Holy hour, personal prayer and reflection
Please note that July’s holy hour will be held from 7 to 8 pm on Thursday 1st July, NOT Friday 2nd July. This change is for July only — afterwards will revert to the 1st Friday of every month
Readings that may prepare you for a fulfilling experience on the night.
In a recent homily by Fr David Braithwaite SJ, speaks simply about God’s love.
Here is an extract:
it’s really hard for some people, but as a priest you meet people who just can’t believe that God really loves them, because of something they’ve done perhaps, or even traumas of childhood and things. But it’s true. I always go back to the founders Peter and Paul, scandalous men really. Peter betrays his best friend, but betrays not just his best friend, the Saviour. At that moment, when he could have stood up and stood with him, but he didn’t. But he’s the first pope. He understands God’s mercy because he’s had delivered.
And then Paul persecuting zealously by his own account the early Christians. They are the founders of our church, because they understand what it is to be a loved sinner, to receive God’s mercy, and then be obliged to give it to others. Not obliged in the sense of some external law, but the law of love.
Fr Frank Brennan SJ used this prayer of St John Henry Newman to close his homily on the feast of Corpus Christi, May 2021.
When I say, Domine, non sum dignus—”Lord, I am not worthy”—Thou whom I am addressing, alone understandest in their fulness the words which I use.
Thou seest how unworthy so great a sinner is to receive the One Holy God, whom the Seraphim adore with trembling.
Thou seest, not only the stains and scars of past sins, but the mutilations, the deep cavities, the chronic disorders which they have left in my soul.
Thou seest the innumerable living sins, though they be not mortal, living in their power and presence, their guilt, and their penalties, which clothe me.
Thou seest all my bad habits, all my mean principles, all wayward lawless thoughts, my multitude of infirmities and miseries, yet Thou comest.
Thou seest most perfectly how little I really feel what I am now saying, yet Thou comest.
O my God, left to myself should I not perish under the awful splendour and the consuming fire of Thy Majesty. Enable me to bear Thee, lest I have to say with Peter, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Wide devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began after the private revelations of a French nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, between 1673 and 1675. A feast was extended to the whole church in 1856 and is marked the Friday following the feast of Corpus Christ.
American Jesuit Fr James Martin SJ writes of this once very familiar devotion that has lost some relevance and appeal in these secularised times. He writes:
The Sacred Heart is one of the few devotions that have probably suffered from its artistic representations. Many of the images with which older Catholics are familiar are both kitschy and off-putting: a doe-eyed Jesus pointing to his heart, which is always pictured outside his body. There is the yuck factor (the bleeding heart surrounded by a crown of thorns is often pictured in gruesome detail) and the disbelief factor (there’s no way that a carpenter from Nazareth looked so effeminate). It’s a tragedy that art has distanced many Catholics from a powerful way of looking at Jesus.
But, then Fr Jim goes on to explain:
Those “allergic reactions” mean that we are missing a powerful and vivid symbol of the love of Jesus. For the Sacred Heart is nothing less than an image of the way that Jesus loves us: fully, lavishly, radically, completely, sacrificially. The Sacred Heart invites to meditate on some of the most important questions in the spiritual life: In what ways did Jesus love his disciples and friends? How did he love strangers and outcasts? How was he able to love his enemies? How did he show his love for humanity? What would it mean to love like Jesus did? What would it mean for me to have a heart like his? How can my heart become more “sacred”? For in the end, the Sacred Heart is about understanding Jesus’s love for us and inviting us to love others as Jesus did.
We share these three articles written from different perspectives. Please feel free to leave us a comment and tell us whether one or more resonated with you.