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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

THE IMITATION OF THE SACRED HEART: HOW THE CLEANSING OF THE HEART IS TO BE UNDERTAKEN

THE IMITATION OF THE SACRED HEART: HOW THE CLEANSING OF THE HEART IS TO BE UNDERTAKEN

1. The voice of the Disciple.-----Numberless, O Lord, are the things which urge me on to free myself entirely from faults. Heaven holds out promises, Hell threatens, earth can at any moment hurl me into eternity. 



My heart, also, full of thy gifts, impelled by its own wretchedness as well, and drawn by the infinite goodness of Thy Heart, never ceases to incite me.

But, how shall I perform so great an undertaking? For, although I see that I ought to do it, yet, I know not how to accomplish it.

Do Thou, I beseech Thee, good Jesus, teach me the manner of truly amending and reforming myself. All the glory, thence arising, shall belong to  Thee, and to Thy most loving Heart.

2. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, if thou wishest to cleanse thy heart, and to root out everything vicious, begin the work with a great courage and a generous mind.

Have the good and determined will of correcting thyself, and be never ceasing to strive after a complete cleansing; at the same time, cherish a sincere desire of co-operating with the Divine grace, and of following its guidance: and thus thy endeavors shall, at last, be crowned with success.

This is the first and chief means on thy part: from it all the rest derives its strength and efficacy, and without it, however powerful it may be, of itself, everything else can hardly effect any good.

This strong determination of ever striving, with God's grace, to cleanse the heart, and to preserve it unsullied, is the first hope of future purity of heart, the first sign of future perfection, the first token whereby future Saints are distinguished, yea, the first characteristic mark of the true Disciples of My Heart.

3. Being made ready for the work, by this disposition of thy soul, take fire, and enkindle thy heart therewith, that thou mayst consume the sins and defects which exist therein.

Understand, Child, what I say. Thou hast to clear a garden, all bristling with noxious plants and weeds, and disfigured with filthy objects; thou shalt succeed, however, if thou usest the proper means, if thou cuttest away all things hurtful, if thou tearest up and carriest out everything useless; but thou shalt not finish thy work, except after a long time, and with hard labor.

But, by applying the fire, without trouble and in a short time, thou shalt see the whole garden cleansed.

Nay, more; by this burning, the garden itself shall become richer, and better suited to produce flowers and fruits.

In like manner, Child, thou wilt cleanse thy heart, which may be likened to this garden, much more readily, and more easily, by using the fire of Divine love, rather than by any other means.

Thereby also thou shalt find thy heart better adapted to produce the flowers of virtue, and the fruits of sanctity.

4. Now, this fire thou mayst obtain from My Heart, if thou drawest near to It, through prayer; if thou prayest, not with the lips alone, but also with thy mind and heart.

For, if thou weighest properly in thy mind the sufferings of Hell, or of Purgatory, which thou hast so often deserved: if thou considerest attentively My Divine favors bestowed upon thee, and all thy ungratefulness:

If thou meditatest carefully on My infinite perfections so worthy of all love and honor, and on thy offenses, so deserving of punishment:

If, moreover, thou viewest Me, exhausted with toils, through love for thee, and suffering so many things, for thy transgressions,-----hanging on the Cross, with arms extended, and with My Bosom opened for thee:

If, in fine, thou enterest into My Heart Itself, and considerest to what degree that innocent Heart did suffer for thy sins, and how, for them, it was spent and consumed:

If, at the same time, through loving desires, and fervent petitions, thou appliest, as it were, thy heart to Mine:
-----

Then, doubtless, in prayer, shall blaze out that fire, that heat of Divine love, of which I am speaking.

5. From this love do thou draw forth contrition; that is, sorrow for sin committed, and a resolve of not sinning again in future.

No one, My Child, obtains the pardon of his sins, unless he bewail them; nor is anyone healed of his vices, unless he hate them.

Wherefore, as much as thou art able, do thou hate and detest, in thy heart. thy sins and vices; which thou canst not hate nor detest too much.

The more thou shalt draw this sorrow from the Divine love, the more perfect shall thy contrition be, even if thou do not actually feel the same.

And the more sincerely thou shalt bewail and detest thy sins, with an upright heart, the more certain shalt thou be of the pardon of thy offenses, and the more secure against committing new ones.

6. Thou hast a sure mark of sorrow for the sin of the past, if thou abstainest from committing new ones.

Therefore, have thou, and preserve always, a firm resolve of shunning whatever thou knowest to be displeasing to Me; and of suffering rather all the evils of this life, than to commit a voluntary sin.

But, take heed, lest thou deceive thyself, by imagining, that any kind of resolve will be sufficient.

 For a vague desire is not enough: a resolution made through custom, or for form's sake, is not enough neither does an ineffectual purpose suffice,
-----when one appears to will and not to will; when, as he fancies, he is willing to sin no more, and yet, he is unwilling effectually to use the means necessary to avoid sin.

It is requisite, My Child, that the resolution be really sincere, settled, and efficacious, that by it thou mayst be induced to employ the means, which may hinder thee from again committing sin.

Now, to keep this resolution ever alive within thee, renew it often, pray frequently, nourish thy devotion by spiritual exercises: and thus obtain for thyself that special grace whereby thou mayst the more easily become constant and persevering.

7. The voice of the Disciple.-----My Heart, O Lord, is truly like an abandoned field, wherein many noxious weeds spring up and many useful plants lie spoiled.

It is a great work, to clear the heart of all these, and, of myself, I can do nothing profitable.

But do Thou help me, I beseech Thee, with Thy efficient and powerful grace, that I may be able to finish happily so great an undertaking.

For I desire eagerly to complete, according to Thy direction, a work so necessary, so useful, so holy; and am resolved not to leave it off, before I have finished it in reality.

Do not suffer, O most kind Jesus, that I ever grow slothful or careless, in so important an enterprise. For, I confess, that I am prone to grow weak in courage, and that I am wont, even after I have begun with zeal, by degrees to fall into lukewarmness.

But do Thou arouse, encourage, and stir me up strongly, nor allow me to cease from my labor, until I bring the work to its wished-for completion. 




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