The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Missa “Cogitatiónes Cordis”
Sixteenth century Calvinism and seventeenth century Jansenism preached a distorted Christianity that substituted for God’s love and sacrifice of His Son for all men the fearful idea that a whole section of humanity was inexorably damned.
The Church always countered this view with the infinite love of our Savior who died on the cross for all men. The institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart was soon to contribute to the creation among the faithful of a powerful current of devotion which since then has grown steadily stronger. The first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart were composed by St. John Eudes, but the institution of the feast was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675.
Benedict XVI speaking of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus said: “In biblical language, “heart” indicates the centre of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell. In the Heart of the Redeemer we adore God’s love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy. Practising devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 5 June 2005).
The call which comes from this important feast day is first of all a call to Eucharistic adoration, because in the Sacred Host the Lord Jesus is truly present and He offers each of us His Heart, His Merciful Love. To spend time in the Presence of the Eucharistic Lord, to adore Him, is the best expression of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which, as we know, spread all over the world thanks to Jesus’ revelations to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century: “Behold the Heart which so loved mankind”!
The deepest longing of Christ’s Heart is that we discover how much he loves us, the extent of his tender love for creatures who, cooled by their selfishness, look only inwards at themselves, as if they were afraid to let themselves be loved unconditionally by their Creator, who asks nothing and gives all!
How society, culture, economy, politics today need this Heart! It is really true, the more man distances himself from God-Love the more he becomes ‘heartless’, agitated about a thousand things because he has mislaid the principal one: to let oneself be loved by Christ and to respond to this Love with our love.
INTROIT Ps. 32:11, 19.
The thoughts of His Heart are to all generations: to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine. Ps 32:1 Exult, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. The thoughts of His Heart are to all generations: to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.
O God, Who in the Heart of Your Son, wounded by our sins, mercifully lavish upon us the infinite riches of love, grant, we beseech You, that as we offer Him the faithful service of our devotion, we may also show forth fitting reparation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Eph. 3:8-12, 14-19.
Lesson from the letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians. Brethren: To me, the very least of all saints, there was given this grace, to announce among the Gentiles the good tidings of the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to enlighten all men as to what is the dispensation of the mystery which has been hidden from eternity in God, Who created all things; in order that through the Church there be made known to the Principalities and the Powers in the heavens the manifold wisdom of God according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Him we have assurance and confident access through faith in Him. For this reason I bend my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from Whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth receives its name, that He may grant you from His glorious riches to be strengthened with power through His Spirit unto the progress of the inner man; and to have Christ dwelling through faith in your hearts: so that, being rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, in order that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 24:8-9
Good and upright is the Lord; thus He shows sinners the way. V. He guides the humble to justice; He teaches the humble His way. Matt 11:29 Alleluia, alleluia. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am meek, and humble of heart: and you will find rest for your souls. Alleluia.
GOSPEL John 19:31-37.
At that time, the Jews, since it was the Preparation Day, in order that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath – for that Sabbath was a solemn day, – besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other, who had been crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers opened His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he who saw it has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he tells the truth, that you also may believe. For these things came to pass that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Not a bone of Him shall you break. And again another Scripture says, They shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 68:21.
My heart expected reproach and misery; I looked for sympathy, but there was none; and for comforters, and I found none.
Look, we beseech You, O Lord, upon the Heart of Your beloved Son, with its boundless love, so that what we offer, may be an acceptable gift in Your sight and an atonement for our sins. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Sacred Heart
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who didst will that Thine only-begotten Son, while hanging on the cross, should be pierced by a soldier’s spear, that the Heart thus opened, a shrine of divine bounty, should pour out on us streams of mercy and grace, and that what never ceased to burn with love for us, should be a resting-place to the devout, and open as a refuge of salvation to the penitent. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!
COMMUNION ANTIPHON John 19:34.
One of the soldiers opened His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.
May Your sacrament, O Lord Jesus, give us holy zeal, so that, seeing the sweetness of Your most loving Heart, we may learn to despise the things of earth and love those of heaven. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen.