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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Perfection Series VI:III Reparation

I shall come back to the devotion to the Sacred Heart, but as Pope Pius XI places it in this context, I leave it here. But, I want to go on the section 13, the lines I highlighted.

12. And truly the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and nothing is more in keeping with the origin, the character, the power, and the distinctive practices of this form of devotion, as appears from the record of history and custom, as well as from the sacred liturgy and the acts of the Sovereign Pontiffs. For when Christ manifested Himself to Margaret Mary, and declared to her the infinitude of His love, at the same time, in the manner of a mourner, He complained that so many and such great injuries were done to Him by ungrateful men - and we would that these words in which He made this complaint were fixed in the minds of the faithful, and were never blotted out by oblivion: "Behold this Heart" - He said - "which has loved men so much and has loaded them with all benefits, and for this boundless love has had no return but neglect, and contumely, and this often from those who were bound by a debt and duty of a more special love." In order that these faults might be washed away, He then recommended several things to be done, and in particular the following as most pleasing to Himself, namely that men should approach the Altar with this purpose of expiating sin, making what is called a Communion of Reparation, - and that they should likewise make expiatory supplications and prayers, prolonged for a whole hour, - which is rightly called the "Holy Hour." These pious exercises have been approved by the Church and have also been enriched with copious indulgences.
13. But how can these rites of expiation bring solace now, when Christ is already reigning in the beatitude of Heaven? To this we may answer in some words of St. Augustine which are very apposite here, - "Give me one who loves, and he will understand what I say" (In Johannis evangelium, tract. XXVI, 4).

I shall come back to this theme of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Agony in the Garden, in a long post later, but here I want to emphasize that Christ already suffered for our sins, but that He, in the Garden, received some consolation from the Angel sent to Him, which the Pope states here, was the consolation WE created through reparation for our own sins and those of others.

Imagine, the Angel of the Agony bringing our mortifications, penances, sufferings to Christ in that hour? What a tremendous insight from this Pope.

For any one who has great love of God, if he will look back through the tract of past time may dwell in meditation on Christ, and see Him laboring for man, sorrowing, suffering the greatest hardships, "for us men and for our salvation," well-nigh worn out with sadness, with anguish, nay "bruised for our sins" (Isaias liii, 5), and healing us by His bruises. And the minds of the pious meditate on all these things the more truly, because the sins of men and their crimes committed in every age were the cause why Christ was delivered up to death, and now also they would of themselves bring death to Christ, joined with the same griefs and sorrows, since each several sin in its own way is held to renew the passion of Our Lord: "Crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery" (Hebrews vi, 6). Now if, because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen, the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that then, too, already He derived somewhat of solace from our reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when "there appeared to Him an angel from heaven" (Luke xxii, 43), in order that His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation. And so even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men, since - as we also read in the sacred liturgy - Christ Himself, by the mouth of the Psalmist complains that He is forsaken by His friends: "My Heart hath expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none" (Psalm lxviii, 21).

The forsaking of friends and family creates a horrible void, a pain in Christ, which one cannot imagine, as He is all Pure, all Good, all Innocent. Those who have been forsaken in their lives have experienced a smidgen of this great pain of Our Lord's.

But, this is not all the Pope tells us.

14. To this it may be added that the expiatory passion of Christ is renewed and in a manner continued and fulfilled in His mystical body, which is the Church. For, to use once more the words of St. Augustine, "Christ suffered whatever it behoved Him to suffer; now nothing is wanting of the measure of the sufferings. Therefore the sufferings were fulfilled, but in the head; there were yet remaining the sufferings of Christ in His body" (In Psalm lxxxvi). This, indeed, Our Lord Jesus Himself vouchsafed to explain when, speaking to Saul, "as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter" (Acts ix, 1), He said, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest" (Acts ix, 5), clearly signifying that when persecutions are stirred up against the Church, the Divine Head of the Church is Himself attacked and troubled. Rightly, therefore, does Christ, still suffering in His mystical body, desire to have us partakers of His expiation, and this is also demanded by our intimate union with Him, for since we are "the body of Christ and members of member" (1 Corinthians xii, 27), whatever the head suffers, all the members must suffer with it (Cf. 1 Corinthians xii, 26).

As it is obvious that we are now living in the Age of Martyrs, we can see how those who are tortured and killed join not only with Christ, but with us, as all members both suffer and rejoice in martyrdom. So, too, Christ suffered in Gethsemane and throughout His Passion and Death the pain of those who die for Him and the pain of those who torture and kill. Christ took all that suffering unto Himself.

So, where does this leave us and for whom are we doing reparation? This next section could have been written this morning..................

15. Now, how great is the necessity of this expiation or reparation, more especially in this our age, will be manifest to every one who, as we said at the outset, will examine the world, "seated in wickedness" (1 John v, 19), with his eyes and with his mind. For from all sides the cry of the peoples who are mourning comes up to us, and their princes or rulers have indeed stood up and met together in one against the Lord and against His Church (Cf. Psalm ii, 2). Throughout those regions indeed, we see that all rights both human and Divine are confounded. Churches are thrown down and overturned, religious men and sacred virgins are torn from their homes and are afflicted with abuse, with barbarities, with hunger and imprisonment; bands of boys and girls are snatched from the bosom of their mother the Church, and are induced to renounce Christ, to blaspheme and to attempt the worst crimes of lust; the whole Christian people, sadly disheartened and disrupted, are continually in danger of falling away from the faith, or of suffering the most cruel death. These things in truth are so sad that you might say that such events foreshadow and portend the "beginning of sorrows," that is to say of those that shall be brought by the man of sin, "who is lifted up above all that is called God or is worshipped" (2 Thessalonians ii, 4).

And, here is the mystery...God chooses for whom we do acts and prayers of reparation.

God chooses. 

This reparation could be for individual blasphemers, haters, apostates, heretics, false leaders, false friends, betrayers of all types, or even person for whom God gives us a particular love in order to pray for them. 

Some may be stranger, some may be friends, some may be our blood brothers and sisters, some may be our spouses.

Some may be our enemies.

God can also call someone to make reparation in general: for dead babies of abortion; for heresy and apostasy in the Church; for a group which is schismatic. for bad priests in general, for bad bishops in general, and so on.

God decides for whom or even for what, such as these times, one may be called to reparation.

to be continued..............