January 29, 2002
volume 13, no. 17

The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart

by Father Joseph McDonnell, S.J.

    Reprinted with permission of Catholic Family News, see Editor's Notes below.
Part Eight

Meditation on the Fourth Promise:
"They Shall Find in My Heart an Assured Refuge During Life and Especially at the Hour of Death."

1st Point - The Heart of Jesus was pierced on the Cross in order to afford us a refuge in affliction.


    We are a tissue of faults and weakness. We carry about with us the precious pearl of sanctifying grace, in the very frailest of frail vessels. At any moment, if not guarded by the protecting Hand of God, that fragile vase may strike against some obstacle and break. Our soul itself is a citadel, within which traitors lurk, whose, one ambition is to fling the gates wide open and admit the foe.

Affections and Petitions

    O Heart of my Savior, thus surrounded by my sworn enemies, and, what is worse, exposed to treason from within, I fly to Thee as to a refuge, strong and sure, against the frailty, the inconstancy, the traitorous weakness of my own poor self. In Thy wounded Heart, O Jesus, I shall find strength in my frailty, perseverance in my inconstancy, generosity and loyalty to Thee against the treacherous suggestions of vacillating human nature. In a word, Thou, O Heart of Jesus, art my "assured Refuge" in the dangers and the toils of life.

2nd Point ----- The Sacred Heart our refuge against our enemies


    We have two powerful external enemies to fight against: the world and the devil. The world is that "world" which hates Our Lord and His disciples, [John 15: 18] for which He refused to pray, [John 17: 9] which is "totus in maligno positus-----wholly seated in wickedness." [1 John 5: 19] Its example, its principles and practice are a standing menace to God's friends and followers. Though living in its midst, they must break with it, and turn from it if they would be saved. And the "Princeps hujus mundi-----the prince of this world," as St. John calls him, [John 12: 31] is the devil, a fierce, malign, and fallen Angel, who hates us and pursues us with the terrible skill and power of an ex-Archangel. Against such powerful enemies as these we, weak mortals, have no chance, unless we lean on God and seek a refuge in His Sacred Heart.

Affections and Petitions

    O Heart of Jesus, as the dove pursued by hawks takes refuge in the "hollow places of the wall," [Cant. 2: 14] so do I fly to Thee for refuge from the enemies that threaten my destruction. In Thee I am secure. In Thee I shall find rest.

3rd Point - The Sacred Heart, our refuge from God's anger Consideration

    The Sacred Heart is the Divine Mediator Who stands between God's justice and us, sinful creatures. Christ shows His Wounds, and, most of all, His wounded Heart, to His Eternal Father, and pleads for mercy for repentant sinners.

Affections and Petitions To Thee, O ever merciful O Heart of my Redeemer, I turn for refuge from the fury of God's justice, which I have brought upon me by my sins. Save me from His wrath, and stand between me and His justice. The infinite merits of Thy Love and Passion and Death shall be the all-powerful atonement for my many sins. "We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just." [1 John 2: 1]

4th Point----- The Sacred Heart our refuge at the hour of death


    A happy death! This means a happy eternity. It Is the greatest blessing God can give me. It is worth infinitely more than all the treasures of this world. I shrink so at the thought of judgment-----its uncertainty-----shall I be saved or lost? My dispositions may be good at present-----shall I persevere in them? I have one great hope, one solid consolation: if I am devout to the Sacred Heart in life, It will most surely be my refuge and support in death. Mary, too, as I so often ask Her in the Ave Maria, will "pray for us, now and at the hour of our death." And with their help, and with the great St. Joseph standing by, I shall gently give my soul to God.

Affections and Petitions

    "Oh! how sweet a thing it is to die, after having had in life a tender devotion to the Heart of Him Who is to be my judge. " In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum.

    " Our Lord gave me to understand that it is, in a peculiar manner, in His Sacred Heart that they will find their refuge during their entire Life and especially at the hour of death"-----Letter of Blessed Margaret Mary to her Director

Next Issue: Part Nine

    EDITOR'S NOTES: Since this site is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we are presenting the Meditations and Commentary first written by Father Joseph McDonnell, S.J. during the pontificate of Pope Saint Pius X. We have received the gracious permission of John Vennari, editor of Catholic Family News to reprint the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart in The DAILY CATHOLIC. We urge you to subscribe to John's excellent monthly publication for only $20 a year by calling 1-905-871-6292 or e-mail them at CFN.

       The book by Fr. McDonnell has been a favorite of countless Catholics over the decades, and CFN gives it the highest praise, "especially because of the author's erudition in weaving solid doctrinal considerations into his spiritual commentaries. The work is as much a catechism as it is a book of meditations. It continually instructs and uplifts. We pray this series serves as an incentive for more people to practice the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus." We echo our 'Amen' to that and thank John and his publication for allowing us to publish this outstanding work in installments each issue. The one in this issue is reprinted from the January 2001 issue of Catholic Family News.


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For past installments , see Archives of The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart

For the List of Promises given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, see Twelve Promises

Tuesday, January 29, 2002
volume 13, no. 17

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