Last week in this space I wrote a very urgent cri de coeur to my readers. The response was tremendous. We received an outpouring of prayers and financial contributions, as well as written expressions of concern and gratitude for our work. It has been very humbling and encouraging. Many of you pledged to join us in our still ongoing Novena to Saints Peter and Paul. The crowdfunding page set up by the Friends of Saint Benedict Center at Funding Morality increased by over $7,000. But that does not measure the full extent of the monetary donations received, for some benefactors sent in checks while others donated online at Catholicism.org. None of these donations were included in the metrics of Funding Morality’s page (and they can’t be). I believe we have received upwards of $12,000 in one week, and the responses are still coming in.
So, now I write to say thank you. Thank you for all the prayers, alms, and messages of support, gratitude, and Catholic kindness! It is all heartening, and very deeply appreciated. Our Brothers and Sisters will most certainly continue to pray for you and all our benefactors.
As I write these words on the Octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi, I would like to wish you a happy and blessed Feast of the Sacred Heart! In an effort to make your feast a holy one, I offer the meditation, below, by Father Leonard Feeney on Our Lord’s most holy Eucharistic Heart.
Oh, and happy Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Saturday, while I’m at it. If you’d like a little light reading on the Doctor of the Gentiles (maybe for Sunday, which would otherwise be his Commemoration) I recommend, Saint Paul against the Liberals, by Brother Thomas Mary Sennott, M.I.C.M.
God bless and Mary keep you.
“The Sacred Heart”
Abridged from Bread Of Life by Father Leonard Feeney
Jesus is hurt in the Blessed Eucharist when we do not come to visit Him and adore Him as our God and our King. He is not hurt in His hands or His feet, or in His back, once so scourged with ropes, or His head, once so crowned with thorns. He is hurt in His heart. That was precisely what He came to say to Saint Margaret Mary, the great apostle of the Sacred Heart.
Jesus came to tell Saint Margaret Mary that His heart had been hurt, not by neglect during the slow three hours on Calvary on Good Friday afternoon, but by the long, long neglect of centuries in the tabernacles of our churches: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and every day of the week, week of the month, month of the year.
If you sometimes wonder why the Sacred Heart was so daring as to unbare His breast at Paray-le-Monial to Margaret Mary, a little nun who came to visit Him in prayer, and to let her see, through the bones and the flesh, the beat of His heart — and if you sometimes wonder why He asked that a picture of Himself with heart exposed be placed in every Catholic home — know that Jesus wished to show the one part of Him that the ropes had not reached in the scourging, nor the crown of thorns pierced when He was exposed to ridicule and mocked as a King. The one part of Him the nails did not penetrate. The one part of Him they forgot to wound when He was alive, and which the soldier’s spear pierced when the mind and soul of Jesus had gone, and the heart of Jesus was left to the silent entombment of His breast.
Saint Margaret Mary saw the incessant centuries of heartbeat of the Sacred Heart of Jesus — not in Galilee, not in Judea, not even in His glory in Heaven — but in the hiddenness and the lowliness of our tabernacles.
Do you wish to let me tell you, in one final and doctrinal affirmation, what it was that forged the Eucharist? The Blessed Eucharist, which was to be God’s atonement to God in the Mass, God’s Presence in our tabernacles, God’s divinization of our spirits in the Blessed Sacrament, and God’s incorporation into Himself of us in Holy Communion? If you wish to know what it was in Jesus that thought to plunge Himself, in His divine and human majesty, into the semblance of wheat and wine and leave Himself there for us to adore and love until His second coming on the last day, I will tell you; it was the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From the shedding of His blood, came our redemption. From the beating of His heart in love for us, came the Blessed Eucharist.
The Blessed Eucharist was too great a folly for the mind of Jesus to have thought of, all alone. The Blessed Eucharist was the folly of His heart. The folly of Love.
And now you know that it does hurt the heart of Jesus to be ignored and neglected in the Blessed Eucharist.
You can never destroy God. But you can snub Him. God’s loneliness in the tabernacles of the world is enough to break one’s heart. All the display that sometimes goes on in the sacristies, with how little real love of the Faith! The exhibitions of reverence — and the cold, tepid hearts! Think of all the years when people were so little mindful of the great Life-giving powers of the Blessed Eucharist that they received It only once a year! Other things were more important: painting, sculpture, architecture, science, education, culture.
You feel like saying: “This is too much. Why not call off this covenant — this Sacrament?”
The work of our life as Catholics is to be thinking, not of the heights of God only, but of the depths and the lowliness to which He, the ineffable God, has plunged Himself for our love. What a reparation and what a delight is there possible in the love of the Blessed Eucharist!
Why does Jesus endure whole decades of being unloved? Why does He come, morning after morning, in the Mass, with no appreciation in those to whom He comes, of the majesty of What is in their midst? Why?
Jesus would do it through a whole century for the sake of the one boy or the one girl who will appreciate Him. He would rather be snubbed for a century than miss the love that might await Him when the century is finished. He would do it for the one bowed head, for the one adorational heart.
Jesus feels Himself repaid in His saints. They are worth the bounty, the abandon, the Divine recklessness, the absolute folly of giving Himself into our frail substance by way of food and drink.
By way of, the easily spilled cup! The easily broken — bread!
(Please consider for your edification reading Charles Coulombe’s The Politics of the Sacred Heart, and Brian Kelly’s Saint Margaret Mary and the Sacred Heart. Both are excellent.)