Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Magnanimous, Psalms 23:1-6, Ezekiel 34:11-16, Luke 15:3-7 , Pope Francis Daily Homily - the Virtue of Magnanimity , St. , Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Catholic Catechism Part Three: Life In Christ Section 1 The Dignity of the Human Person Article 1:1 Man The Image of God

Friday,  June 7, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Magnanimous, Psalms 23:1-6, Ezekiel  34:11-16, Luke 15:3-7 , Pope Francis Daily Homily - the Virtue of Magnanimity , St. Willibald , Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Catholic Catechism Part Three: Life  In Christ Section 1 The Dignity of the Human Person Article 1:1  Man The Image of God

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Friday in Easter

Rosary - Sorrowful Mysteries


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis June 7 General Audience Address :

Magnanimity: this virtue of the great and of the small 

that makes us always look to the horizon. 

(Non coerceri maximo contineri minimo, divinum est)

(2013-06-07 Vatican Radio)
Pope Francis met with hundreds of students from Italian and Albanian Jesuit grade schools and high schools in an audience in the Paul VI Hall on Friday. Below, is Vatican Radio’s translation of the Pope’s official text for the meeting. At the sight of the enthusiastic young people, the Pope spontaneously decided to enter into a question-and-answer session with the students. A report will follow.

Dear children, dear young people!
I am happy to receive you with your families, the educators and friends of the big family of the Jesuit schools of Italy and Albania. To all of you, my affectionate greeting: welcome! With all of you, I feel truly that I am “with family”. And it brings special joy that our meeting coincides with the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I would like you tell you first of all one thing in reference to St. Ignatius of Loyola, our founder. In the autumn of 1537, going to Rome with a group of his first companions, he asked himself: if they ask us who we are, what will we respond? Spontaneously, the response came: “We’ll say that we are the ‘Society of Jesus’!” (Fontes Narrativi Societatis Iesu, vol. 1, pp. 320-322). A challenging name, which indicated a relationship of very close friendship, of total affection for Jesus, whose footsteps they wanted to follow. Why did I recount this fact to you? Because St. Ignatius and his companions had understood that Jesus taught them how to live well, how to create a life that would have profound meaning, joy and hope; they understood that Jesus is a great master of life and a model for life, and that he not only taught them, but was also inviting them to follow him on this path.

Dear children, if I were to ask you the question now: why do you go to school, what would you answer me? Probably there would be many responses according to each of your feelings. But I think it could all be summarized saying that school is one of the educational environments in which we grow to learn to live, to become adult and mature men and women, capable of walking, of going along the road of life. How does school help you to grow? It helps you not only in the development of your intelligence, but with an integral formation of all of the components of your personality.

Following that which St. Ignatius teaches us, the principle element of school is to learn to be magnanimous. Magnanimity: this virtue of the great and of the small (Non coerceri maximo contineri minimo, divinum est), that makes us always look to the horizon. What does it mean to be magnanimous? It means to have a big heart, to have a great spirit; it means to have great ideals, the desire to do great things to respond to that which God asks of us, and exactly this doing of daily things well, all of the daily acts, obligations, encounters with people; doing everyday small things with a big heart open to God and to others. It is important, therefore, to tend to human formation aimed at magnanimity. School not only expands your intellectual dimension, but also the human (dimension). And I think in a particular way, Jesuit schools are attentive to developing human virtues: loyalty, respect, faithfulness, commitment. I would like to pause on two fundamental values: freedom and service.
Firstly, be people who are free! What do I mean? Perhaps we think freedom is doing everything we want; or venturing into high-risk activities to experience a thrill or to overcome boredom. This is not freedom. Freedom means knowing how to reflect on that which we do, to know how to evaluate that which is good and that which is bad, those behaviours that make us grow, it means always choosing good. We have freedom for the good. And, in this, do not be afraid to go against the current, even if it is not easy! To be free to always choose the good is challenging, but it will make you people who have backbone, who know how to face life, (and) people with courage and patience (parresia e ypomoné). The second word is service. In your schools, you participate in various activities that habituate you to not be closed in on yourselves and in your little world, but to open yourselves to others, especially the poorest and neediest, to work to better the world in which we live. Be men and women with others and for others, true champions in the service of others.

To be magnanimous with interior freedom and in a spirit of service is necessary for spiritual formation. Dear children, dear young people, always love Jesus Christ more! Our lives are a response to his call and you will be happy and you will build your lives well if you will know how to respond to this call. Feel the presence of the Lord in your lives. He is close to each of you as your companion, as a friend, who knows how to help you and to understand you, who encourages you in difficult moments and never abandons you. In prayer, in dialogue with him, in the reading of the Bible, you will discover that he is truly close to you. And learn, as well, to read the signs of God in your lives. He always speaks to us, even through the facts of our age and of our daily existence; it is up to us to listen to him.

I do not want to be too long, but I would like to address a specific word also to the educators: the Jesuits, teachers, school staff and parents. Do not be discouraged before the difficulties that the educational challenge presents! Educating is not a job but an attitude, a way of being; to educate we need to step out of ourselves and stay among young people, to accompany them in the stages of their growth, placing ourselves at their side. Give them hope, optimism for their journey in the world. Teach them to see the beauty and the goodness of creation and of humanity, which always retain the imprint of the Creator. But most of all, be witnesses with your lives of that which you communicate. An educator – a Jesuit, teacher, school staff, parent – transmits knowledge and values with his words, but he will be incisive on the children if he accompanies his words with his witness, with the coherence of his life. Without coherence, it is not possible to educate! You are all educators, there are no proxies in this field. Therefore, collaboration in a spirit of unity and community among the different educational components is essential and must be encouraged and nourished. The school can and must be a catalyst, the place of encounter and convergence for the entire educating community, with the sole objective of forming (youth), helping (them) to grow as mature persons, simple, competent and honest, and who know how to love with fidelity, who know how to live life as a response to the vocation of God and their future profession as a service to society. To Jesuits, then, I would like to say that it is important to nourish their commitment in the field of education. Schools are a precious instrument that make a contribution to the journey of the Church and of all of society. The educational field, then, is not limited to conventional schools. Encourage each other to seek new non-conventional forms of education, according to “the need of the places, times and people”.

Finally, a greeting to all of the alumni present, to the representatives of the Italian schools in the Fe y Alegria network, which I know well for the great work it does in South America, especially among the poorest classes. And a special greeting to the delegation of the Albanian College of Scutari which, after the long years of repression of religious institutions, in 1994 took up its activities once again, welcoming and educating Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim children and also some students born in agnostic families. In this way, school becomes a place of dialogue and serene encounter that promotes attitudes of respect, listening, friendship and a spirit of collaboration.

Dear friends, I thank you all for this meeting. I entrust you to the maternal intercession of Mary and I accompany you with my blessing: the Lord be always near you, pick you up from your falls and urge you to grow and to make always greater choices “with great courage and generosity”, with magnanimity. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam.


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope: Summer

Vatican City, Summer2013 (VIS)
Following is the calendar of celebrations scheduled to be presided over by the Holy Father for the Summer of 2013:


16 June, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 10:30am, Mass for “Evangelium Vitae” Day in St. Peter's Square.

29 Saturday, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul: 9:30am, Mass and imposition of the pallium upon new metropolitans in the papal chapel.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household has released Pope Francis' agenda for the summer period, from July through to the end of August. Briefing journalists, Holy See Press Office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed that the Pope will remain 'based ' at the Casa Santa Marta residence in Vatican City State for the duration of the summer.

As per tradition, all private and special audiences are suspended for the duration of the summer. The Holy Father's private Masses with employees will end July 7 and resume in September. The Wednesday general audiences are suspended for the month of July to resume August 7 at the Vatican.

7 July, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 9:30am, Mass with seminarians and novices in the Vatican Basilica.

14 July Sunday , Pope Francis will lead the Angelus prayer from the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

Pope Francis will travel to Brazil for the 28th World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro from Monday July 22 to Monday July 29.  


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 06/07/2013.


June 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children, in this restless time, anew I am calling you to set out after my Son - to follow Him. I know of the pain, suffering and difficulties, but in my Son you will find rest; in Him you will find peace and salvation. My children, do not forget that my Son redeemed you by His Cross and enabled you, anew, to be children of God; to be able to, anew, call the Heavenly Father, "Father". To be worthy of the Father, love and forgive, because your Father is love and forgiveness. Pray and fast, because that is the way to your purification, it is the way of coming to know and becoming cognizant of the Heavenly Father. When you become cognizant of the Father, you will comprehend that He is all you need. I, as a mother, desire my children to be in a community of one single people where the Word of God is listened to and carried out.* Therefore, my children, set out after my Son. Be one with Him. Be God's children. Love your shepherds as my Son loved them when He called them to serve you. Thank you." *Our Lady said this resolutely and with emphasis.

May 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:“Dear children! Today I call you to be strong and resolute in faith and prayer, until your prayers are so strong so as to open the Heart of my beloved Son Jesus. Pray little children, pray without ceasing until your heart opens to God’s love. I am with you and I intercede for all of you and I pray for your conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

May 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children; Anew, I am calling you to love and not to judge. My Son, according to the will of the Heavenly Father, was among you to show you the way of salvation, to save you and not to judge you. If you desire to follow my Son, you will not judge but love like your Heavenly Father loves you. And when it is the most difficult for you, when you are falling under the weight of the cross do not despair, do not judge, instead remember that you are loved and praise the Heavenly Father because of His love. My children, do not deviate from the way on which I am leading you. Do not recklessly walk into perdition. May prayer and fasting strengthen you so that you can live as the Heavenly Father would desire; that you may be my apostles of faith and love; that your life may bless those whom you meet; that you may be one with the Heavenly Father and my Son. My children, that is the only truth, the truth that leads to your conversion, and then to the conversion of all those whom you meet - those who have not come to know my Son - all those who do not know what it means to love. My children, my Son gave you a gift of the shepherds. Take good care of them. Pray for them. Thank you."


Today's Word:  magnanimous  eth·i·cal  [mag-nan-uh-muhs]  

Origin:  1575–85;  < Latin magnanimus  great-souled, equivalent to magn ( us ) magn- + anim ( us ) spirit, soul, mind + -us -ous
1. generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness: to be magnanimous toward one's enemies.
2. high-minded; noble: a just and magnanimous ruler.
3. proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind, character, etc.: a magnanimous gesture of forgiveness.


Today's Old Testament Reading -   Psalms 23:1-6

1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 In grassy meadows he lets me lie. By tranquil streams he leads me
3 to restore my spirit. He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits his name.
4 Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death I should fear no danger, for you are at my side. Your staff and your crook are there to soothe me.
5 You prepare a table for me under the eyes of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup brims over.
6 Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life. I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come.


Today's Epistle -  Ezekiel 34:11-16

11 "For the Lord Yahweh says this: Look, I myself shall take care of my flock and look after it.
12 As a shepherd looks after his flock when he is with his scattered sheep, so shall I look after my sheep. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered on the day of clouds and darkness.
13 I shall bring them back from the peoples where they are; I shall gather them back from the countries and bring them back to their own land. I shall pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the inhabited parts of the country.
14 I shall feed them in good pasturage; the highest mountains of Israel will be their grazing ground. There they will rest in good grazing grounds; they will browse in rich pastures on the mountains of Israel.
15 I myself shall pasture my sheep, I myself shall give them rest -- declares the Lord Yahweh.
16 I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the injured and make the sick strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 15:3-7

The lost and found sheep
The true conversion: from justice to mercy

Opening prayer
My Father, I come before You today with a sorrowful heart, because I know I am among the number of those, who even though they are sinners, believe to be just. I feel within myself the weight of my heart made of rock and of iron. Today, I would also like to be among those who get close to Your Son to listen to Him; I would like to stop doing like the Pharisees and the Scribes who, before your love, murmur and criticize. 

I beg You, my Lord, touch my heart with your words, with your presence and win it over with only a look, with only one of your caresses. Take me to your table, so that I can also eat your good bread, or even just the crumbs, Your Son Jesus, grain of wheat, who became spike and nourishment of salvation. Do not leave me outside, but allow me to enter to the table of your mercy. Amen.

a) Text:Luke 15, 3-7
3 So he told them this parable: 4 'Which one of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till he found it? 5 And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders 6 and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost." 7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance.

b) The context:
This brief passage constitutes only the beginning of the great chapter 15 of the Gospel of Luke, a very central chapter, almost in the heart of the Gospel and of its message. Here, in fact, are enclosed the three accounts of the mercy, like one only parable: the sheep, the coin and the son, are an image of one only reality, they bear in themselves all the richness and the preciousness of man before God’s eyes, the Father. Here is the last significance of the Incarnation and of the life of Christ in the world: the salvation of all, Jews and Greeks, slaves or free men, men or women. Nobody should remain outside the banquet of mercy.

In fact, precisely the previous chapter to this one narrates the invitation to the table of the king and also gives to us this call: “Come, everything is ready!”. God is waiting for us, next to the place that He has prepared for us, so that we can be His guests, so as to make us also participate in His joy.

c) The Structure:
Verse 3 is the introduction and connects us with the previous situation, that is the one in which Luke describes the joyful movement, of love and conversion, of the sinners and publicans, who without fear, continue to get close to Jesus to listen to Him. It is here that the murmuring, the anger, the criticism are triggered and therefore, the refusal of the Pharisees and the Scribes, convinced of having in themselves justice and truth.

Therefore, the parable that follows, which is structured in three accounts, wants to be the response of Jesus to this murmuring; in last instance, the response to our criticism, to our grumbling and mumbling against Him and His inexplicable love.

Verse 4 begins with a rhetoric question, which already presupposes a negative response: nobody would act as the Good Shepherd, as Christ. And it is precisely there, in his behaviour, in his love for us, for all, where his truth is. Verses 5 and 6 tell the story, they describe the actions, the sentiments of the shepherd: his search, his fatigue, his joy which become tenderness and care for the sheep that has been found, the sharing of this joy with the friends. At the end, with verse 7, Luke wants to depict the face of God, personified in Heaven: He anxiously waits for the return of all his children. He is a God, a Father who loves sinners, who recognize themselves in need of his mercy, of his embrace and he cannot be pleased with those who believe themselves to be just and remain far away from Him.


a) A moment of prayerful silence:
Now, as the Publican and the sinners, I also desire to get close to the Lord Jesus to listen to his words, to pay attention with heart and mind, to everything which He wants to tell me. Then, I open myself, I allow myself to be reached by his voice, by his look on me, which reaches me to the depth of my being…

b) Some ways to deepening:
“Which one among you?”
It is necessary to begin by this strong question of Jesus, addressed to his interlocutors at that moment, but also addressed to us today. We are seriously placed before ourselves, to understand who we are, how we are in the depth of ourselves. “Who is a true man among us?”, says Jesus. Like a few verses further down he will say: “Which woman?”. It is more or less the same question which the Psalmist asked, when he said: “What is man?” (8, 5) and which Job repeated, speaking with God: “What is this man?” (7, 17).

Therefore, here we, in this brief account of Jesus, in this parable of the mercy, we find the truth: we succeed to understand who is truly a man among us. But in order to do this, it is necessary that we encounter God, hidden in these verses, because we must confront ourselves with Him, we must mirror ourselves in Him and find ourselves. The behaviour of the shepherd with his sheep tells us what we should do, how we should be and reveals to us how we are in reality, it shows us our nakedness and our wounds, our profound sickness. We, who believe that we are gods, we are not even men.

Let us see why…
"Ninety nine – one”
Behold that God’s light immediately places us in confrontation with a very strong reality, shocking for us. In this Gospel we find, a flock, one as many others, quite numerous, perhaps belonging to a wealthy man: one hundred sheep. A perfect, symbolical, divine number. The fullness of the children of God, all of us, each one, one by one, nobody can remain excluded. But in this reality, an unthinkable thing happens: a great, unbalanced maximum division is created. On the one hand 99 sheep and on the other only one. There is no acceptable proportion here. And just the same these are God’s ways. Immediately we think and ask ourselves, to which group do we belong. Are we among the 99? Or are we that only one, that is alone, so great, so important so as to be the counterpart of the rest of the flock?

Let us look attentively to the text. The only sheep, the one alone, immediately emerges from the group because it is lost, gets lost, in one word, lives a negative experience, a dangerous one, perhaps even a mortal one. But, surprisingly, the shepherd does not allow it to leave like that, he does not wash his hands; rather he abandons the others, who had remained with him and goes to look for it. Is such a thing possible? Can an abandonment of this dimension be justified? Here we began to enter into crisis, because surely it came spontaneous to us to classify ourselves as being among the 99, who remained faithful. And instead, the shepherd goes and runs in search of the bad one, the one which did not merit anything, but only the solicitude and the abandonment which it sought for itself.

And then what happens? The shepherd does not give up immediately, he does not even think of returning or going back, he does not seem to be concerned about his other sheep, the 99. The text says that he “goes “on” after the lost one, until he finds it”. The preposition is most interesting “on”; it seems almost a picture of the shepherd, who bends down with the heart, with the thought, with the body on that only sheep. He searches the land, seeks for the prints, which he most surely knows and which he has engraved on his hands (Is 49, 16); he questions the silence, to hear if there is still an echo of its bleating at a distance. He calls it by name, he repeats the conventional sign, the one with which each day he has welcomed and accompanied it. And finally, he finds it. Yes, it could not be otherwise. But there is no punishment, no violence, no harshness. Only an infinite love and an overflowing joy. Luke says: “He places it on his shoulders very happily…”. And he rejoices, celebrates at home, with his friends and neighbours. The text does not even say if the shepherd returned to the desert to take back the other 99 sheep.

Before all this, it is clear, very clear, that we should be that only one, that sheep which was alone, loved so much, preferred in that way. We should recognize that if we are lost, that we have sinned, that without the shepherd we are nothing. This is the great passage that the word of the Gospel calls us to fulfil, today: to free ourselves from the weight of our presumed justice, to remove or set aside the yoke of our self-sufficiency and also that we place ourselves on the side of sinners, of the impure, of robbers.
Behold why Jesus begins by asking us: “Which man among you?”

“In the desert”
This is the place of the just, of those who believe that they are right, without sin, without a stain. They have not as yet entered into the Promised Land, they are outside, far away, excluded from the joy, from the mercy. Like those who have not accepted the invitation to the banquet of the king and who withdrew, some with one excuse, others with another.

In the desert and not in the house, just like the only one. Not at the table of the shepherd, where there is good and substantial bread, where there is the wine which rejoices the heart. The table prepared by the Lord: His Body and His Blood. Where the Shepherd becomes Himself the sheep, the immolated Lamb, nourishment of life.
He who does not love his brother, who does not open his heart to mercy, like the Shepherd of the flock does, cannot enter into the house, but remains outside. The desert is his inheritance, his dwelling place. And in the desert there is no food, no water, no pasture, neither enclosure for the sheep.

Jesus eats together with sinners, with the publicans, with the prostitutes, with the least, the excluded and prepares the table, his banquet with rich dishes and excellent wine, with tasty food (Is 25, 6). He also invites us to this table.

c) Interesting Parallel Passages:

2 Samuel 12, 1-4:
In the same town were two men, one rich, the other poor. The rich man had flocks and herds in great abundance; the poor man had nothing but a ewe lamb, only a single little one which he had bought. He fostered it and it grew up with him and his children, eating his bread, drinking from his cup, sleeping in his arms; it was like a daughter to him…..
Matthew 9, 10-13:
Now while he was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?' 12 When he heard this he replied, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. 13 Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. And indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'

Luke 7, 39:
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is and what sort of person it is who is touching him and what a bad name she has.'

Luke 5, 27-32:
When he went out after this, he noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting at the tax office, and said to him, 'Follow me.' And leaving everything Levi got up and followed him. In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, 'Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?' Jesus said to them in reply, 'It is not those that are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have come to call not the upright but sinners to repentance.'

Matthew 21, 31-32:
Jesus said to them, 'In truth I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, showing the way of uprightness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.

d) Brief comments of the spiritual tradition of Carmel:

S. Therese of the Child Jesus:
Speaking of Father Giacinto Loyson, who had left the Carmelite Order and then abandoned the Church, Theresa writes to Celine as follows: “It is certain that Jesus desires much more than we do to lead back this poor lost sheep to the flock…” (L 129).
“Jesus deprives his sheep from his sensible presence, in order to give his consolation to sinners…” (L 142).
Speaking about Pranzini, of whom she had read his conversion at the supreme moment, just before his execution, when taking the crucifix, he kissed the holy wounds, she writes: “Then his soul went to receive the merciful sentence of the One who declares that in Heaven there will be greater joy for one sinner alone who does penance than for 99 just ones who do not need to do penance…” (MA 46 r)

Blessed Elizabeth:
“The priest in the confessional is the minister of this God who is so good, who leaves his 99 faithful sheep to run and look for the one alone which got lost…” Diary, 13.03.1899).

Saint John of the Cross:
“His desire was so great that the Spouse would liberate and redeem his spouse from the hands of sensuality and of the devil, that having accomplished this, he rejoices like the good Shepherd who, after having gone around very much, he finds the lost sheep and with great joy places it on his shoulders” (CB XXI, Annotation)

Some questions:
● “… having lost only one of them…” The Gospel immediately calls our attention on the strong and painful reality of getting lost, of the loss. That one sheep of the flock stranded away from the road, separated from the others. It is not a question only of an event, something that happened, but rather it is a characteristic of the sheep; in fact, in verse 6 it is called ‘the lost one’, almost as if this was its true name.

Here is the starting point, the truth. Because it is speaking about us. We are the dispersed sons, the lost ones, the erring ones; that is, the sinners, the publicans. It is useless to continue to believe that we are just, to consider ourselves better than others, worthy of the Kingdom, of God’s presence, almost with the right to grumble, to murmur against Jesus who, instead, pays attention to those who make a mistake. I should ask myself, before this Gospel, if I am ready to fulfil or go through this profound course of conversion, of a very strong interior revision. I must decide myself on which side I want to be: if to allow myself to be carried on the shoulders of the shepherd or to remain at a distance, that is alone, with my own justice. But if I do not know how to use mercy, if I do not know how to accept, to forgive, to esteem, how can I expect all this for myself?

● “…the 99 in the desert…” I should open the eyes on this reality: the desert. Where do I believe that I am? Where do I live? Where do I walk? Which are my pastures? Do I believe that I am secure, that I dwell in the house of the Lord, among his faithful sons, but perhaps it is truly like that. The Psalm says: “In grassy meadow, the Lord lets me lie”. But do I feel that I am in this rest? Then, why am I so anxious, restless, unsatisfied, always searching something more, better, greater? I look at my life: is it not a bit of a desert? Where there is no love and compassion, where I remain closed up to my brothers and sisters and I do not know how to accept them as they are, with their limitations, with the errors that they commit, in the sufferings, that perhaps they inflict on me, there the desert begins, there I am less and there I feel hungry and thirsty. This is the moment to allow my heart to be changed: to recognize myself as miserable in order to become merciful.

● “… he goes after the lost sheep until he finds it…” We have seen that the text describes very delicately the action of the shepherd: he leaves behind all the sheep and goes to look for the only one which is lost. The verb may seem a bit strange, but it is very effective. Like Hosea says concerning God, that He speaks to His People whom He loves, like to a spouse: “There I will speak to her heart” (2, 16). It is a movement, it is being carried by love; a patient bending down, tenacious, which does not give up, but which always insists. In fact, the true love is never diminished. The Lord acts in this way towards each one of his sons. Also toward me. If I look back, if I rethink about my own history , I become aware of how much love, how much patience, how much pain, He has also experienced for me, to find me, to give me back that which I wasted and lost. He has never abandoned me. I recognize this, it is truly like that.

But, at this point, what do I do, with such gratuitous love, such great love, overflowing love? If I keep it closed up in my heart, it gets lost. It cannot be kept until the following day, like the manna; otherwise it gets worms, it becomes rotten. Today, I have to hand it over, distribute it, diffuse it. Beware, if I do not love. And I try to think about my attitude toward my brothers and sisters, those whom I meet every day, with whom I share my life. How do I behave before them? At least, am I similar, in some way to the beautiful shepherd, to the good shepherd, who goes out to seek, who gets close to, who bends down with tenderness, attention, friendship, or even with love? Or am I superficial, truly I am not concerned about anybody, I leave each one to make his own choice, to live his own sorrows, without being ready, in any way, to share with him, to bear them together? What kind of a brother or sister am I? What father or mother am I?

● “Rejoice with me!”. This passage ends with a feast, which then becomes a true and proper banquet, according to the description which Luke gives at the end of the parable. A king’s meal, a solemn feast, with the best dishes, held apart, to fatten the animal, for the occasion, with the most beautiful dresses, with shoes on the feet and the ring on the finger. A joy which always becomes greater, which is contagious, a joy together. This is the invitation which the Father, the King, addresses to us every day, every morning; He desires that we also participate in his joy because of the return of his sons, our brothers. Does this upset me, get me angry? Would I rather want to remain peacefully, perhaps with a threatening face of one who wants to settle the accounts with the errors, with the loss of one or the other? Is my heart open, is it ready for this joy of God? Or do I prefer to remain outside, perhaps to recriminate or reproach what seems to me that is not given, that is, the part of the patrimony which corresponds to me, the special prize or reward to celebrate with whomever I wish? But I understand well that if I do not enter now to God’s banquet, where the poor have been invited, the limping, the cripple, the blind, those whom nobody wants; if I do not participate in the common joy of mercy, I will remain outside forever, sad, closed up in myself, in darkness and weeping, as the Gospel says.

a) Psalm 102, 1-4, 8-13
The Lord is good and great in His love.
Bless Yahweh, my soul,
from the depths of my being,
his holy name;
bless Yahweh, my soul,
never forget all his acts of kindness.
He forgives all your offences,
cures all your diseases,
he redeems your life from the abyss,
crowns you with faithful love and tenderness;
Yahweh is tenderness and pity,
slow to anger and rich in faithful love;
his indignation does not last for ever,
nor his resentment remain for all time;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve,
nor repay us as befits our offences.
As the height of heaven above earth,
so strong is his faithful love for those who fear him.
As the distance of east from west,
so far from us does he put our faults.
As tenderly as a father treats his children,
so Yahweh treats those who fear him;

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St Willibald

Feast DayJune 7

Patron Saint:  n/a
Attributes:  n/a

St Willibald
Saint Willibald (born in Wessex c.700 and died c.787 in Eichstätt) was an 8th-century bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria.

Information about his life is largely drawn from the Hodoeporicon of Saint Willibald, a text written in the 8th century by Huneberc, an Anglo-Saxon nun from Heidenheim am Hahnenkamm who knew Willibald and his brother personally.[1] The text of the Hodoeporicon was dictated to Huneberc by Willibald shortly before he died.

His brother was Saint Winibald and his sister was Saint Walburga. He was also related through his mother to Saint Boniface, and he was ordained to the priesthood and episcopacy by Boniface.[2][3]

Today Willibald is regarded as one of the most travelled Anglo-Saxons of his time, and some argue that he was the first known Englishman to visit the Holy Land.[4] His shrine is at the Eichstätt Cathedral in Germany, where his body and relics from his journeys are preserved.  His feast day is the 7th of July.


Willibald was born in Wessex on 21 October around the year 700. At the age of three, Willibald suffered from a debilitating weakness that made it difficult for him to breathe. The illness nearly took his life, until his parents prayed to God, vowing to commit Willibald to a monastic life if he was to be spared from death. Miraculously, Willibald survived and at the age of five was received into a Benedictine monastery called Waldheim (now Bishop's Waltham) in Hampshire, England. Willibald spent his early childhood in prayer and contemplation, practising the monasticism created by his relative, Saint Boniface. In the year 722 Willibald decided to partake on a pilgrimage with his father and brother, Saint Winibald. The journey would take several years and Huneberc provides detailed descriptions of the locations and people visited. Despite visiting a diverse group of peoples, Willibald's priority was not evangelisation but exploration, and there is little evidence of successful or attempted conversions in the Hodoeporicon while travelling through Palestine.[5]



After departing by ship the group arrived in Rouen, France visiting shrines and spending much of their time in prayer. Eventually they arrived in Lucca, a city in northern Italy. It was here that Willibald’s father became gravely ill and died. After burying their father Willibald and Winibald continued on their journey, travelling through Italy until they reached Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. They spent some time in Italy, strengthening in devotion and discipline, but soon the two brothers became ill with the Black Plague. Hunebrec recounts the disease and miraculous recovery:
Then with the passing of the days and the increasing heat of the summer, which is usually a sign of future fever, they were struck down with sickness. They found it difficult to breathe, fever set in, and at one moment they were shivering with cold, the next burning with heat. They had caught the black plague. So great a hold had it got on them that, scarcely able to move, worn out with fever and almost at the point of death, the breath of life had practically left their bodies. But God in His never failing providence and fatherly love deigned to listen to their prayers and come to their aid, so that each of them rested in turn for one week whilst they attended to each other's needs.[6]
Willibald and Winibald would recover from the illness and shortly thereafter continued on to Asia, approximately three years since Willibald left his monastery.


Accompanied by two unnamed companions and brother, Willibald departed from Naples, Italy and eventually arrived in the city of Ephesus in Asia, visiting Sicily and Greece along the way. In Ephesus they visited the tomb of Saint John the Evangelist. They then continued on to Patara, where they waited out the winter, and then travelled to Mount Chelidonium, almost dying of hunger and thirst as they attempted to cross.

They departed by boat and arrived on the island of Cyprus. Following a stay in Cyprus they reached Antadoros (now called Tartus) where they had an audience with a Greek bishop and visited the church of Saint John the Baptist. It was here that his decapitated head was housed as a relic for pilgrims.

Return to Italy and Monte Cassino

After waiting for some time in Jerusalem Willibald was able to find a ship and he sailed for the entirety of the winter until reaching the city of Constantinople. He decided to remain in Constantinople for two years and was provided with a small room in a local church. He spent part of this time in Nicaea, visiting a church and studying documents from First Council of Nicaea that was arranged by Emperor Constantine. Afterwords he left Constantinople and sailed for Sicily arriving in Naples approximately seven years after he had left Italy and ten years since he had left his native country.
He was sent to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino, and Willibald and his remaining companion, Tidbercht, immediately joined the Benedictine community. It was here that Willibald taught the community about his journeys and religious discipline. He would spend over ten years at Monte Cassino and another local Benedictine monastery where he served roles as, "sacrist, dean, and porter."[7] According to David Farmer, his new-found monasticism was drastically shaped by his experiences in both England and Palestine, allowing him to play a major role in the reformation and future prosperity of the monastery.[8]

Journey to Rome and Commissioning by Pope Gregory III

At some point Willibald's abbot, Petronax, was requested to come to Rome. Willibald accompanied the abbot since he had already made the journey on several occasions. He took Petronax to Saint Peter's Basilica, and when Pope Gregory III heard of his presence he requested a private audience with Willibald so he could hear of his journeys firsthand. Willibald recounted his seven-year pilgrimage to the Pontiff and afterwords the Pope asked Willibald, at the request of Saint Boniface, to travel to the country of the Franks, possibly due to Boniface's desire to missionise the Slavs.[9] Petronax granted Willibald permission to leave and Willibald then travelled to Germany.

Eichstätt, ordination, and missionary work

The Willibaldsburg above Eichstätt
Upon arriving in the region he was sent to Eichstätt at the request of Saint Boniface, a rural area with nothing but a small church dominating the landscape. It was here that he was ordained a priest by Boniface and was asked to begin missionary work in the area. Willibald lived in the church and began his missionary effort, but his was summoned again by Boniface a year later, this time to Thuringia. While travelling Willibald encountered his brother, Winibald, whom he had not seen for over eight years.

It was in Thuringia that he was consecrated to the episcopate, becoming Bishop Willibald at the age of forty-one. Shortly thereafter he returned to Eichstätt to begin his work. In 742 he founded the double abbey of Heidenheim am Hahnenkamm, a male and female monastery, with his brother Winibald, who served as the monastery's first abbot. Following his death, Willibald's sister, Saint Walburga, was appointed the first abess of the monastery.[10]

Willibald's missionary style is unique when compared to traditional methods. Unlike earlier missionaries, Willibald did not seem actively go about proselytising and baptising. His journeys to Asia and the Holy Land were for personal reasons as he attempted to grow in his faith and spirituality. He was, nevertheless, a successful missionary. The account of his life was widely distributed and the regions he visited inspired and converted many. This enabled a larger scale conversion even though Winibald did not meet most of the individuals.

According to Bunson, Eichstätt was the site of Willibald's most successful missionary efforts, although specific details like the means of conversion and number of converts are not known.[7] The monastery was one of the first buildings in the region and served as an important center, "not only for the diocesan apostolate, but also for the diffusion and development of monasticism."[11] Wilibald served as the Bishop of the region in Franconia for over four decades, living in the monastery and entertaining visitors throughout Europe who would come to hear of his journey and monasticism.


  1. ^ Huneberc, and C. H. Talbot. "Hodoeporicon of Saint Willibald." Soldiers of Christ : Saints and Saint's Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Ed. Thomas F. Noble and Thomas Head. New York: Pennsylvania State UP, 1995.
  2. ^ Bunson, Matthew, Margaret Bunson, and Stephen Bunson, comps. "Willibald (c. 700–786)." Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2003.
  3. ^ There is still uncertainty as to the exact relationship between the two persons, although Boniface is considered by most scholars to be either a uncle, cousin, or distant relative.
  4. ^ Traudel (7 June 2007). "June 7th – St. Willibald". alt.religion.christian.roman-catholic. Web link. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  5. ^ Assumption based on the reading of the Hodoeporicon
  6. ^ Noble 150.
  7. ^ a b Bunson 858.
  8. ^ Farmer, David H., ed. "Willibald (Willebald) (d. 786/7)." The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. 2nd ed. 1987.
  9. ^ Mershman, F. (1913). "Sts. Willibald and Winnebald". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  10. ^ Watkins, OSB, Dom B., ed. "Willibald, St." The Book of Saints: A Comprehensive Biographical Dictionary. Comp. The Benedictine Monks of Ramsgate. 7th ed. New York, NY: Continuum, 2002. 602.
  11. ^ Farmer 440.


  • Seeing Islam As Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam (Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam) Robert G. Hoyland
  • The Anglo-Saxon Missionaries in Germany: Being the Lives of S.S. Willibrord, Boniface, Strum, Leoba and Lebuin, together with the Hodoeporicon of St. Willibald and a Selection from the Correspondence of St. Boniface (Also Includes the first biography of St. Boniface.) C. H. Talbot
  • Medieval Sourcebook: Huneberc of Heidenheim: The Hodoeporican of St. Willibald, 8th century
  • Willibald von Eichstätt in the German Wikipedia
  • Abbey of Saint Walburga
  •  "Sts. Willibald and Winnebald". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
  • "St. Willibald, Bishop of Aichstadt, Confessor", Butler's Lives of the Saints
  • Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society (1891): The hodæporicon of Saint Willibald (ca 754 AD) by Roswida
  • Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society (1897): Vol III The pilgrimage of Arculfus. The hodoeporicon of St. Willibald. Description of Syria and Palestine, by Mukaddasi. The itinerary of Bernhard the Wise.

    Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


    Today's Snippet I: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

    Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
    The Feast of the Sacred Heart (properly the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus) is a solemnity in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. It falls 19 days after Pentecost, on a Friday. The earliest possible date is 29 May, as in 1818 and 2285. The latest possible date is 2 July, as in 1943 and 2038.

    Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be clearly traced back at least to the eleventh century. It marked the spirituality of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in the twelfth century and of Saint Bonaventure and Saint Gertrude in the thirteenth. The beginnings of a devotion toward the love of God as symbolized by the heart of Jesus are found even in the fathers of the Church, including Origen, Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Hippolytus of Rome, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Justin Martyr and Saint Cyprian, who used in this regard John 7:37-39 and John 19:33-37.

    The first liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated, with episcopal approval, on 31 August 1670, in the major seminary of Rennes, France, through the efforts of Saint John Eudes. The Mass and Office composed by this saint were adopted elsewhere also, especially in connection with the spread of devotion to the Sacred Heart following on the revelations to Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque and Mary of the Divine Heart. A Mass of the Sacred Heart won papal approval for use in Poland and Portugal in 1765, and another was approved for Venice, Austria and Spain in 1788. Finally, in 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the whole Church, to be celebrated on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi. Pope Pius XII raised the feast to the highest rank, Double of the First Class, and added an octave; the 1955 reforms of the general Roman calendar suppressed this octave and removed most other octaves.

    The Mass prayers and readings approved on that occasion were replaced with new texts in 1929, and the Roman Missal published in 1970 provided three sets of prayers and readings, one for each year of the three-year liturgical cycle.  Priests may use this Mass, celebrated with white vestments, as a Votive Mass on other days also, especially on the first Friday of each month (unless falling on a day of higher rank).  Since 2002, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is also a special Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests.  In 2009, the feast marked the beginning of a "Year for Priests".

    The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus 

    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
    The Sacred Heart (also known as Most Sacred Heart of Jesus) is one of the most famous religious devotions to Jesus' physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity.

    This devotion is predominantly used in the Catholic Church and among some high-church Anglicans and Lutherans. The devotion especially emphasizes the unmitigated love, compassion, and long-suffering of the heart of Christ towards humanity. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a French Roman Catholic nun, Marguerite Marie Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a mystical experience. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism.

    In the Roman Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart has been closely associated with Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ. In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI stated: "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". The Golden Arrow Prayer directly refers to the Sacred Heart. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is sometimes seen in the Eastern Catholic Churches, where it remains a point of controversy and is seen as an example of Liturgical Latinisation.

    The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross and bleeding. Sometimes the image shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus' death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.

    The Feast of the Sacred Heart has been in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. As Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart always falls on a Friday.

    History of Devotion

    Early devotion

    Sacred Heart of Jesus Ibarrará, 1896
    From the time of John the Evangelist and Paul of Tarsus there has always been in the Church something like devotion to the love of God, but there is nothing to indicate that, during the first ten centuries of Christianity, any worship was rendered to the wounded Heart of Jesus. It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that the first indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart are found. It was in the fervent atmosphere of the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries, in the world of Anselmian or Bernardine thought, that the devotion arose, although it is impossible to say positively what were its first texts or who were its first devotees. It was already well known to St. Gertrude, St. Mechtilde, and the author of the Vitis mystica (previously ascribed to St. Bernard, now attributed to St. Bonaventure).

    From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, the devotion was propagated but it did not seem to have developed in itself. It was everywhere practised by individuals and by different religious congregations, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carthusians, etc. It was, nevertheless, a private, individual devotion of the mystical order. Nothing of a general movement had been inaugurated, except for similarities found in the devotion to the Five Wounds by the Franciscans, in which the wound in Jesus's heart figured most prominently.

    In the sixteenth century, the devotion passed from the domain of mysticism into that of Christian asceticism. It was established as a devotion with prayers already formulated and special exercises, found in the writings of Lanspergius (d. 1539) of the Carthusians of Cologne, the Louis of Blois (Blosius; 1566), a Benedictine and Abbot of Liessies in Hainaut, John of Avila (d. 1569) and St. Francis de Sales, the latter belonging to the seventeenth century.

    The historical record from that time shows an early bringing to light of the devotion. Ascetic writers spoke of it, especially those of the Society of Jesus. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was everywhere in evidence, largely due to the Franciscan devotion to the Five Wounds and to the habit formed by the Jesuits of placing the image on their title-page of their books and the walls of their churches.

    Nevertheless, the devotion remained an individual, or at least a private, devotion. Jean Eudes (1602–1680) made it public, gave it an Office, and established a feast for it. Père Eudes was the apostle of the Heart of Mary; but in his devotion to the Immaculate Heart there was a share for the Heart of Jesus. Little by little, the devotion to the Sacred Heart became a separate one, and on August 31, 1670, the first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated in the Grand Seminary of Rennes. Coutances followed suit on October 20, a day with which the Eudist feast was from then on to be connected. The feast soon spread to other dioceses, and the devotion was likewise adopted in various religious communities. It gradually came into contact with the devotion begun at Paray, and resulting in a fusion of the two.

    Visions of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

    St Margaret Mary Alacoque, Giaquinto 1765
    The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the form it is known today was Visitandine Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690), who claimed to have received visions of Jesus Christ. There is nothing to indicate that she had known the devotion prior to the revelations, or at least that she had paid any attention to it. The revelations were numerous, and the following apparitions are especially remarkable:
    • On December 27, probably 1673, the feast of St. John, Margaret Mary reported that Jesus permitted her, as he had formerly allowed St. Gertrude, to rest her head upon his heart, and then disclosed to her the wonders of his love, telling her that he desired to make them known to all mankind and to diffuse the treasures of his goodness, and that he had chosen her for this work.
    • In probably June or July, 1674, Margaret Mary claimed that Jesus requested to be honored under the figure of his heart, also claiming that, when he appeared radiant with love, he asked for a devotion of expiatory love: frequent reception of Communion, especially Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour.
    • During the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, probably on June 16, the vision known as the "great apparition" reportedly took place, where Jesus said, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude ...", and asked Margaret Mary for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, bidding her consult her confessor Father Claude de la Colombière, then superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray. Solemn homage was asked on the part of the king, and the mission of propagating the new devotion was especially confided to the religious of the Visitation and to the priests of the Society of Jesus.
        A few days after the "great apparition", Margaret Mary reported everything she saw to Father de la Colombière, and he, acknowledging the vision as an action of the Spirit of God, consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart and directed her to write an account of the apparition. He also made use of every available opportunity to circulate this account, discreetly, through France and England. Upon his death on February 15, 1682, there was found in his journal of spiritual retreats a copy in his own handwriting of the account that he had requested of Margaret Mary, together with a few reflections on the usefulness of the devotion. This journal, including the account and an "offering" to the Sacred Heart, in which the devotion was well explained, was published at Lyons in 1684. The little book was widely read, especially at Paray. Margaret Mary reported feeling "dreadful confusion" over the book's contents, but resolved to make the best of it, approving of the book for the spreading of her cherished devotion. Outside of the Visitandines, priests, religious, and laymen espoused the devotion, particularly the Capuchins, Margaret Mary's two brothers, and some Jesuits. The Jesuit Father Croiset wrote a book called The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a book which Jesus is said to have told Margaret to tell Fr. Croiset to write, and Fr. Joseph de Gallifet, also a Jesuit, promoted the devotion.

    Papal Approvals

    The Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart was a nun from Sisters of the Good Shepherd Congregation who requested, in the name of Christ Himself, to Pope Leo XIII that he consecrate the entire World to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
    The death of Margaret Mary Alacoque on October 17, 1690, did not dampen the zeal of those interested; on the contrary, a short account of her life published by Father Croiset in 1691, as an appendix to his book "De la Dévotion au Sacré Cœur", served only to increase it. In spite of all sorts of obstacles, and of the slowness of the Holy See, which in 1693 imparted indulgences to the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart and, in 1697, granted the feast to the Visitandines with the Mass of the Five Wounds, but refused a feast common to all, with special Mass and Office. The devotion spread, particularly in religious communities. The Marseilles plague, 1720, furnished perhaps the first occasion for a solemn consecration and public worship outside of religious communities. Other cities of the South followed the example of Marseilles, and thus the devotion became a popular one. In 1726 it was deemed advisable once more to importune Rome for a feast with a Mass and Office of its own, but, in 1729, Rome again refused. However, in 1765, it finally yielded and that same year, at the request of the queen, the feast was received quasi-officially by the episcopate of France. On all sides it was asked for and obtained, and finally, in 1856, at the urgent entreaties of the French bishops, Pope Pius IX extended the feast to the Roman Catholic Church under the rite of double major. In 1889 it was raised by the Roman Catholic Church to the double rite of first class.

    After the letters of Mother Mary of the Divine Heart (1863–1899) requesting, in the name of Christ Himself, to Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire World to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Father commissions a group of theologians to examine the petition on the basis of revelation and sacred tradition. This investigation was positive. And so in the encyclical letter Annum Sacrum (on May 25, 1899) this same pope decreed that the consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should take place on June 11, 1899. In this encyclical letter the Pope attached Later Pope Leo XIII encouraged the entire Roman Catholic episcopate to promote the devotion of the Nine First Fridays and he established June as the Month of the Sacred Heart. Leo XIII also composed the Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart and included it in Annum Sacrum.

    Pope Pius X decreed that the consecration of the human race, performed by Pope Leo XIII be renewed each year. Pope Pius XI in his encyclical letter Miserentissimus Redemptor (on May 8, 1928) affirmed the Church's position with respect to Saint Margaret Mary's visions of Jesus Christ by stating that Jesus had "manifested Himself" to Saint Margaret and had "promised her that all those who rendered this honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces." The encyclical refers to the conversation between Jesus and Saint Margaret several times[2] and reaffirmed the importance of consecration and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    Finally, Venerable Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Pope Pius IX's institution of the Feast, instructed the entire Roman Catholic Church at length on the devotion to the Sacred Heart in his encyclical letter Haurietis aquas (on May 15, 1956). On May 15, 2006, also Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, on the 50th Anniversary of the encyclical Haurietis Aquas, about the Sacred Heart, by Pope Pius XII. In his letter to Father Kolvenbach, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the importance of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    Worship and Devotion

    The Roman Catholic acts of consecration, reparation and devotion were introduced when the feast of the Sacred Heart was declared. In his Papal Bull Auctorem Fidei, Pope Pius VI praised devotion to the Sacred Heart. Finally, by order of Leo XIII, in his encyclical Annum Sacrum (May 25, 1899), as well as on June 11, he consecrated every human to the Sacred Heart. The idea of this act, which Leo XIII called "the great act" of his pontificate, had been proposed to him by a religious woman of the Good Shepherd from Oporto (Portugal) who said that she had supernaturally received it from Jesus. Since c. 1850, groups, congregations, and States have consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart. In 1873, by petition of president Gabriel García Moreno, Ecuador was the first country in the world to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart, fulfilling God's petition to Saint Margaret Mary over two hundred years later.

    Peter Coudrin of France founded the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary on December 24, 1800. A religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, the order is best known for its missionary work in Hawaii. Mother Clelia Merloni from Forlì (Italy) founded the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Viareggio, Italy, May 30, 1894. Worship of the Sacred Heart mainly consists of several hymns, the Salutation of the Sacred Heart, and the Litany of the Sacred Heart. It is common in Roman Catholic services and occasionally is to be found in Anglican services. The Feast of the Sacred Heart is a solemnity in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. As Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart always falls on a Friday.

    The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic ceremony in which a priest or head of a household consecrates the members of the household to the Sacred Heart. A blessed image of the Sacred Heart, either a statue or a picture, is then "enthroned" in the home to serve as a constant reminder to those who dwell in the house of their consecration to the Sacred Heart. The practice of the Enthronement is based upon Pope Pius XII's declaration that devotion to the Sacred of Jesus is "the foundation on which to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families, and nations..."

    Alliance with the Immaculate Heart of Mary

    The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is based on the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The joint devotion to the hearts was first formalized in the 17th century by Saint Jean Eudes who organized the scriptural, theological and liturgical sources relating to the devotions and obtained the approbation of the Church, prior to the visions of Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque.

    In the 18th and 19th centuries the devotions grew, both jointly and individually through the efforts of figures such as Saint Louis de Montfort who promoted Catholic Mariology and Saint Catherine Labouré's Miraculous Medal depicting the Heart of Jesus thorn-crowned and the Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. The devotions, and the associated prayers, continued into the 20th century, e.g. in the Immaculata prayer of Saint Maximillian Kolbe and in the reported messages of Our Lady of Fatima which stated that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be honored together with the Heart of Mary.

    Popes supported the individual and joint devotions to the hearts through the centuries. In the 1956 encyclical Haurietis Aquas, Pope Pius XII encouraged the joint devotion to the hearts. In the 1979 encyclical Redemptor Hominis Pope John Paul II explained the theme of unity of Mary's Immaculate Heart with the Sacred Heart. In his Angelus address on September 15, 1985 Pope John Paul II coined the term The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and in 1986 addressed the international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal.

    The Miraculous Medal

    The Miraculous Medal
    The Sacred Heart has also been involved in (and been depicted) in saintly apparitions such as those to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830 and appears on the Miraculous Medal.

    On the Miraculous Medal, the Sacred Heart is crowned with thorns. The Immaculate Heart of Mary also appears on the medal, next to the Sacred Heart, but is pierced by a sword, rather than being crowned with thorns. The M on the medal signifies the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross when Jesus was being crucified.

    Religious imagery depicting the Sacred Heart is frequently featured in Roman Catholic, and sometimes Anglican and Lutheran homes. Sometimes images display beneath them a list of family members, indicating that the entire family is entrusted to the protection of Jesus in the Sacred Heart, from whom blessings on the home and the family members are sought. The prayer "O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee" is often used. One particular image has been used as part of a set, along with an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In that image, Mary too was shown pointing to her Immaculate Heart, expressing her love for the human race and for her Son, Jesus Christ. The mirror images reflect an eternal binding of the two hearts.

    The Scapular of the Sacred Heart and the Scapular of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary are worn by Roman Catholics.

    In Eastern Catholicism

    Devotion to the Sacred Heart may be found in some Eastern Catholic Churches, but is a contentious issue. Those who favour purity of rite are opposed to the devotion, while those who are in favour of the devotion cite it as a point of commonality with their Latin Catholic brethren.

    Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

    Jesus Christ, in his appearances to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, promised these blessings to those who practice devotion to his Sacred Heart. This tabular form of promises was not made by Saint Margaret Mary or her contemporaries. It first appeared at 1863. In 1882, an American businessman spread the tabular form of the promises profusely throughout the world, the twelve promises appearing in 238 languages. In 1890, Cardinal Adolph Perraud deplored this circulation of the promises in the tabular form which were different from the words and even from the meaning of the expressions used by St. Margaret Mary, and wanted the promises to be published in the full, authentic texts as found in the writings of St. 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. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
    5. I will abundantly bless 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 rise speedily to great perfection.
    9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
    10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
    11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
    12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.
      The last promise has given rise to the pious Roman Catholic practice of making an effort to attend Mass and receive Communion on the first Friday of each month.

    Great efficacy of converting people has been attached to the use of the image of the Sacred Heart.
    "Even at the hour of death, incredulous, indifferent, hardened souls have been converted by simply showing them a picture of the Sacred Heart, which sufficed to restore these sinners to the life of hope and love, in a word, to touch the most hardened. It would, indeed, be a great misfortune to any apostolic man to neglect so powerful a means of conversion, and in proof of this I will mention a single fact which will need no comment. A religious of the Company of Jesus had been requested by the Blessed Margaret Mary to make a careful engraving of the Sacred Heart. Being often hindered by other occupations, there was much delay in preparing this plate. ' This good father,' writes the saint, 'is so much occupied by Mon- signor d'Autun in the conversion of heretics, that he has neither time nor leisure to give to the work so ardently desired by the Heart of our Divine Master. You cannot imagine, my much-loved mother, how greatly this delay afflicts and pains me. I must avow confidently to you my belief that it is the cause of his converting so few infidels in this town. I seem constantly to hear these words : ' That if this good father had acquitted himself at once of his promise to the Sacred Heart, Jesus would have changed and converted the hearts of these infidels, on account of the joy He would have felt at seeing Himself honoured in the picture He so much wishes for. As, however, he prefers other work, even though to the glory of God, to that of giving Him this satisfaction, He will harden the hearts of these infidels, and the labours of this mission will not be crowned with much fruit.'

    Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

    V. Lord, have mercy on us.
    R. Christ, have mercy on us.
    V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
    R. Christ, graciously hear us.
    V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
    God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
    God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
    Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
    Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
    Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
    Heart of Jesus, united substantially to the Word of God.
    Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty.
    Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God.
    Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High.
    Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven.
    Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity.
    Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love.
    Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.
    Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues.
    Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise.
    Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts.
    Heart of Jesus, in whom art all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
    Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead.
    Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased.
    Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received.
    Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
    Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy.
    Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon Thee.
    Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness.
    Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses.
    Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches.
    Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities.
    Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death.
    Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance.
    Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation.
    Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection.
    Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation.
    Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins.
    Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee.
    Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee.
    Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints.

    V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
    R. spare us, O Lord.
    V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
    R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
    V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
    R. have mercy on us.

    V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,
    R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

    Let us pray.

    Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end.

    Scapular of the Sacred Heart

    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Scapular
    The devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus also involve the Scapular of the Sacred Heart. It is a Roman Catholic devotional scapular that can be traced back to Saint Margaret Marie Alacoque who herself made and distributed badges similar to it. In 1872 Pope Pius IX granted an indulgence for the badge and the actual scapular was approved by the Congregation of Rites in 1900. It bears the representation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side, and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Mother of Mercy on the other side. Prayer, Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end.


     Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Part Three: Life in Christ

    Section One: Man's Vocation Life in The Spirit


    Article 1:1  Man The Image of God

    1699 Life in the Holy Spirit fulfills the vocation of man (chapter one). This life is made up of divine charity and human solidarity (chapter two). It is graciously offered as salvation (chapter three).

    1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God (article 1); it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude (article 2). It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment (article 3). By his deliberate actions (article 4), the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience (article 5). Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth (article 6). With the help of grace they grow in virtue (article 7), avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son Lk 15:11-32 to the mercy of our Father in heaven (article 8). In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.

    Article 1
    1701 "Christ, . . . in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation."GS 22 It is in Christ, "the image of the invisible God,"Col 1:15; cf. 2 Cor 4:4 that man has been created "in the image and likeness" of the Creator. It is in Christ, Redeemer and Savior, that the divine image, disfigured in man by the first sin, has been restored to its original beauty and ennobled by the grace of God.GS 22
    1702 The divine image is present in every man. It shines forth in the communion of persons, in the likeness of the union of the divine persons among themselves (cf chapter two).
    1703 Endowed with "a spiritual and immortal" soul,GS 14 # 2 The human person is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake."GS 24 # 3 From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude.
    1704 The human person participates in the light and power of the divine Spirit. By his reason, he is capable of understanding the order of things established by the Creator. By free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection "in seeking and loving what is true and good."GS 15 # 2
    1705 By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an "outstanding manifestation of the divine image."GS 17
    1706 By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil."GS 16 Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person.
    1707 "Man, enticed by the Evil One, abused his freedom at the very beginning of history."GS 13 # 1 He succumbed to temptation and did what was evil. He still desires the good, but his nature bears the wound of original sin. He is now inclined to evil and subject to error:

    Man is divided in himself. As a result, the whole life of men, both individual and social, shows itself to be a struggle, and a dramatic one, between good and evil, between light and darkness.GS 13 # 2
    1708 By his Passion, Christ delivered us from Satan and from sin. He merited for us the new life in the Holy Spirit. His grace restores what sin had damaged in us.
    1709 He who believes in Christ becomes a son of God. This filial adoption transforms him by giving him the ability to follow the example of Christ. It makes him capable of acting rightly and doing good. In union with his Savior, the disciple attains the perfection of charity which is holiness. Having matured in grace, the moral life blossoms into eternal life in the glory of heaven.

    1710 "Christ . . . makes man fully manifest to man himself and brings to light his exalted vocation" (GS 22 # 1).
    1711 Endowed with a spiritual soul, with intellect and with free will, the human person is from his very conception ordered to God and destined for eternal beatitude. He pursues his perfection in "seeking and loving what is true and good" (GS 15 # 2).
    1712 In man, true freedom is an "outstanding manifestation of the divine image" (GS 17).
    1713 Man is obliged to follow the moral law, which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil" (cf GS 16). This law makes itself heard in his conscience.
    1714 Man, having been wounded in his nature by original sin, is subject to error and inclined to evil in exercising his freedom.
    1715 He who believes in Christ has new life in the Holy Spirit. the moral life, increased and brought to maturity in grace, is to reach its fulfillment in the glory of heaven.