Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Devotion to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus. 35.


In the first centuries subsequent to her foundation, the Church stood in opposition to the heathen world. Paganism waged a fierce warfare against this divine institution, hoping, expecting to stamp it out and sweep it from the earth. Yet, as we know, the Church conquered the whole of heathendom, the weapon wherewith she won the victory being none other than the cross. The cross of the Redeemer, and the charity of the Redeemer which that cross revealed, vanquished the world and renewed the face of the earth. Now the Church once more stands confronted by a modern paganism and must engage in conflict with it, and the weapon she employs in the contest is the Heart of Jesus Christ. The Heart of the Redeemer, the love of which it is the symbol, is to overcome the world, to renew the world. This is no mere pious wish on the part of the Christian, it is the will of the Most High.
The crying evil of our day is that men fall away from Christ and from the Church He has founded, that they regard the Redeemer and His work with coldness and indifference; nay more, their attitude towards His sacred person and His divinely revealed religion is too often one of hatred and contempt. These evils originate in and are strengthened by sensuality and pride; engendered by Protestantism, they have been fostered by Jansenism, until at length in these latter days they have attained gigantic, alarming proportions, even within the fold of the Catholic Church. The more accurate is the conception we form of the nature of these kindred sects, the more clearly and convincingly it is borne in upon us that in the devotion to His Sacred Heart Our Lord offers us a remedy for the ills of our day. 1 What in fact is Protestantism? It is a rigid, frigid heresy, a perpetual protest against the love of God, for it dares with bold effrontery to deny the very highest proofs He gives us of that love. It would have us believe that Christ the Lord, our God and at the same time our Father and our Friend, no longer dwells in the tabernacle of our churches; that the greatest proof of all of the charity of the God-Man, the holy sacrifice of the Mass, is a fable and a deceit; that the Sacrament of Penance, that wondrous testimony to the compassionate, the forgiving love of our God, is done away with; that the Church which Christ purchased with His blood totters to its fall. Can it surprise us that Our Lord should exhibit His Heart to a world which actually contests and disputes His love for man kind and call upon it to remember His infinite charity: "Behold My Heart, that has so loved man"?

1 Must not this be the reason why Our Lord has specially chosen the Society of Jesus to promote and propagate this devotion? Originally founded to combat Protestantism, should it not employ its forces not only against its first foe, but also against the offspring of that foe, hypocritical Jansenism and cold-blooded Rationalism? Is it surprising, then, that under these circumstances the sons of St. Ignatius should be specially commissioned by God to apply the remedy He has revealed to cure the ills of which we speak?