Friday, 15 June 2012

Sacred Heart and Prayer for Priests

Icon, Sacred Heart of Jesus, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009


The Feast of the Sacred Heart is a solemnity 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.  Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and while the icon above is not a new one, I felt it was most appropriate for today.  You can see from the title that it was done in 2009, but I have not "written" another icon of the traditional image of the Sacred Heart since then.  What I have done since is a rather non-traditional icon as shown below.


Icon, The Last Supper (Sacred Heart), by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
For years, I have thought lovingly of what it must have been like for St. John to sit at the meal where Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist, leaning his head against the heart of his Messiah.  What a blessing beyond description that must have been.  Yet, even now, in our prayer times we can imagine laying our weary heads against the Heart of Jesus and resting there as we hear Him say:  "Come unto Me all you who labour and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest."

On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart it would be an excellent idea for everyone who reads this blog to commit themselves to arranging for the enthronement of the Sacred Heart in their home if they have not done so already.  What is that you ask?  The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a 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 Heart of Jesus is "the foundation on which to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families and nations."

In 1863, the promises Our Lord made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque were put together in a tabular format (see below).  Although a number of people, including bishops and priests, have decried the arrangement, saying it does not present the full meaning of what Our Lord was saying to St. Margaret Mary; nonetheless, the list is still being passed around.  Our Lord said that those who honour His Sacred Heart would be blessed as follows:
  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.
May we all be so blessed.

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 PRAYER FOR PRIESTS

Blessed John Paul II established that on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart the Church will observe the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. We are all encouraged to pray for our priests today, this very moment, in preparation through prayer, celebration of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, so that the 15th June, 2012 will be an even greater celebration of the priesthood of Jesus Christ worldwide.

In honour of this day, I have posted an icon of St. John Vianney that I did back in 2009.  He has been named the patron of all priests and so it seemed fitting to post his icon on this the annual World Day of Prayer for our priests.

Icon, St. Jean Marie-Baptiste Vianney, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Finally, let me tell you about the Annual Global Rosary Relay in case you haven't heard about it already.  The idea is a simple one: that each of the 60 participating shrines prays a particular mystery of the Rosary at a particular half hour on the day in thanksgiving to God for our priests and to implore the protection and loving care of Our Lady, Mother of all priests, for all her priestly sons. With the coming of midnight on the 15th June 2012, the entire world, by then, will have been encircled in prayer for our priests on this the Annual Rosary Relay Day.

Every location will end its prayer by praying the prayer that our holy father, Pope Benedict XVI, composed especially for this day.  In case you are not familiar with it, here it is:

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer for Priests

LORD JESUS CHRIST, eternal High Priest,
you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the Cross
and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave
your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice.
Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests.
Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood
may be ever more conformed to you, the divine Master.
May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.
Let them be shepherds according to your own Heart,
single-minded in service to you and to the Church and shining
examples of a holy, simple and joyful life.
Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the
flocks entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer for Priests (specially composed for Worldpriest) To be prayed at any time though especially for the Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests as each country passes on the praying of the Rosary to the next location the connecting link will be the Holy Fathers prayer.

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SUKI and SALLIE

Poor Suki is truly getting desperate.  This morning I was awakened by the strangest sound.  It sounded like the sound that hamsters make when they

Suki sitting in her prayer corner
--perhaps at prayer??
are patting at those little wire wheels they have in their cages.  Since I do not have any hamsters, I knew it must be caused by something else -- probably by a certain black cat named Suki.  But what could she be doing that would make such a sound?

By the light from the hallway, I finally made out a black shape frantically scratching on her big letter "S".  Normally she never touches it, but just sits very close to it, often with her eyes closed, looking for all the world like someone in deep meditation.  I have seen her sit there, motionless, for up to 15 minutes at a time.  It is really rather scary.

Anyway, I have no idea what she was up to this morning at 4 a.m., but I immediately assumed that her behaviour had something to do with getting fed.  The reason I say this is that she had already awakened me twice during the night by rubbing my face and licking my hand vigorously!  Each time I had pushed her away and managed to return to sleep.  This time was different.  Suki's behaviour was so unusual that I just had to get up and see what I could see!

Of course, the moment she heard me moving, she immediately stopped what she was doing and began to dance around and meow happily.  After a display of this sort, how could I say no.  She had won.  I made my way to the kitchen and gave her what she wanted -- some of her favourite:  grilled turkey with gravy straight from the can!  I guess you could say her prayers were answered!!!

As for me, I am doing fine except for being a bit sleepy!  Later today I plan to join with the different shrines as the Rosary Relay for Priests moves from one country to another until it circles the globe with prayers for our priests.  It starts at 9:30 Eastern Time from the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and moves from there to the U.S.  EWTN will be broadcasting the event.

Later today I plan to go to the gym again.  I can't recall if I have mentioned returning to the gym last week.  Anyway, I started back Monday of last week and am slowly building up my strength again.  I can tell that there has been some additional degeneration in the discs of my spine, but I am still able to do most of my routine.  In spite of the aches and pains, it feels good to be back again.  Those little endorphins are still as addictive as ever!

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So on this special day, I pray that each of you will take a moment to express your gratitude to Jesus for His Sacred Heart which He allowed to be pierced by a spear out of love for us and so that the Church might be formed -- the Church which is our Mother.  And may you also say a prayer or two for our priests who, though human just like us, are called to serve the Church in the person of Christ.  Pray especially that our priests will be strengthened against the temptation to sexual sin and also pray for all those children and young people who were hurt so badly by the actions of sinful priests especially during those years when the Church was going through so much unrest and lack of direction.  May this never be allowed to happen again.

And may the peace and joy of God be with us all. 

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