Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
It is easy to look at the world and see what is wrong with it and with those who rule it. I believe it is important for rulers and us to focus on the sanctification of our souls during this time of corrupt leaders and followers. The sanctification of souls is helped by particular devotions, such as devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus. The efficaciousness of this devotion depends, in part, on our own heart:
1 KINGS 13:14 But thy kingdom shall not continue. The Lord hath sought him a man according to His Own Heart: and him hath the Lord commanded to be prince over his people, because thou hast not observed that which the Lord commanded.
As we shall see in the commentary below, the heart spoken about above, is the heart of David, who would unite and rule over Israel in a way that benefitted the common good of all more effectively than any democracy I have witnessed or heard about.
Ver. 14. Continue long. This seems to have been a threat, which Saul might still have escaped, if he had not proved disobedient again. St. Gregory says, "he might have been loosed from the bonds of his former disobedience;" prioris inobedientiæ nexus enodaret. The second rebellion caused him to be entirely rejected, and the prophet was ordered to go and anoint David, chap. xv. (Salien)
It was the virtuousness of David that enabled him to unite a nation in a manner that was pleasing to God and salvific for the people. The nation of Israel in the time of David was Christendom before Christ became incarnate and David could be said to be figuratively devoted to the Sacred Heart before that physical Heart existed. For David loved God and was a man after his own heart:
And when he was now old, his heart was turned away by women to follow strange gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. (3 Kings 11: 4)
We look to the Catholic Encyclopedia for an explanation of the figurative or metaphorical aspect of devotion to the Sacred Heart:
(b) The question lies between the material, the metaphorical, and the symbolic sense of the word heart; whether the object of the devotion is the Heart of flesh, as such, or the love of Jesus Christ metaphorically signified by the word heart; or the Heart of flesh, but as symbol of the emotional and moral life of Jesus, and especially His love for us. We reply that worship is rightly paid to the Heart of flesh, inasmuch as the latter symbolizes and recalls the love of Jesus, and His emotional and moral life. Thus, although directed to the material Heart, it does not stop there: it also includes love, that love which is its principal object, but which it reaches only in and through the Heart of flesh, the sign and symbol of this love. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus alone, as to a noble part of His Divine Body, would not be devotion to the Sacred Heart as understood and approved by the Church, and the same must also be said of devotion to the love of Jesus as detached from His Heart of flesh, or else connected therewith by no other tie than that of a word taken in the metaphorical sense. Hence, in the devotion, there are two elements: a sensible element, the Heart of flesh, and a spiritual element, that which this Heart of flesh recalls and represents. But these two elements do not form two distinct objects, merely co-ordinated they constitute but one, just as do the body and soul, and the sign and the thing signified. Hence it is also understood that these two elements are as essential to the devotion as body and soul are essential to man. Of the two elements constituting the whole, the principal one is love, which is as much the cause of the devotion and its reason for existence as the soul is the principal element in man. Consequently, devotion to the Sacred Heart may be defined as devotion to the adorable Heart of Jesus Christ in so far as this Heart represents and recalls His love; or, what amounts to the same thing, devotion to the love of Jesus Christ in so far as this love is recalled and symbolically represented to us by His Heart of flesh.
(c) Hence the devotion is based entirely upon the symbolism of the heart. It is this symbolism that imparts to its meaning and its unity, and this symbolism is admirably completed by the representation of the Heart as wounded. Since the Heart of Jesus appears to us as the sensible sign of His love, the visible wound in the Heart will naturally recall the invisible wound of this love. This symbolism also explains that the devotion, although giving the Heart an essential place, is but little concerned with the anatomy of the heart or with physiology. Since, in images of the Sacred Heart, the symbolic expression must dominate all else, anatomical accuracy is not looked for; it would injure the devotion by rendering the symbolism less evident. It is eminently proper that the heart as an emblem be distinguished from the anatomical heart: the suitableness of the image is favourable to the expression of the idea. A visible heart is necessary for an image of the Sacred Heart, but this visible heart must be a symbolic heart. Similar observations are in order for physiology, in which the devotion cannot be totally disinterested, because the Heart of Flesh toward which the worship is directed in order to read therein the love of Jesus, is the Heart of Jesus, the real, living Heart that, in all truth, may be said to have loved and suffered; the Heart that, as we feel ourselves, had such a share in His emotional and moral life; the Heart that, as we know from a knowledge, however rudimentary, of the operations of our human life, had such a part in the operations of the Master's life. But the relation of the Heart to the love of Christ is not that of a purely conventional sign, as in the relation of the word to the thing, or of the flag to the idea of one's country; this Heart has been and is still inseparably connected with that life of benefactions and love. However, it is sufficient for our devotion that we know and feel this intimate connection. We have nothing to do with the physiology of the Sacred Heart nor with determining the exact functions of the heart in daily life. We know that the symbolism of the heart is a symbolism founded upon reality and that it constitutes the special object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, which devotion is in no danger of falling into error.
(d) The heart is, above all, the emblem of love, and by this characteristic, the devotion to the Sacred Heart is naturally defined. However, being directed to the loving Heart of Jesus, it naturally encounters whatever in Jesus is connected with this love. Now, was not this love the motive of all that Christ did and suffered? Was not all His inner, even more than His outward, life dominated by this love? On the other hand, the devotion to the Sacred Heart, being directed to the living Heart of Jesus, thus becomes familiar with the whole inner life of the Master, with all His virtues and sentiments, finally, with Jesus infinitely loving and lovable. Hence, a first extension of the devotion is from the loving Heart to the intimate knowledge of Jesus, to His sentiments and virtues, to His whole emotional and moral life; from the loving Heart to all the manifestations of Its love. There is still another extension which, although having the same meaning, is made in another way, that is by passing from the Heart to the Person, a transition which, as we have seen, is very naturally made. When speaking of a large heart our allusion is to the person, just as when we mention the Sacred Heart we mean Jesus. This is not, however, because the two are synonymous but when the word heart is used to designate the person, it is because such a person is considered in whatsoever related to his emotional and moral life. Thus, when we designate Jesus as the Sacred Heart, we mean Jesus manifesting His Heart, Jesus all loving and amiable. Jesus entire is thus recapitulated in the Sacred Heart as all is recapitulated in Jesus.
In His encyclical ANNUM SACRUM, Pope Leo XIII shows us the "truth", "justice" and "charity" Christ's Heart exercises over men. I would venture to say these are the same traits which any good Monarch, such as King David, must have in order to rule in a way that is pleasing to God. Further, Pope Leo explains how Jesus graciously allows us to consecrate ourselves to the power and dominion of this Heart:
6. How it comes about that infidels themselves are subject to the power and dominion of Jesus Christ is clearly shown by St. Thomas, who gives us the reason and its explanation. For having put the question whether His judicial power extends to all men, and having stated that judicial authority flows naturally from royal authority, he concludes decisively as follows: "All things are subject to Christ as far as His power is concerned, although they are not all subject to Him in the exercise of that power" (3a., p., q. 59, a. 4). This sovereign power of Christ over men is exercised by truth, justice, and above all, by charity.
7. To this twofold ground of His power and domination He graciously allows us, if we think fit, to add voluntary consecration. Jesus Christ, our God and our Redeemer, is rich in the fullest and perfect possession of all things: we, on the other hand, are so poor and needy that we have nothing of our own to offer Him as a gift. But yet, in His infinite goodness and love, He in no way objects to our giving and consecrating to Him what is already His, as if it were really our own; nay, far from refusing such an offering, He positively desires it and asks for it: "My son, give me thy heart." We are, therefore, able to be pleasing to Him by the good will and the affection of our soul. For by consecrating ourselves to Him we not only declare our open and free acknowledgment and acceptance of His authority over us, but we also testify that if what we offer as a gift were really our own, we would still offer it with our whole heart. We also beg of Him that He would vouchsafe to receive it from us, though clearly His own. Such is the efficacy of the act of which We speak, such is the meaning underlying Our words.
8. And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore is it fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart-an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honor, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself...
10. Such an act of consecration, since it can establish or draw tighter the bonds which naturally connect public affairs with God, gives to States a hope of better things. In these latter times especially, a policy has been followed which has resulted in a sort of wall being raised between the Church and civil society. In the constitution and administration of States the authority of sacred and divine law is utterly disregarded, with a view to the exclusion of religion from having any constant part in public life. This policy almost tends to the removal of the Christian faith from our midst, and, if that were possible, of the banishment of God Himself from the earth. When men's minds are raised to such a height of insolent pride, what wonder is it that the greater part of the human race should have fallen into such disquiet of mind and be buffeted by waves so rough that no one is suffered to be free from anxiety and peril? When religion is once discarded it follows of necessity that the surest foundations of the public welfare must give way, whilst God, to inflict on His enemies the punishment they so richly deserve, has left them the prey of their own evil desires, so that they give themselves up to their passions and finally wear themselves out by excess of liberty.
11. Hence that abundance of evils which have now for a long time settled upon the world, and which pressingly call upon us to seek for help from Him by Whose strength alone they can be driven away. Who can He be but Jesus Christ the Only-begotten Son of God? "For there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved" (Acts iv., 12). We must have recourse to Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We have gone astray and we must return to the right path: darkness has overshadowed our minds, and the gloom must be dispelled by the light of truth: death has seized upon us, and we must lay hold of life. It will at length be possible that our many wounds be healed and all justice spring forth again with the hope of restored authority; that the splendors of peace be renewed, and swords and arms drop from the hand when all men shall acknowledge the empire of Christ and willingly obey His word, and "Every tongue shall confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father" (Philippians ii, II).
12. When the Church, in the days immediately succeeding her institution, was oppressed beneath the yoke of the Caesars, a young Emperor saw in the heavens a cross, which became at once the happy omen and cause of the glorious victory that soon followed. And now, to-day, behold another blessed and heavenly token is offered to our sight-the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a cross rising from it and shining forth with dazzling splendor amidst flames of love. In that Sacred Heart all our hopes should be placed, and from it the salvation of men is to be confidently besought.
We see from the preceding quote that the separation of Church from State is a trick of the Devil to separate man from God. Further, we see again that virtuous leaders, devoted to Christ, such as Constantine, are the only type of leaders that can lead society to the splendor of peace and the Kingdom of God.
Regarding virtuousness being a necessity to rule effectively, we read the following from Saint Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, First Part of the Second Part, Question 105.1: The Reason for the Judicial Precepts - The reason for the judicial precepts relating to the rulers:
I answer that, Two points are to be observed concerning the right ordering of rulers in a state or nation. One is that all should take some share in the government: for this form of constitution ensures peace among the people, commends itself to all, and is most enduring, as stated in Polit. ii, 6. The other point is to be observed in respect of the kinds of government, or the different ways in which the constitutions are established. For whereas these differ in kind, as the Philosopher states (Polit. iii, 5), nevertheless the first place is held by the "kingdom," where the power of government is vested in one; and "aristocracy," which signifies government by the best, where the power of government is vested in a few. Accordingly, the best form of government is in a state or kingdom, where one is given the power to preside over all; while under him are others having governing powers: and yet a government of this kind is shared by all, both because all are eligible to govern, and because the rules are chosen by all. For this is the best form of polity, being partly kingdom, since there is one at the head of all; partly aristocracy, in so far as a number of persons are set in authority; partly democracy, i.e. government by the people, in so far as the rulers can be chosen from the people, and the people have the right to choose their rulers.
Such was the form of government established by the Divine Law. For Moses and his successors governed the people in such a way that each of them was ruler over all; so that there was a kind of kingdom. Moreover, seventy-two men were chosen, who were elders in virtue: for it is written (Deuteronomy 1:15): "I took out of your tribes wise and honorable, and appointed them rulers": so that there was an element of aristocracy. But it was a democratical government in so far as the rulers were chosen from all the people; for it is written (Exodus 18:21): "Provide out of all the people wise [Vulgate: 'able'] men," etc.; and, again, in so far as they were chosen by the people; wherefore it is written (Deuteronomy 1:13): "Let me have from among you wise [Vulgate: 'able'] men," etc. Consequently it is evident that the ordering of the rulers was well provided for by the Law.
Reply to Objection 2. A kingdom is the best form of government of the people, so long as it is not corrupt. But since the power granted to a king is so great, it easily degenerates into tyranny, unless he to whom this power is given be a very virtuous man: for it is only the virtuous man that conducts himself well in the midst of prosperity, as the Philosopher observes (Ethic. iv, 3). Now perfect virtue is to be found in few: and especially were the Jews inclined to cruelty and avarice, which vices above all turn men into tyrants. Hence from the very first the Lord did not set up the kingly authority with full power, but gave them judges and governors to rule them. But afterwards when the people asked Him to do so, being indignant with them, so to speak, He granted them a king, as is clear from His words to Samuel (1 Samuel 8:7): "They have not rejected thee, but Me, that I should not reign over them."
What follows is a description of what can happen when the powers that be dedicate themselves to the Heart of God:
And it came to pass after this, that David defeated the Philistines, and brought them down, and David took the bridle of tribute out of the hand of the Philistines. And he defeated Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the earth: and he measured with two lines, one to put to death, and one to save alive: and Moab was made to serve David under tribute. David defeated also Adarezer, the son of Rohob, king of Soba, when he went to extend his dominion over the river Euphrates. And David took from him a thousand and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen, and houghed all the chariot horses: and only reserved of them for one hundred chariots. And the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Adarezer, the king of Soba: and David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men. And David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and Syria served David under tribute: and the Lord preserved David in all his enterprises, whithersoever he went. And David took the arms of gold, which the servants of Adarezer wore, and brought them to Jerusalem. And out of Bete, and out of Beroth, cities of Adarezer, king David took an exceeding great quantity of brass. And Thou, the king of Emath, heard that David had defeated all the forces of Adarezer. And Thou sent Joram, his son, to king David, to salute him, and to congratulate with him, and to return him thanks; because he had fought against Adarezer, and had defeated him. For Thou was an enemy to Adarezer, and in his hand were vessels of gold, and vessels of silver, and vessels of brass. And king David dedicated them to the Lord, together with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all the nations, which he had subdued: (2 Kings 8: 1 - 11)
When the hearts of our leaders and our own hearts are devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus the world will become a pleasant
stepping stone to eternity. But not until then!
"Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are THE TRUE CHURCH" Saint Athanasius, "Apostle of Tradition" AD 373
John Gregory's FAITHFUL TO TRADITION Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus