The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, that perfect fountain of unmatched love for us fallen creatures, was formed out of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. There is a perfect communion of love that exists for all eternity between these two Hearts, the One beating within the Body of the God-Man and the other beating within the body of His Most Blessed Mother. This simple, undeniable reality of the perfect communion between the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary teaches us the necessity of being totally consecrated to the latter as the path to being totally absorbed into the Mercy of the former. The path to take shelter in the Divine Mercy of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus runs through total consecration to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Sacred Heart was pierced by Saint Longinus’s lance after Our Lord had breathed His last on the wood of the Holy Cross on Golgotha on Good Friday. Blood and water, the sacramental elements of the Church, flowed out from Our Lord’s pericardium through His Wounded Side onto the dirt of the earth of Calvary, dirt that would be brought back to Rome by Saint Helena and placed under the floor of the Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. Our Lady’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart was pierced at that moment fully by the sword of sorrow that had been prophesied by the aged Simeon at the moment of her Purification in the Temple on February 2. The two Hearts rejoiced as one at Cana as Our Lord transformed water into wine. The two Hearts suffered as one on Calvary as Our Lord completed the first Mass by offering Himself up to the Father in Spirit and in Truth as propitiatory offering for our sins.
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is the repository of the infinite treasures of God’s ineffable mercy to us erring, ungrateful sinners. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the instrument that pleads for us to have the humility necessary to approach the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with contrition in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance and to make a firm purpose of amendment as we prepare to receive sacramental absolution for our sins and sanctifying grace to strengthen us to root out vice and to grow in sanctity. The Immaculate Heart of Mary pleads for us to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, Wherein beats the Sacred Heart Itself, with greater fervor and devotion every day of our lives, keeping us mindful of the necessity of spending time with Our Beloved as that Heart of all hearts beats with fervor for our sanctification and our salvation in tabernacles even until the end of time. Yes, the occasion of the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus reminds us that there would be no Sacred Heart, no Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity as Man, without Our Lady’s perfect fiat to the Father’s will at the moment of the Annunciation.
Total consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary teaches us to renew the pledge of consecration to the Most Sacred Heart, keeping in mind especially the promises Our Lord revealed to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque concerning the keeping of the nine First Fridays. It is no accident that Our Lady added to devotion of the nine First Fridays a promise of assistance to those who fulfill the five First Saturdays by the observance of all of the conditions she established for the propagation of devotion to her Immaculate Heart, to which the cause of world peace itself has been entrusted by her Divine Son and which is pierced anew by the swords of sorrow thrust at it by the sins of ungrateful men. One who is totally consecrated to Our Lady’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart is thus able to offer up any and all merit gained by the fulfillment of the nine First Fridays as her consecrated slaves, leaving it to her to determine what share of that merit might be ours as we give unto her all of our liberty and all of the merit of whatever good actions we perform for the honor and glory of God and for the sanctification and salvation of souls, starting with own.
Our puny hearts, stained as they are by the effects of our sins and our selfishness, are so slow to comprehend the profundity of the perfect love that is expressed by the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary for us. We have no idea how much our sins and our ingratitude and our indifferences caused these hearts to suffer once in time on Calvary and how they continue to wound the Church Militant today. We can only hope and pray to live penitentially to offer our prayers and our sacrifices and acts of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that we will come to fall so deeply in love with the Sacred Heart of Jesus that the thought of sin will become as repugnant to us as the effects of our sins was so unspeakably horrendous for these twin hearts.
One of the many, many ways in which we can make reparation for the coldness and ingratitude of our sin-stained hearts is to practice the Supernatural Virtue of Charity with everyone Our Lord puts into our lives. God’s love for us is an expression of His Divine Will, the ultimate end of which is the salvation of our immortal souls. In like manner, therefore, the love we have for others must be premised on willing their good, the ultimate end of which is the salvation of their immortal souls. We must do or say nothing that in any way makes it less possible for another human being to be saved as a member of the Church Our Lord founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. We must be assiduous in our efforts to bring all people into the true Church–and to propagate to the best of our ability the fullness of the Faith that Our Lord has entrusted unto her without any taint of the errors and the novelties of the past forty years.
To do this, though, we must never be self-righteous or arrogant. We must understand that each of us is a work in progress, that God is attempting write straight with the crooked lines that are represented by our very own tortuous, willful lives.
Keeping this in mind will help us to be balanced and patient when explaining the state of our situation at present to those who are not yet ready to examine things as they really are, remembering that most of us (and I included myself here most especially) have re-discovered the Tradition of our youth precisely because others had the charity to confront us with the fullness of truth even though we may not have been ready to have received it with joy at that particular time. They prayed for us. They commended us to Our Lady’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart and through her beseeched her Divine Son’s Most Sacred Heart. And those who have always maintained the fullness of the Tradition of the Church without compromise must understand that it is precisely the fact that they have received special graces from the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus that they were able to persevere in all truth at a time when confusion reigned supreme. Such people have received countless, gratuitous graces that have been used by God to help others to join them in the small, wandering remnant of Catholics who are ostracized and belittled for keeping fast to everything that the Church taught, including its form of worship in the Roman Rite, prior to the apostasis and blasphemies and sacrileges of the past fifty-six and one-half years. We make whatever efforts we can with others, ultimately commending them to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and through it to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with complete and utter confidence and without despairing one little bit of the results.
Moreover, we must remind ourselves on this great feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that we are to forgive others as we ourselves are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance, which is, ultimately, the hospital of Divine Mercy. Nothing anyone does to us is the equal of what one of our least venial sins caused Our Lord to suffer in His Sacred Humanity on the wood of the Holy Cross. Nothing anyone does to us or says about us causes us to suffer our sins caused Our Lady to suffer at the foot of the Cross on Good Friday and how they cause her to grieve so much in these our days. The words contained in the Pater Noster (Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimmitimus debitoribus nostris) bind us to act consistently as people who do indeed forgive others their sins against us as we are forgiven by God Himself through the actions and by the words of an alter Christus acting in persona Christi in the confessional. It is thus a grave sin against the Charity that is Incarnate in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to hold a grudge against others.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was asked by her spiritual director, Blessed Claude de la Colombiere, to ask Our Lord during His next apparition to her what was the last sin she had confessed. This was designed to test the authenticity of Saint Margaret Mary’s claims that Our Lord was appearing to her to spread devotion to His Most Sacred Heart. “I forgot” was Our Lord’s answer to Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque. Saint Claude de la Colombiere knew as Saint Margaret Mary related that answer to her that Our Lord was indeed appearing to her. For although Our Lord knows all things as God, He wills to forget our sins that are absolved in the Sacrament of Penance. Can we do any less? Any claim to be devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is false if we nurture grudges of any kind, petty or small, and if we do not make excuses for those who sin against us just as Our Lord made excuses for us, His executioners, as He hung on the wood of the Holy Cross. We must pray for the conversion of all men on a daily basis, starting with ourselves, hoping that there will be a happy reconciliation among all of the souls of the just in an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Heaven at least by the time of the General Judgment of the Living and of the Dead on the Last Day.
This great Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was once observed universally as an octave in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, contains lessons that we can only hope to learn more about as with each passing year, especially by spending time in prayer before His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament. One of these lessons, though, is quite apposite: the consequences of failing to do that which Heaven asks of us to do.
That is, King Louis XIV and the bishops of France refused to consecrate the entirety of France to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus after entreaties from Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque that this consecrated had been willed by the God-Man Himself. The year was 1689, one hundred years before the outbreak of the French Revolution, which is still wreaking its horrid consequences in the world and in the Church today. How sad it is that Our Lady’s Fatima Message, given to Jacinta and Francisco Marto and their cousin Lucia dos Santos on July 13, 1917, is ignored by so many.
One of the concrete ways that we can surround ourselves with the matchless love of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, united for all eternity to the most pure love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to which has been entrusted the cause of the Restoration of Christendom itself, is to Enthrone the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in our homes. This act of Enthronement is truly essential. Why? Well, the kings of Christendom were enthroned before they entered solemnly upon their offices (even though they may have assumed actual power at a date before, sometimes significantly before, the actual enthronement/coronation ceremony). Thus, even though we may be sincerely devoted to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is nevertheless important to formally acknowledge this fact in our homes, especially for the sake of our children. We must show the love of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to our spouses and to our children (and to our parents and grandparents, if living, and to all of our relatives and friends). Visible images of this Enthronement help to remind us of the necessity to put aside petty disputes and disagreements and to love more purely with the Heart of Purity Itself.
You see, we are sensible beings. That is, we are influenced by the sights and sounds and smells (for those of you who, unlike me, have a sense of smell) that we encounter. Having visible images of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in our homes, replete with a ceremony of enthronement, is a reminder to ourselves and our children that we must offer these twin hearts all of the love that we have, pledging to abstain from even the smallest of sins in order to please these hearts that wrought our salvation on Calvary and to make reparation for our own sins and those of the whole world. The images pasted below are found in several places in our own home, yes, the one on wheels that God has known from all eternity we would be blessed to have as we travel from place to place around the country:
There are many different formulae by which the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus may be enthroned in a family. One can be found at Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Home.
Pope Leo XIII, noting that he had been cured of a disease, at the age of eighty-nine, through his intercession to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, encouraged the practice of Consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in his encyclical letter, Annum Sacram, May 25, 1899. It was Pope Leo, intent on restoring Christ as the King of all nations, who promulgated the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, explaining that everyone must be subjected to the reign of Christ the King, a reign that starts first in the hearts of individual souls and spreads from there into the entirety of nations and into each and every aspect of their cultures without any itsy bitsy exceptions whatsoever:
This world-wide and solemn testimony of allegiance and piety is especially appropriate to Jesus Christ, who is the Head and Supreme Lord of the race. His empire extends not only over Catholic nations and those who, having been duly washed in the waters of holy baptism, belong of right to the Church, although erroneous opinions keep them astray, or dissent from her teaching cuts them off from her care; it comprises also all those who are deprived of the Christian faith, so that the whole human race is most truly under the power of Jesus Christ. For He who is the Only-begotten Son of God the Father, having the same substance with Him and being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance (Hebrews i., 3) necessarily has everything in common with the Father, and therefore sovereign power over all things. This is why the Son of God thus speaks of Himself through the Prophet: “But I am appointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain. . . The Lord said to me, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm, ii.). By these words He declares that He has power from God over the whole Church, which is signified by Mount Sion, and also over the rest of the world to its uttermost ends. On what foundation this sovereign power rests is made sufficiently plain by the words, “Thou art My Son.” For by the very fact that He is the Son of the King of all, He is also the heir of all His Father’s power: hence the words – “I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance,” which are similar to those used by Paul the Apostle, “whom he hath appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews i., 2).
But we should now give most special consideration to the declarations made by Jesus Christ, not through the Apostles or the Prophets but by His own words. To the Roman Governor who asked Him, “Art thou a king then?” He answered unhesitatingly, “Thou sayest that I am a king” John xviii. 37).And the greatness of this power and the boundlessness of His kingdom is still more clearly declared in these words to the Apostles: “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew xxviii., 18). If then all power has been given to Christ it follows of necessity that His empire must be supreme, absolute and independent of the will of any other, so that none is either equal or like unto it: and since it has been given in heaven and on earth it ought to have heaven and earth obedient to it. And verily he has acted on this extraordinary and peculiar right when He commanded His Apostles to preach His doctrine over the earth, to gather all men together into the one body of the Church by the baptism of salvation, and to bind them by laws, which no one could reject without risking his eternal salvation.
But this is not all. Christ reigns not only by natural right as the Son of God, but also by a right that He has acquired. For He it was who snatched us “from the power of darkness” (Colossians i., 13), and “gave Himself for the redemption of all” (I Timothy ii., 6). Therefore not only Catholics, and those who have duly received Christian baptism, but also all men, individually and collectively, have become to Him “a purchased people” (I Peter ii., 9). St. Augustine’s words are therefore to the point when he says: “You ask what price He paid? See what He gave and you will understand how much He paid. The price was the blood of Christ. What could cost so much but the whole world, and all its people? The great price He paid was paid for all” (T. 120 on St. John).
How it comes about that infidels themselves are subject to the power and dominion of Jesus Christ is clearly shown by St. Thomas, who gives us the reason and its explanation. For having put the question whether His judicial power extends to all men, and having stated that judicial authority flows naturally from royal authority, he concludes decisively as follows: “All things are subject to Christ as far as His power is concerned, although they are not all subject to Him in the exercise of that power” (3a., p., q. 59, a. 4). This sovereign power of Christ over men is exercised by truth, justice, and above all, by charity.
To this twofold ground of His power and domination He graciously allows us, if we think fit, to add voluntary consecration. Jesus Christ, our God and our Redeemer, is rich in the fullest and perfect possession of all things: we, on the other hand, are so poor and needy that we have nothing of our own to offer Him as a gift. But yet, in His infinite goodness and love, He in no way objects to our giving and consecrating to Him what is already His, as if it were really our own; nay, far from refusing such an offering, He positively desires it and asks for it: “My son, give me thy heart.” We are, therefore, able to be pleasing to Him by the good will and the affection of our soul. For by consecrating ourselves to Him we not only declare our open and free acknowledgment and acceptance of His authority over us, but we also testify that if what we offer as a gift were really our own, we would still offer it with our whole heart. We also beg of Him that He would vouchsafe to receive it from us, though clearly His own. Such is the efficacy of the act of which We speak, such is the meaning underlying Our words.
And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another,therefore is it fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart – an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honor, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself.
For these reasons We urge and exhort all who know and love this divine Heart willingly to undertake this act of piety; and it is Our earnest desire that all should make it on the same day, that so the aspirations of so many thousands who are performing this act of consecration may be borne to the temple of heaven on the same day. But shall We allow to slip from Our remembrance those innumerable others upon whom the light of Christian truth has not yet shined? We hold the place of Him who came to save that which was lost, and who shed His blood for the salvation of the whole human race. And so We greatly desire to bring to the true life those who sit in the shadow of death. As we have already sent messengers of Christ over the earth to instruct them, so now, in pity for their lot with all Our soul we commend them, and as far as in us lies We consecrate them to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In this way this act of devotion, which We recommend, will be a blessing to all. For having performed it, those in whose hearts are the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ will feel that faith and love increased. Those who knowing Christ, yet neglect His law and its precepts, may still gain from His Sacred Heart the flame of charity. And lastly, for those still more unfortunate, who are struggling in the darkness of superstition, we shall all with one mind implore the assistance of heaven that Jesus Christ, to whose power they are subject,may also one day render them submissive to its exercise; and that not only in the life to come when He will fulfil His will upon all men, by saving some and punishing others, (St. Thomas, ibid), but also in this mortal life by giving them faith and holiness. May they by these virtues strive to honor God as they ought, and to win everlasting happiness in heaven.
Such an act of consecration, since it can establish or draw tighter the bonds which naturally connect public affairs with God, gives to States a hope of better things. In these latter times especially, a policy has been followed which has resulted in a sort of wall being raised between the Church and civil society. In the constitution and administration of States the authority of sacred and divine law is utterly disregarded, with a view to the exclusion of religion from having any constant part in public life. This policy almost tends to the removal of the Christian faith from our midst, and, if that were possible, of the banishment of God Himself from the earth. When men’s minds are raised to such a height of insolent pride, what wonder is it that the greater part of the human race should have fallen into such disquiet of mind and be buffeted by waves so rough that no one is suffered to be free from anxiety and peril? When religion is once discarded it follows of necessity that the surest foundations of the public welfare must give way, whilst God, to inflict on His enemies the punishment they so richly deserve, has left them the prey of their own evil desires, so that they give themselves up to their passions and finally wear themselves out by excess of liberty.
Hence that abundance of evils which have now for a long time settled upon the world, and which pressingly call upon us to seek for help from Him by whose strength alone they can be driven away. Who can He be but Jesus Christ the Only-begotten Son of God? “For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved” (Acts iv., 12). We must have recourse to Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We have gone astray and we must return to the right path: darkness has overshadowed our minds, and the gloom must be dispelled by the light of truth: death has seized upon us, and we must lay hold of life. It will at length be possible that our many wounds be healed and all justice spring forth again with the hope of restored authority; that the splendors of peace be renewed, and swords and arms drop from the hand when all men shall acknowledge the empire of Christ and willingly obey His word, and “Every tongue shall confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father” (Philippians ii, II).
When the Church, in the days immediately succeeding her institution, was oppressed beneath the yoke of the Caesars, a young Emperor saw in the heavens a cross, which became at once the happy omen and cause of the glorious victory that soon followed. And now, today, behold another blessed and heavenly token is offered to our sight – the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a cross rising from it and shining forth with dazzling splendor amidst flames of love. In that Sacred Heart all our hopes should be placed, and from it the salvation of men is to be confidently besought. (Pope Leo XIII, Annum Sacram, May 25, 1899.)
Pope Pius XI amplified the concerns of Pope Leo, instituting an Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, appended below, in his encyclical letter, Miserentissimus Redemptor, May 8, 1928, expressed our need to make reparations for our own sins and those of the whole world, especially in light of how even Catholics had abandoned the cause of Christ the King to embrace various philosophies and ideologies that have convinced men that they can create the “better world” without subordinating all of their actions, public and private, at all times to the Catholic Faith:
Among the many proofs of the boundless benignity of our Redeemer, there is one that stands out conspicuously, to wit the fact that when the charity of Christian people was growing cold, the Divine Charity itself was set forth to be honored by a special worship, and the riches of its bounty was made widely manifest by that form of devotion wherein worship is given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Coloss. ii, 3). For as in olden time when mankind came forth from Noe’s ark, God set His “bow in the clouds” (Genesis ix, 13), shining as the sign of a friendly covenant; so in the most turbulent times of a more recent age, when the Jansenist heresy, the most crafty of them all, hostile to love and piety towards God, was creeping in and preaching that God was not to be loved as a father but rather to be feared as an implacable judge; then the most benign Jesus showed his own most Sacred Heart to the nations lifted up as a standard of peace and charity portending no doubtful victory in the combat. And indeed Our Predecessor of happy memory, Leo Xlll, admiring the timely opportuneness of the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, said very aptly in his Encyclical Letter, “Annum Sacrum,” “When in the days near her origin, the Church was oppressed under the yoke of the Caesars the Cross shown on high to the youthful Emperor was at once an omen and a cause of the victory that speedily followed. And here today another most auspicious and most divine sign is offered to our sight, to wit the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a Cross set above it shining with most resplendent brightness in the midst of flames. Herein must all hopes be set, from hence must the salvation of men be sought and expected.“
And rightly indeed is that said, Venerable Brethren. For is not the sum of all religion and therefore the pattern of more perfect life, contained in that most auspicious sign and in the form of piety that follows from it inasmuch as it more readily leads the minds of men to an intimate knowledge of Christ Our Lord, and more efficaciously moves their hearts to love Him more vehemently and to imitate Him more closely? It is no wonder, therefore, that Our Predecessors have constantly defended this most approved form of devotion from the censures of calumniators, and have extolled it with high praise and promoted it very zealously, as the needs of time and circumstance demanded. Moreover, by the inspiration of God’s grace, it has come to pass that the pious devotion of the faithful towards the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus has made great increase in the course of time; hence pious confraternities to promote the worship of the Divine Heart are everywhere erected, hence too the custom of receiving Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month at the desire of Christ Jesus, a custom which now prevails everywhere.
But assuredly among those things which properly pertain to the worship of the Most Sacred Heart, a special place must be given to that Consecration, whereby we devote ourselves and all things that are ours to the Divine Heart of Jesus, acknowledging that we have received all things from the everlasting love of God. When Our Savior had taught Margaret Mary, the most innocent disciple of His Heart, how much He desired that this duty of devotion should be rendered to him by men, moved in this not so much by His own right as by His immense charity for us; she herself, with her spiritual father, Claude de la Colombiere, rendered it the first of all. Thereafter followed, in the course of time, individual men, then private families and associations, and lastly civil magistrates, cities and kingdoms. But since in the last century, and in this present century, things have come to such a pass, that by the machinations of wicked men the sovereignty of Christ Our Lord has been denied and war is publicly waged against the Church, by passing laws and promoting plebiscites repugnant to Divine and natural law, nay more by holding assemblies of them that cry out, “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke xix, 14): from the aforesaid Consecration there burst forth over against them in keenest opposition the voice of all the clients of the Most Sacred Heart, as it were one voice, to vindicate His glory and to assert His rights: “Christ must reign” (1 Corinthians xv, 25); “Thy kingdom come” (Matth. vi, 10). From this at length it happily came to pass that at the beginning of this century the whole human race which Christ, in whom all things are re-established (Ephes. i, 10), possesses by native right as His own, was dedicated to the same Most Sacred Heart, with the applause of the whole Christian world, by Our Predecessor of happy memory, Leo Xlll.
Now these things so auspiciously and happily begun as we taught in Our Encyclical Letter “Quas primas,” we Ourselves, consenting to very many long-continued desires and prayers of Bishops and people, brought to completion and perfected, by God’s grace, when at the close of the Jubilee Year, We instituted the Feast of Christ the King of All, to be solemnly celebrated throughout the whole Christian world. Now when we did this, not only did we set in a clear light that supreme sovereignty which Christ holds over the whole universe, over civil and domestic society, and over individual men, but at the same time we anticipated the joys of that most auspicious day, whereon the whole world will gladly and willingly render obedience to the most sweet lordship of Christ the King. For this reason, We decreed at the same time that this same Consecration should be renewed every year on the occasion of that appointed festal day, so that the fruit of this same Consecration might be obtained more certainly and more abundantly, and all peoples might be joined together in Christian charity and in the reconciliation of peace, in the Heart of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
But to all these duties, more especially to that fruitful Consecration which was in a manner confirmed by the sacred solemnity of Christ the King, something else must needs be added, and it is concerning this that it is our pleasure to speak with you more at length, Venerable Brethren, on the present occasion: we mean that duty of honorable satisfaction or reparation which must be rendered to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For if the first and foremost thing in Consecration is this, that the creature’s love should be given in return for the love of the Creator, another thing follows from this at once, namely that to the same uncreated Love, if so be it has been neglected by forgetfulness or violated by offense, some sort of compensation must be rendered for the injury, and this debt is commonly called by the name of reparation.
Now though in both these matters we are impelled by quite the same motives, none the less we are holden to the duty of reparation and expiation by a certain more valid title of justice and of love, of justice indeed, in order that the offense offered to God by our sins may be expiated and that the violated order may be repaired by penance: and of love too so that we may suffer together with Christ suffering and “filled with reproaches” (Lam. iii, 30), and for all our poverty may offer Him some little solace. For since we are all sinners and laden with many faults, our God must be honored by us not only by that worship wherewith we adore His infinite Majesty with due homage, or acknowledge His supreme dominion by praying, or praise His boundless bounty by thanksgiving; but besides this we must need make satisfaction to God the just avenger, “for our numberless sins and offenses and negligences.” To Consecration, therefore, whereby we are devoted to God and are called holy to God, by that holiness and stability which, as the Angelic Doctor teaches, is proper to consecration (2a. 2ae. qu. 81, a. 8. c.), there must be added expiation, whereby sins are wholly blotted out, lest the holiness of the supreme justice may punish our shameless unworthiness, and reject our offering as hateful rather than accept it as pleasing.
Moreover this duty of expiation is laid upon the whole race of men since, as we are taught by the Christian faith, after Adam’s miserable fall, infected by hereditary stain, subject to concupiscences and most wretchedly depraved, it would have been thrust down into eternal destruction. This indeed is denied by the wise men of this age of ours, who following the ancient error of Pelagius, ascribe to human nature a certain native virtue by which of its own force it can go onward to higher things; but the Apostle rejects these false opinions of human pride, admonishing us that we “were by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians ii, 3). And indeed, even from the beginning, men in a manner acknowledged this common debt of expiation and, led by a certain natural instinct, they endeavored to appease God by public sacrifices.
But no created power was sufficient to expiate the sins of men, if the Son of God had not assumed man’s nature in order to redeem it. This, indeed, the Savior of men Himself declared by the mouth of the sacred Psalmist: “Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldest not: but a body thou hast fitted to me: Holocausts for sin did not please thee: then said 1: Behold I come” (Hebrews x, 5-7). And in very deed, “Surely He hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows. . . He was wounded for our iniquities (Isaias liii, 4-5), and He His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree . . . (1 Peter ii, 24), “Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross . . .” (Colossians ii, 14) “that we being dead to sins, should live to justice” (1 Peter ii, 24). Yet, though the copious redemption of Christ has abundantly forgiven us all offenses (Cf. Colossians ii, 13), nevertheless, because of that wondrous divine dispensation whereby those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ are to be filled up in our flesh for His body which is the Church (Cf. Colossians i, 24), to the praises and satisfactions, “which Christ in the name of sinners rendered unto God” we can also add our praises and satisfactions, and indeed it behooves us so to do. But we must ever remember that the whole virtue of the expiation depends on the one bloody sacrifice of Christ, which without intermission of time is renewed on our altars in an unbloody manner, “For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different” (Council of Trent, Session XXIII, Chapter 2). Wherefore with this most august Eucharistic Sacrifice there ought to be joined an oblation both of the ministers and of all the faithful, so that they also may “present themselves living sacrifices, holy, pleasing unto God” (Romans xii, 1). Nay more, St. Cyprian does not hesitate to affirm that “the Lord’s sacrifice is not celebrated with legitimate sanctification, unless our oblation and sacrifice correspond to His passion” (Ephesians 63). For this reason, the Apostle admonishes us that “bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus” (2 Corinthians iv, 10), and buried together with Christ, and planted together in the likeness of His death (Cf. Romans vi, 4-5), we must not only crucify our flesh with the vices and concupiscences (Cf. Galatians v, 24), “flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world” (2 Peter i, 4), but “that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies” (2 Corinthians iv, 10) and being made partakers of His eternal priesthood we are to offer up “gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Hebrews v, 1). Nor do those only enjoy a participation in this mystic priesthood and in the office of satisfying and sacrificing, whom our Pontiff Christ Jesus uses as His ministers to offer up the clean oblation to God’s Name in every place from the rising of the sun to the going down (Malachias i, 11), but the whole Christian people rightly called by the Prince of the Apostles “a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood” (1 Peter ii, 9), ought to offer for sins both for itself and for all mankind (Cf. Hebrews v, 3), in much the same manner as every priest and pontiff “taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God” (Hebrews v, 1).
But the more perfectly that our oblation and sacrifice corresponds to the sacrifice of Our Lord, that is to say, the more perfectly we have immolated our love and our desires and have crucified our flesh by that mystic crucifixion of which the Apostle speaks, the more abundant fruits of that propitiation and expiation shall we receive for ourselves and for others. For there is a wondrous and close union of all the faithful with Christ, such as that which prevails between the head and the other members; moreover by that mystic Communion of Saints which we profess in the Catholic creed, both individual men and peoples are joined together not only with one another but also with him, “who is the head, Christ; from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly joined together, by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in charity” (Ephesians iv, 15-16). It was this indeed that the Mediator of God and men, Christ Jesus, when He was near to death, asked of His Father: “I in them, and thou in me: that they may be made perfect in one” (John xvii, 23).
Wherefore, even as consecration proclaims and confirms this union with Christ, so does expiation begin that same union by washing away faults, and perfect it by participating in the sufferings of Christ, and consummate it by offering victims for the brethren. And this indeed was the purpose of the merciful Jesus, when He showed His Heart to us bearing about it the symbols of the passion and displaying the flames of love, that from the one we might know the infinite malice of sin, and in the other we might admire the infinite charity of Our Redeemer, and so might have a more vehement hatred of sin, and make a more ardent return of love for His love.
And truly the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and nothing is more in keeping with the origin, the character, the power, and the distinctive practices of this form of devotion, as appears from the record of history and custom, as well as from the sacred liturgy and the acts of the Sovereign Pontiffs. For when Christ manifested Himself to Margaret Mary, and declared to her the infinitude of His love, at the same time, in the manner of a mourner, He complained that so many and such great injuries were done to Him by ungrateful men — and we would that these words in which He made this complaint were fixed in the minds of the faithful, and were never blotted out by oblivion: “Behold this Heart” — He said — “which has loved men so much and has loaded them with all benefits, and for this boundless love has had no return but neglect, and contumely, and this often from those who were bound by a debt and duty of a more special love.” In order that these faults might be washed away, He then recommended several things to be done, and in particular the following as most pleasing to Himself, namely that men should approach the Altar with this purpose of expiating sin, making what is called a Communion of Reparation, — and that they should likewise make expiatory supplications and prayers, prolonged for a whole hour, –which is rightly called the “Holy Hour.” These pious exercises have been approved by the Church and have also been enriched with copious indulgences.
But how can these rites of expiation bring solace now, when Christ is already reigning in the beatitude of Heaven? To this we may answer in some words of St. Augustine which are very apposite here, –”Give me one who loves, and he will understand what I say” (In Johannis evangelium, tract. XXVI, 4). For any one who has great love of God, if he will look back through the tract of past time may dwell in meditation on Christ, and see Him laboring for man, sorrowing, suffering the greatest hardships, “for us men and for our salvation,” well-nigh worn out with sadness, with anguish, nay “bruised for our sins” (Isaias liii, 5), and healing us by His bruises. And the minds of the pious meditate on all these things the more truly, because the sins of men and their crimes committed in every age were the cause why Christ was delivered up to death, and now also they would of themselves bring death to Christ, joined with the same griefs and sorrows, since each several sin in its own way is held to renew the passion of Our Lord: “Crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery” (Hebrews vi, 6). Now if, because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen, the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that then, too, already He derived somewhat of solace from our reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when “there appeared to Him an angel from heaven” (Luke xxii, 43), in order that His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation. And so even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men, since –as we also read in the sacred liturgy — Christ Himself, by the mouth of the Psalmist complains that He is forsaken by His friends: “My Heart hath expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none” (Psalm Ixviii, 21).
To this it may be added that the expiatory passion of Christ is renewed and in a manner continued and fulfilled in His mystical body, which is the Church. For, to use once more the words of St. Augustine, “Christ suffered whatever it behooved Him to suffer; now nothing is wanting of the measure of the sufferings. Therefore the sufferings were fulfilled, but in the head; there were yet remaining the sufferings of Christ in His body” (In Psalm Ixxxvi). This, indeed, Our Lord Jesus Himself vouchsafed to explain when, speaking to Saul, “as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter” (Acts ix, 1), He said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts ix, 5), clearly signifying that when persecutions are stirred up against the Church, the Divine Head of the Church is Himself attacked and troubled. Rightly, therefore, does Christ, still suffering in His mystical body, desire to have us partakers of His expiation, and this is also demanded by our intimate union with Him, for since we are “the body of Christ and members of member” (1 Corinthians xii, 27), whatever the head suffers, all the members must suffer with it (Cf. 1 Corinthians xii, 26).
Now, how great is the necessity of this expiation or reparation, more especially in this our age, will be manifest to every one who, as we said at the outset, will examine the world, “seated in wickedness” (1 John v, 19), with his eyes and with his mind. For from all sides the cry of the peoples who are mourning comes up to us, and their princes or rulers have indeed stood up and met together in one against the Lord and against His Church (Cf. Psalm ii, 2). Throughout those regions indeed, we see that all rights both human and Divine are confounded. Churches are thrown down and overturned, religious men and sacred virgins are torn from their homes and are afflicted with abuse, with barbarities, with hunger and imprisonment; bands of boys and girls are snatched from the bosom of their mother the Church, and are induced to renounce Christ, to blaspheme and to attempt the worst crimes of lust; the whole Christian people, sadly disheartened and disrupted, are continually in danger of falling away from the faith, or of suffering the most cruel death. These things in truth are so sad that you might say that such events foreshadow and portend the “beginning of sorrows,” that is to say of those that shall be brought by the man of sin, “who is lifted up above all that is called God or is worshipped” (2 Thessalonians ii, 4).
But it is yet more to be lamented, Venerable Brethren, that among the faithful themselves, washed in Baptism with the blood of the immaculate Lamb, and enriched with grace, there are found so many men of every class, who laboring under an incredible ignorance of Divine things and infected with false doctrines, far from their Father’s home, lead a life involved in vices, a life which is not brightened by the light of true faith, nor gladdened by the hope of future beatitude, nor refreshed and cherished by the fire of charity; so that they truly seem to sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Moreover, among the faithful there is a greatly increasing carelessness of ecclesiastical discipline, and of those ancient institutions on which all Christian life rests, by which domestic society is governed, and the sanctity of marriage is safeguarded; the education of children is altogether neglected, or else it is depraved by too indulgent blandishments, and the Church is even robbed of the power of giving the young a Christian education; there is a sad forgetfulness of Christian modesty especially in the life and the dress of women; there is an unbridled cupidity of transitory things, a want of moderation in civic affairs, an unbounded ambition of popular favor, a depreciation of legitimate authority, and lastly a contempt for the word of God, whereby faith itself is injured, or is brought into proximate peril.
But all these evils as it were culminate in the cowardice and the sloth of those who, after the manner of the sleeping and fleeing disciples, wavering in their faith, miserably forsake Christ when He is oppressed by anguish or surrounded by the satellites of Satan, and in the perfidy of those others who following the example of the traitor Judas, either partake of the holy table rashly and sacrilegiously, or go over to the camp of the enemy. And thus, even against our will, the thought rises in the mind that now those days draw near of which Our Lord prophesied: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold” (Matth. xxiv, 12).
Now, whosoever of the faithful have piously pondered on all these things must need be inflamed with the charity of Christ in His agony and make a more vehement endeavor to expiate their own faults and those of others, to repair the honor of Christ, and to promote the eternal salvation of souls. And indeed that saying of the Apostle: “Where sin abounded, grace did more abound” (Romans v, 20) may be used in a manner to describe this present age; for while the wickedness of men has been greatly increased, at the same time, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, a marvelous increase has been made in the number of the faithful of both sexes who with eager mind endeavor to make satisfaction for the many injuries offered to the Divine Heart, nay more they do not hesitate to offer themselves to Christ as victims. For indeed if any one will lovingly dwell on those things of which we have been speaking, and will have them deeply fixed in his mind, it cannot be but he will shrink with horror from all sin as from the greatest evil, and more than this he will yield himself wholly to the will of God, and will strive to repair the injured honor of the Divine Majesty, as well by constantly praying, as by voluntary mortifications, by patiently bearing the afflictions that befall him, and lastly by spending his whole life in this exercise of expiation.
And for this reason also there have been established many religious families of men and women whose purpose it is by earnest service, both by day and by night, in some manner to fulfill the office of the Angel consoling Jesus in the garden; hence come certain associations of pious men, approved by the Apostolic See and enriched with indulgences, who take upon themselves this same duty of making expiation, a duty which is to be fulfilled by fitting exercises of devotion and of the virtues; hence lastly, to omit other things, come the devotions and solemn demonstrations for the purpose of making reparation to the offended Divine honor, which are inaugurated everywhere, not only by pious members of the faithful, but by parishes, dioceses and cities.
These things being so, Venerable Brethren, just as the rite of consecration, starting from humble beginnings, and afterwards more widely propagated, was at length crowned with success by Our confirmation; so in like manner, we earnestly desire that this custom of expiation or pious reparation, long since devoutly introduced and devoutly propagated, may also be more firmly sanctioned by Our Apostolic authority and more solemnly celebrated by the whole Catholic name. Wherefore, we decree and command that every year on the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, — which feast indeed on this occasion we have ordered to be raised to the degree of a double of the first class with an octave — in all churches throughout the whole world, the same expiatory prayer or protestation as it is called, to Our most loving Savior, set forth in the same words according to the copy subjoined to this letter shall be solemnly recited, so that all our faults may be washed away with tears, and reparation may be made for the violated rights of Christ the supreme King and Our most loving Lord.
There is surely no reason for doubting, Venerable Brethren, that from this devotion piously established and commanded to the whole Church, many excellent benefits will flow forth not only to individual men but also to society, sacred, civil, and domestic, seeing that our Redeemer Himself promised to Margaret Mary that “all those who rendered this honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces.” Sinners indeed, looking on Him whom they pierced (John xix, 37), moved by the sighs and tears of the whole Church, by grieving for the injuries offered to the supreme King, will return to the heart (Isaias xlvi, 8), lest perchance being hardened in their faults, when they see Him whom they pierced “coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matth. xxvi, 64), too late and in vain they shall bewail themselves because of Him (Cf. Apoc. i, 7). But the just shall be justified and shall be sanctified still (Cf. Apoc. xxii. 11) and they will devote themselves wholly and with new ardor to the service of their King, when they see Him contemned and attacked and assailed with so many and such great insults, but more than all will they burn with zeal for the eternal salvation of souls when they have pondered on the complaint of the Divine Victim: “What profit is there in my blood?” (Psalm xxix, 10), and likewise on the joy that will be felt by the same Most Sacred Heart of Jesus “upon one sinner doing penance” (Luke xv, 10). And this indeed we more especially and vehemently desire and confidently expect, that the just and merciful God who would have spared Sodom for the sake of ten just men, will much more be ready to spare the whole race of men, when He is moved by the humble petitions and happily appeased by the prayers of the community of the faithful praying together in union with Christ their Mediator and Head, in the name of all. And now lastly may the most benign Virgin Mother of God smile on this purpose and on these desires of ours; for since she brought forth for us Jesus our Redeemer, and nourished Him, and offered Him as a victim by the Cross, by her mystic union with Christ and His very special grace she likewise became and is piously called a reparatress. Trusting in her intercession with Christ, who whereas He is the “one mediator of God and men” (1 Timothy ii, 5), chose to make His Mother the advocate of sinners, and the minister and mediatress of grace, as an earnest of heavenly gifts and as a token of Our paternal affection we most lovingly impart the Apostolic Blessing to you, Venerable Brethren, and to all the flock committed to your care. (Pope Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, May 8, 1928.)
Note, please, once again this particular paragraph from Pope Pius XI’s Miserentissimus Redemptor, which even more applicable today than when it was written eighty-five years ago:
But all these evils as it were culminate in the cowardice and the sloth of those who, after the manner of the sleeping and fleeing disciples, wavering in their faith, miserably forsake Christ when He is oppressed by anguish or surrounded by the satellites of Satan, and in the perfidy of those others who following the example of the traitor Judas, either partake of the holy table rashly and sacrilegiously, or go over to the camp of the enemy. And thus, even against our will, the thought rises in the mind that now those days draw near of which Our Lord prophesied: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold” (Matth. xxiv, 12). (Pope Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, May 8, 1928.)
We can never abandon the cause of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen, which is why we must enthrone these twin Hearts of love in our homes so that they can pulsate through every aspect of every nation in the world. Keep in mind these stirring words of Pope Pius XI in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922:
There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such an institution is the Church of Christ. She alone is adapted to do this great work, for she is not only divinely commissioned to lead mankind, but moreover, because of her very make-up and the constitution which she possesses, by reason of her age-old traditions and her great prestige, which has not been lessened but has been greatly increased since the close of the War, cannot but succeed in such a venture where others assuredly will fail.
It is apparent from these considerations that true peace, the peace of Christ, is impossible unless we are willing and ready to accept the fundamental principles of Christianity, unless we are willing to observe the teachings and obey the law of Christ, both in public and private life. If this were done, then society being placed at last on a sound foundation, the Church would be able, in the exercise of its divinely given ministry and by means of the teaching authority which results therefrom, to protect all the rights of God over men and nations.
It is possible to sum up all We have said in one word, “the Kingdom of Christ.” For Jesus Christ reigns over the minds of individuals by His teachings, in their hearts by His love, in each one’s life by the living according to His law and the imitating of His example. Jesus reigns over the family when it, modeled after the holy ideals of the sacrament of matrimony instituted by Christ, maintains unspotted its true character of sanctuary. In such a sanctuary of love, parental authority is fashioned after the authority of God, the Father, from Whom, as a matter of fact, it originates and after which even it is named. (Ephesians iii, 15) The obedience of the children imitates that of the Divine Child of Nazareth, and the whole family life is inspired by the sacred ideals of the Holy Family. Finally, Jesus Christ reigns over society when men recognize and reverence the sovereignty of Christ, when they accept the divine origin and control over all social forces, a recognition which is the basis of the right to command for those in authority and of the duty to obey for those who are subjects, a duty which cannot but ennoble all who live up to its demands. Christ reigns where the position in society which He Himself has assigned to His Church is recognized, for He bestowed on the Church the status and the constitution of a society which, by reason of the perfect ends which it is called upon to attain, must be held to be supreme in its own sphere; He also made her the depository and interpreter of His divine teachings, and, by consequence, the teacher and guide of every other society whatsoever, not of course in the sense that she should abstract in the least from their authority, each in its own sphere supreme, but that she should really perfect their authority, just as divine grace perfects human nature, and should give to them the assistance necessary for men to attain their true final end, eternal happiness, and by that very fact make them the more deserving and certain promoters of their happiness here below. (Pope Pius XI, Ubi Aranco Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922.)
Pope Pius XI reiterated these themes in Quas Primas, December 11, 1925, the encyclical letter that institute the Feast of the Universal Kingship of Jesus Christ, a Kingship that starts in our own homes:
Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.
The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God. If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection. It is Our fervent desire, Venerable Brethren, that those who are without the fold may seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ, and that we, who by the mercy of God are of the household of the faith, may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy, with love, with devotion; that having lived our lives in accordance with the laws of God’s kingdom, we may receive full measure of good fruit, and counted by Christ good and faithful servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal bliss and glory with him in his heavenly kingdom. (Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas, December 11, 1925.)
We must be serious about making Christ the King of our hearts so that He can reign, along with His Queen Mother, as the King and center of all men and all nations at all times until the end of the world. Anyone who thinks we can retard the evils of the day by keeping silence about Our Lord and His Social Kingship is a fool. We cannot fight secularism with secularism of any stripe. We can only fight secularism with Catholicism, which is the sole foundation of personal and social order.
We rejoice today in the fact that we are loved with an unmerited love that is beyond our comprehension. With true and deep sorrow for our many sins but with a firm confidence in the ineffable Mercy of the Divine Redeemer that is contained in His Most Sacred Heart, may we never take this love for granted, flying unto the patronage of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she who is the Queen of All of the Saints, to help us drink always from the fountain of love that is the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus now and unto eternity.
Have a blessed and glorious feast day of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now, and at the hour of our death.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.