn vow, binds himself thereby to assist in the propagation of the devotion to the Heart of Jesus. This obligation is sufficiently fulfilled if the act of consecration is not revoked or the purpose of spreading the devotion abandoned, and some interior acts in honour of the Heart of Jesus are awakened in the course of the year. Those who promote the aforesaid end by exterior acts, by their prayers, by their writings, by distributing pictures of the Sacred Heart, or by exhorting others to adopt the devotion, preaching on the subject, etc., do more than enough to fulfil the obligation they took upon themselves. The same applies to acts of consecration to the Blessed Virgin. Yet it is advisable, for the sake of avoiding scruples of conscience, to consult one's confessor on the subject and ask his opinion. In order to share more abundantly in the blessings attached to this consecration, it may be renewed on the first Friday of every month, and particularly on the feasts of the Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Conception.