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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Friday, September 01, 2006

First Friday Devotion

120. When so many evils meet Our gaze - such as cause sharp conflict among individuals, families, nations and the whole world, particularly today more than at any other time - where are We to seek a remedy, venerable brethren? Can a form of devotion surpassing that to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be found, which corresponds better to the essential character of the Catholic faith, which is more capable of assisting the present-day needs of the Church and the human race? What religious practice is more excellent, more attractive, more salutary than this, since the devotion in question is entirely directed towards the love of God itself?(119)
Finally, what more effectively than the love of Christ - which devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus daily increases and fosters more and more - can move the faithful to bring into the activities of life the Law of the Gospel, the setting aside of which, as the words of the Holy Spirit plainly warn, "the work of justice shall be peace,"(120) makes peace worthy of the name completely impossible among men?


For those Fumareconquistas who already know and practice this most excellent devotion, and those who do not, Columcille reminds you all that today is the First Friday of the month.

The above passage ought to remind us of how critical this devotion is to our times. This devotion was reserved especially for our time (so too The Divine Mercy Devotion, which is an organic development of this revelation). There is a little book which is not easy to get (even the publisher, Ignatius Press, no longer lists it on its website), but which is key to understanding the importance of this Devotion to our Holy Father - Benedict XVI.

Also, if you have a copy of the last First Things, there is a very important article in it which gives the historical and political context for the emergence of the Sacred Heart Devotion - The Churches of Earthly Power, by Russell Hittinger.

In it he makes the case that with the rise of Nationalism and its totalizing claims as well as the many accompanying ideologies, this devotion helped the Church to realign its mission not on territorial domains of power but on the interritorial domain of the human heart. It is a good read and helps to understand the surrendering of the Papal States along with the restatement of the universal authority of the Pope on issues of Faith and Morals.

Understanding this historical context gives us insight into our own time and the call to transform the culture. Ours must be a culture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or it will not be much longer.

This devotion is a concrete (or rather fleshy) gateway into the mystical dimensions of our Faith, and the antidote to a world at war within its own heart.

The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart
As given by Our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

12. I promise thee in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that its all-powerful Love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of Nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.