Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Devotion to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus. 43.


Organization of the Apostleship. An association, particularly if it is widespread and counts many among its members, has no stability or permanence unless it is properly organized. The external organization of the Apostleship of Prayer is very simple. It is not a sodality or congregation, nor a confraternity in the strict sense, it is rather an association, the members of which are leagued together to offer their prayers, work, and sufferings in the spirit and with the intention of the divine Heart of Our Lord. The General of the Society of Jesus is at its head as director-general, and he can delegate his office to any other priest of the society whom he may select. The diocesan directors appointed with the bishop's approbation to act as directors of all the centres established within his diocese are subject to the director-general.

The diocesan directors are authorized by a diploma from the director-general to exercise their office and transmit diplomas of affiliation to parishes, communities, or associations, and to appoint local directors in the respective centres thus affiliated to the apostleship. The local directors are authorized to receive new members and enter their names in the local registers. They can also appoint promoters, who are entirely subject to them and whose office it is, as the instruments of the local directors, to advance the interior welfare of the league and extend it externally as much as possible. Any Catholic may become an associate by applying for admission into the league either personally or through another to the local, or the diocesan, or the general director.

The organ of the Apostleship of Prayer is the Messenger of ike Sacred Heart, the object of which is to promote the apostleship and the devotion to the Sacred Heart in general; and since the power and efficacy of the apostolate consists in union, a general intention is given every month in the Messenger, besides par ticular intentions, for which all the members are to offer their prayers and works. The general intention is determined each month by the Holy Father, who recommends it with his blessing to the members; the particular intentions for each day are published in the several editions of the Messenger.

The Object of the Apostleship. The mission of holy Church is to carry on until the end of time the work of redemption, the purification and sanctification of the souls of men which Christ our Lord began on earth and perfected by the merits of His grace. In order to attain this end, the regeneration of mankind, He makes use of two means. In accordance with the command of her Master and Founder, she proclaims the gospel of salvation to all nations of the earth, that is, the apostolate of the Word. But the preaching of the Gospel is in itself alone powerless to convert the sinner without the interior enlightenment and impulse of divine grace; and since under the present dispensation the graces Our Lord imparts are, as a rule, the fruit of instant and fervent prayer, she unites the Apostleship of Prayer to the preaching of the faith. In this respect, as indeed in all others, she is the faithful imitator of her Lord and Master, whose life it is her task to continue on earth since His Ascension into heaven. During the first thirty years of His life, His hidden life at Nazareth, He confined His apostolate exclusively to that of prayer; from the commencement of His public ministry He united the apostolate of the Word to that of prayer; and since His ascension to His Father Pie still continues His apostolate of prayer, both in His glorified existence in heaven and in His sacramental life on earth. For Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer, has never ceased since His Ascension into heaven to exercise His function of Mediator between God and man: "He is at the right hand of God who also maketh intercession for us;" Rom. viii. 34. He "is always living to make intercession for us." Heb. vii. 25. Thus He offers supplication and propitiation, praise and thanksgiving, inasmuch as in the character of our Mediator and Advocate He exhibits His sacred humanity, His infinite merits, His sacred wounds to His heavenly Father, and giving expression to the desire of His heart, makes intercession for us. And the life which He leads in heaven at the right hand of the Father is the same as His life in the Blessed Sacrament on our altars; it is a life of perpetual prayer and oblation of Him self to His heavenly Father. His heart yearns for the glory of God, for the salvation of souls, for the exaltation of the Church which He calls His bride, and for the extension of His kingdom on earth in all directions.