BY THE REV. H. NOLDIN, S.J.
AUTHORISED TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN.
REVISED BY THE REV. W. H. KENT, O.S.C
The use of the pictures in question is not forbidden, but left to the discretion and decision of the bishops.
Formal authorization was given to the later representations, without, however, any dis approval of the earlier ones being expressed. When, in the year 1877, a Belgian sculptor submitted a design for two statues, one of the Heart of Jesus and the other of the heart of Mary, for the approval of the Congregation of Rites, the answer given him (nth August, 1877) was this: Nihil obstat. There appears to be no further pronouncement of the ecclesiastical authorities touching pictures of the Heart of Jesus, besides those which were cited in a former part of this book (p. 71).
Thus it may be judged best for those who practise the devotion to the Sacred Heart, whether in meditation or prayers, to make use of pictures representing the person of Our Lord with the heart visible on His breast, in preference to those which represent the heart only, as it was depicted frequently in earlier times.
3. They keep the feast of the Sacred Heart with fervour and devotion. This festal day, which Our Lord Himself desired and appointed to be kept as the crown of the devotion, affords those who adore His Sacred Heart a welcome opportunity to give their Saviour and Redeemer a proof of special love in accordance with His own behest. Therefore they earnestly endeavour to prepare themselves for the worthy celebration of the feast by a novena, or at least a triduum, and by a sincere and contrite confession. On the day itself they are scrupulously careful to avoid everything which may in the slightest degree be displeasing to the loving Heart of their. Lord. They make a meditation on this subject and prepare them selves to the best of their power to receive holy communion with all devotion, offering it in reparation for the offences committed against Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. They strive to pass the day in recollection of heart and interior devotion, often dwelling in thought with Him whose love for them is infinite, and who has done such great things for them; renewing from time to time acts of love and adoration, of atonement and reparation, of consecration and oblation; desiring and praying that on that day the Heart of Our Lord may be honoured and worshipped by all mankind throughout the world. They make frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the intention of the festival, and at night they ask pardon, kneeling if possible before the tabernacle, or else before a picture of the divine Heart, for the coldness and in devotion with which they have kept the day, and renew their resolution to love Our Lord truly and constantly unto the end of their lives. Nor do they omit to do their utmost in contributing to the celebration of the feast with due splendour and solemnity; for we owe it to Our Lord to make honourable amends to Him for the ingratitude and irreverence shown Him.