Thursday, June 06, 2013

Justified by His Blood

Justified by His Blood

June 7, 2013

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

By Melanie Rigney

I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly. (Ezekiel 34:15-16)
Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.  (Psalm 23:6)
The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. (Romans 5:5-9)

What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God. (Among the final words of St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque)

Shortly before her twenty-eighth birthday, Christ appeared to St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque. He requested special devotions, including the establishment of the feast of the Sacred Heart to make up for the ingratitude we show for his sacrifice. The first feast of the Sacred Heart actually was celebrated a few years before Christ’s appearance to Marguerite Marie, but it became a life work for the Visitation nun, despite skepticism of her visions. But she didn’t stop. She established the Holy Hour and would pray lying face down from 11 p.m. to midnight the first Friday of each month.

Marguerite Marie might have been considered a failure when she died in 1690. Her efforts to have the Feast of the Sacred Heart established had fallen short. It was more than 150 years later when Pope Pius IX extended what had become a feast in France to the entire Church. Eight years later, he declared Marguerite Marie as Blessed, and fifty-six years later, she was canonized by Benedict XV.

It was all about God’s timing with Marguerite Marie. He didn’t promise her success; he simply asked her to do something, and she did her best, for fifteen years. And while she may have fallen short of her goal during her lifetime, her efforts planted the seeds for the solemnity we celebrate today. May we remember her persistence and determination as we set about doing what God asks of us.

What is God asking you to do that seems destined for failure? Pray with Marguerite Marie for the courage and persistence to continue this pursuit despite the odds.

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