THE DEVOTION WHICH THE SAINTS HAD TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

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THE DEVOTION WHICH THE SAINTS HAD TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

As the example of the Saints is at the same time a powerful motive to urge us to the practice of a devotion which they themselves have practiced, and a reliable guide to show us how to practice it, we think it advisable to give here the views of those who had the tenderest love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and who were most penetrated with this devotion.

St. Clare, who was inflamed with the love of Jesus Christ and filled with eagerness to love Him in return, believed that she could find no practice more suitable to testify her gratitude than to salute and adore, several times each day, the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; and by means of this devotion, as is related in her Life, her soul was filled with the sweetest delights and the most signal favors.

The following prayer of St. Gertrude [1256-1302] to the Sacred Heart of Jesus shows the high esteem which this Saint had for this devotion: Continue reading

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Our readers will not expect us to do more than give them this general view of the great, mystery, and tell them how the holy Doctors of the Church spoke of it. As far as St. Bernard and St. Bonaventure are concerned, the devotion to the mystery of Christ’s side opened on the Cross, is but a part of that which they would have us show to the other wounds of our Redeemer. The Sacred Heart, as the expression of Jesus’ love, is not treated of, in their writings, with the explicitness wherewith the Church would afterwards put it before us. For this end, our Lord Himself selected certain privileged souls, through whose instrumentality, He would bring the Christian world to a fuller appreciation of the consequences which are involved in the principles admitted by the whole Church.

It was on the 27th of January, in the year 1281, in the Benedictine Monastery of Helfta, near Eisleben, in Saxony, that our Divine Lord first revealed these ineffable secrets to one of the community of that house, whose name was Gertrude. She was then twenty years of age. The Spirit of God came upon her, and gave her her mission. She saw, she heard, she was permitted to touch, and what is more, she drank of, that chalice of the Sacred Heart, which inebriates the elect. She drank of It, even whilst in this vale of bitterness; and what she herself so richly received, she imparted to others, who showed themselves desirous to listen. St. Gertrude’s mission was to make known the share and action of the Sacred Heart in the economy of God’s glory and the sanctification of souls; and, in this respect, we cannot separate her from her companion, St. Mechtilde.  Continue reading

St. Robert

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St. Robert, Abbot

[Abbot of Newminster, in England, of the Cistercian Order.] HE was a native of Yorkshire, and even in his childhood an enemy to the usual amusements of that age, loving only prayer, serious reading, and useful and pious employments. Having finished his studies, he was ordained priest, and instituted to a rectorship of a parish in the diocess of York; but after discharging that office sometime with great assiduity and zeal, he resigned that living, and took the religious habit in the Benedictin monastery of our Lady in York. Richard, the prior of this house, and twelve others, desiring to serve God according to the primitive institute of the Benedictin Order, left the monastery, with leave of the abbot, and endeavouring to execute their project, struggled with incredible hardships; till Thurstan the pious archbishop of York, gave them a desert valley, called Scheldale, with the town of Sutton, where, in the midst of winter, and in extreme poverty, they founded the celebrated abbey which, from certain springs, was called Fountains, in 1132. The Cistercian Order, which had been lately introduced, into England, and settled at Rievalle, was perfectly agreeable to the fervent dispositions of this holy colony; and at their request the monastery of Fountains was received into it by St. Bernard, who in his letters extols the perfection and sanctity of this new nursery of saints, which, from the beginning, was a model to the whole order for devotion, austerity in fasts, labour, by which all the monks procured their subsistence, fervour in all religious exercises, and cheerfulness in singing assiduously the divine praises. No murmur or sadness was known among them; nor any strife or contention ever heard of, unless of charity or humility: they never yielded to rest, till fatigued with labour; and always came hungry from their slender table, which was chiefly furnished with pulse and roots from their garden. St. Robert seemed so far to eclipse the rest of this holy company by the lustre of his piety, that they all had their eyes on him in their religious duties, and studied to transcribe his fervour in their actions. Ranulph of Merley, baron of Morpeth, 1 paying a visit to the monastery of Fountains, five years after its foundation, was so struck with the edifying deportment of the terrestrial angels who inhabited it, that he obtained of the abbot Richard, a certain number of these monks, and built for them a monastery called Newminster, near Morpeth, in Northumberland, in 1137, of which St. Robert was appointed abbot. 1
The saint in his new dignity thought it his duty not only to walk before his brethren, but to go beyond them all in every religious observance; and all his virtues seemed to receive new vigour, and a new degree of perfection in this eminent station. His affection to holy prayer is not to be expressed. He recommended to God continually those committed to his care, and with many tears poured forth his soul for them night and day. He was favoured with the gift of prophecy and miracles. He founded another monastery at Pipinelle or Rivebelle in Northamptonshire, and lived in the strictest union of holy friendship with St. Bernard; also with St. Godric, a holy hermit in those parts, illiterate as to secular learning, but a most spiritual man. St. Robert finished his course by a happy death on the 7th of June, 1159. Miracles attested his sanctity to the world. He is named in the Roman Martyrology. See Dugdale, Monast. Angl. t. 1, p. 743, Le Nain, t. 2, p. 397, the Annals of his Order, and the Bollandists, t. 2, Junii. 2

Note 1. This barony of Morpeth was transferred from Roger of Merley, the fifth baron, to the lords of Greystock.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VI: June.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.