BY THE REV. H. NOLDIN, S.J.
AUTHORISED TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN.
REVISED BY THE REV. W. H. KENT, O.S.C
V. MOTIVES FOR THE PRACTICE OF THIS DEVOTION.
THERE are still many individuals, and among them priests, who cannot take kindly to this devotion. Although it shines as brightly as the sun at midday, warming the Church with its genial beams, they yet hold aloof from its beneficent influence. What can be the objection which deters them from embracing it, from practising it lovingly and fervently? One would have thought nothing more could be needed than to place it before a loyal Christian in its true light, in order to attract him to it and inspire him with enthusiasm for it.
In fact the history of its rise and extension bears such unmistakable signs of the divine influence and divine operation that no one can fail to recognise it as the work, the ordinance of the Most High; and the blessings it diffuses on all sides are so great, so wondrous, that it must be reckoned among those of the Church's devotions to which God vouchsafes to attach the richest rewards.
The object of this devotion is the most grand, the most holy, the most sublime, and at the same time the most beautiful and attractive that the heart of man can conceive; it is Our Lord's all-merciful love, the love which was the motive, the mainspring of the work of redemption, of all the mysteries of His life, His Passion, and His death; the source of all the gifts and graces bestowed upon poor, sinful mortals; and which is presented to our view under a symbol most worthy of our adoration and reverence, His most Sacred Heart. If the name of Jesus exercises so powerful, so irresistible an influence on the heart of the devout Christian that St. Bernard could say there was no sweeter, more delightful sound than the name of Jesus; if the martyrs were inspired with courage and fortitude to endure a cruel death by the invocation of that holy name, will not the Heart of Jesus, which illumines all the mysteries of Our Lord with the bright light of His love, and exhibits them thus to the soul, produce an effect at any rate as powerful?
The exercises of this devotion are the highest, most exalted acts of virtue and worship: faith, adoration, confidence, love, thanksgiving, reparation, oblation; they are of all pious practices the easiest, most pleasing, most consoling; they never fail at one and the same time to further the spiritual life, to sanctify the soul and advance it in perfection. If our intention in our devotional exercises is, as indeed it ought to be, to glorify God and make our salvation sure, by no other means can we attain this twofold end more completely and satisfactorily than by this devotion, the practice of which is above all acceptable to God and profitable to ourselves.