The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus : Threee moments of the day with the Sacred Heart
One of the default themes in the repertoire of Pope Francis is an emphasis on God’s mercy towards us. The compassion and mercy of God are expressed in many ways. A traditional way in the month of June is devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The images that graced the walls of our parents’ and grandparents’ walls don’t always work for younger people.
As a matter of fact, they turn off many people. That’s why it’s great that the Gospel and the Church have such a variety of images of the love and mercy of God.
I’ve been reading a new resource that gives an Ignatian perspective on praying throughout the day to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. Christopher Collins, S.J. has a new book: Three Moments of the Day. The three moments he refers to are the Morning Offering, the Examen, and the Eucharist.
Each of these moments allows us to walk closely with God. Each of those moments are centred on self-offering. His book very nicely weaves together the Sacred Heart devotion and Ignatian spirituality. Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., formerly the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer in the United States, sums up the book very succinctly.
“We begin each day by accepting the day as a gift from God and offering it back to God. Then we try to live our day conscious of the offering that we have made, reminding ourselves from time to time to offer up the moments of the day. … And, at the end of the day, we look back on the offering we’ve made both with gratitude for the role we have played in the ongoing salvation of the world and with sorrow for those things in the day we offered which were really not worthy of God.”
Fr. Collins reminds us that devotion to the Heart of Christ – “devotion to the love God shows us in the flesh of his Son” – should remain the centre of our lives as Christians. In simple terms, the Gospel is ultimately about the love of God for each one of us and about our call to be a source of God’s love for the world.
He quotes Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), as saying at a 1981 conference that devotion to the Sacred Heart is not just one devotion among others. It is the Christian devotion. “The Christian God has a heart of flesh.”
There are, then, three moments. The first is a morning offering, promising to live this day in union with God. I can use the traditional morning offering, or I can compose my own.
The second, the Ignatian Examen of Consciousness is a great way to end the day, looking back at the movements of my day through God’s eyes.
The third moment covers the spiritual reality of the entire day. How can my Eucharistic experience, however frequently I participate, carry me through the rhythms of the day? As the Church celebrates the Feast of the Sacred Heart, let’s take time to reflect on how I carry a sense of the Heart of God into the moments of my time.
This is also the World Day of Prayer for Priests. That day coincides with the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops reminds us that Catholics worldwide are urged to pray for Priests on this day. Saint John Paul II began the day in 2002 with the objective of having all Catholic faithful join in prayer for the sanctification of Priests.