BY THE REV. H. NOLDIN, S.J.
AUTHORISED TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN.
REVISED BY THE REV. W. H. KENT, O.S.C
For there is no grace for which the adorers of the divine Heart long so ardently, so earnestly, as true and real love for Christ their Redeemer. In fact to ponder and meditate upon the love of the divine Heart and the benefits we receive from it is one of the special exercises of this devotion. Finally there is no other so pleasing to God, or one the practise of which He has promised to reward so munificently as the devotion to the Sacred Heart of His Son.
If we were to see a prince go out into the gardens of his palace, and there plant a sapling with his own hand, and if we noticed that he went daily to look at it, to water it, to prune it, to tend it, should we not think that that must be a valuable tree, that the prince must care very much for it? Now it is just the same in respect to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Christ our Lord has planted it Himself in the garden of His Church, and has tended it and watched over its growth. He Himself appeared to B. Margaret and revealed to her the object, the motives, the practise, and the aim of the devotion; He appeared to her again and again, teaching and instructing her in every detail connected with it. Through His omnipotent protection, in spite of its many and powerful antagonists, it has spread far and wide and become a favourite and popular devotion among Catholics; it must therefore be very dear to Our Lord.
He has, moreover, made His wishes and commands known to us in the most clear and explicit manner. He repeatedly told B. Margaret that it was His expressed will that His love should be venerated under the symbol of His Sacred Heart, and that He desired this devotion to be practised by all Christians throughout the world. The knowledge that such was Our Lord's will decided the ecclesiastical authorities to sanction the introduction of the devotion in the Church. For a long time they hesitated to give their approval to it, since they could not see clearly what was the will of God in this regard; but no sooner were they convinced that it was the divine will than they promoted the devotion by the most powerful and effectual means. In the brief of the beatification of B. Margaret, the favoured disciple of the Sacred Heart, we read these words: "The Author and Finisher of faith willed that veneration and devotion to His divine Heart should be introduced into the Church."
What more is needed to kindle within us love, zeal, enthusiasm for a devotion than the certitude that Our Lord desires and expects this from us? Is He not our all in all, and have we not to thank Him for all .that we possess or hope for? Is it not due to Him that we should fulfil the wish of His Heart? "Oh, that I could tell all the world," B. Margaret exclaims, "all that I know of this beautiful devotion! I say with confidence that if it were only known how pleasing this devotion is to Our Lord, there is not a Christian, however slight may be his love for Christ, who would not at once adopt its practice."
In order more effectually to prevail upon us to practise this devotion, our divine Redeemer has made greater, more comprehensive promises to those who venerate His Sacred Heart than He ever made in regard to any other devotion.
These promises are twelve in number.
1. I will give them all the graces necessary to their state in life.
2. I will give them peace in their families.
3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death.
5. I will bestow abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall advance rapidly to high perfection.
9. I will bless every dwelling in which an image of My Heart shall be set up and honoured.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. The persons who spread this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
12. Proclaim this, and let it be published throughout the world: I will assign no measure and no limit to the gifts and graces which I will bestow on all who seek them in My Heart.
Christ our Lord promises to give blessings and graces during their life, and still more at the decisive moment of their death, to those who seek them in His Sacred Heart; and as if He deemed that all too little, He adds the assurance that He will set no measure or limit to His favours. He has not failed to fulfil these promises. Thirty-one periodicals month by month publish hundreds and thousands of thanksgivings in various languages and
various forms, all so many proofs of faith being rewarded, and affording evidence of the fidelity wherewith Christ accomplishes the promises made to His servants. Would that His Heart were known and loved by all men!