Friday, 3 June 2016

Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Matins readings in the Benedictine Office (1962) for the feast of the Sacred Heart are set out below.

Nocturn I: Jeremiah 24:5-7; 30:18-29, 21-24; 31: 1-3, 31-33

(Note: The psalms set for the feast are Ps 32, 33, 35, 40, 46, 60)

Reading 1: A message from the Lord God of Israel: This meaning the good figs have, that good will of mine goes with the men of Juda I have banished from their homes, and sent away into the country of Chaldaea.  I will smile on them once more, and bring them back home, and all will be building now, not pulling down, planting now, not uprooting. And I will give them a heart to know me, know me by my divine name; they my people, and I their God, once in good earnest they have retraced their steps, and come back to me.

R. I will make an everlasting Covenant with them, and I will not cease from doing them good, and I will put my fear in their hearts,* So that they shall not depart from me.
V. Yea, I will rejoice over them, to do them good with my whole Heart.
R. So that they shall not depart from me.

Reading 2: Nay, says the Lord, I mean to bring tent-dwelling Jacob home, have pity on those ruined walls, build the city anew on its height, set up the temple and its ordinances anew; here songs of praise shall echo once again, and cries of mirth. They shall increase, that hitherto had dwindled, be exalted, that once were brought low. A prince of their own race they shall have, a home-born ruler, singled out by my own call to serve me; that office, the Lord says, none may take on himself unbidden. You shall be my own people, and I your own God. Like a whirlwind it will suddenly appear, the Lord’s vengeance; will break in storm, and light upon rebel heads. Nor shall the divine anger be appeased till the blow has been struck and the decree executed; what his design was, will be known all too well, all too late.

R. It was not an open enemy that has done me this dishonour, for then I could have borne it,* But it was even thou, mine own familiar friend, who did also eat of my Bread.
V. Neither was it mine adversary that did magnify himself against me, for then peradventure I would have hid myself from him.
R. But it was even thou, mine own familiar friend, who did also eat of my Bread.

Reading 3: No clan in Israel, the Lord says, but shall own me as its God when that day comes, and all of them shall be my people. Out there in the solitudes they have won pardon, those exiles the sword left untouched; Israel shall find a home, the Lord says, the Lord, making himself known from far away. With unchanging love I love thee, and now in mercy I have drawn thee to myself.

Reading 4: A time is coming, the Lord says, when I mean to ratify a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Juda. It will not be like the covenant which I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand, to rescue them from Egypt; that they should break my covenant, and I, all the while, their master, the Lord says. No, this is the covenant I will grant the people of Israel, the Lord says, when that time comes. I will implant my law in their innermost thoughts, engrave it in their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

R. And we, being dead in our sins, hath God quickened together with Christ, * For his great love wherewith he hath loved us.
V. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace.
R. For his great love wherewith he hath loved us.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For his great love wherewith he hath loved us.

Second Nocturn (From the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI)

(Psalms 84, 85, 93, 96, 97, 107)

Reading 5: Among the wonderful developments of sacred teaching and piety, by which the plans of the divine Wisdom are daily made clear to the Church, hardly any is more manifest than the triumphant progress made by the devotion of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Very often indeed, during the course of past ages, Fathers, Doctors, and Saints have celebrated our Redeemer's love: and they have said, that the wound opened in the side of Christ was the hidden fountain of all graces. Moreover, from the Middle Ages onward, when the faithful began to show a more tender piety towards the most sacred Humanity of the Saviour, contemplative souls became accustomed to penetrate through that wound almost to the very Heart itself, wounded for the love of men. And from that time, this form of contemplation became so familiar to all persons of saintly life, that there was no country or religious order in which, during this period, witnesses to it were not to be found.

R. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him,
* Yea, unto all such as call upon him faithfully.
V. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, long-suffering and of great goodness.
R. Yea, unto all such as call upon him faithfully.

Reading 6: Finally, during recent centuries, and most especially at that period when heretics, in the name of a false piety, strove to discourage Christians from receiving the most Holy Eucharist, the veneration of the most Sacred Heart began to be openly practised, principally through the exertions of St. John Eudes, who is by no means unworthily called the founder of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Reading 7: But in order to establish fully and entirely the worship of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to spread the same throughout the whole world, God himself chose as his instrument a most humble virgin from the order of the Visitation, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who even in her earliest years already had a burning love for the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and to whom Christ the Lord had very many times appeared, and was pleased to make known the riches and the desires of his divine Heart. The most famous of these apparitions was that in which Jesus revealed himself to her in prayer before the blessed Sacrament, shewed her his most Sacred Heart, and, complaining that in return for his unbounded love, he met with nothing but outrages and ingratitude from mankind, he ordered her to concern herself with the establishment of a new feast, on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi, on which his Heart should be venerated with due honour, and that the insults offered him by sinners in the Sacrament of love should be expiated by worthy satisfaction.

R. I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent;
* Yea, thou hast revealed them unto babes.
V. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.
R. Yea, thou hast revealed them unto babes.

Reading 8: At length, in the year 1765, the Supreme Pontiff Clement XIII approved the Mass and Office in honour of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus; and Pius IX extended the feast to the universal Church. From then on the worship of the most Sacred Heart, like an overflowing river, washing away all obstacles, hath poured itself forth over all the earth, and, at the dawn of the new century, Leo XIII, having proclaimed a jubilee, decided to dedicate the whole human race to the most Sacred Heart. This consecration was actually carried out with solemn rites in all the churches of the Catholic world, and brought about a great increase of this devotion, leading not only nations but even private families to it, who in countless numbers dedicated themselves to the Divine Heart, and submitted themselves to its royal sway. Lastly, the Sovereign Pontiff Pius XI, in order that, by its solemnity, the feast might answer more fully to the greatly widespread devotion of the Christian people, raised the feast of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus to the rite of a double of the first class, with an octave; and moreover, that the violated rights of Christ, the supreme King and most loving Lord, might be repaired, and that the sins of the nations might be bewailed, he ordered that annually, on that same feast-day, there should be recited an expiatory form of prayer in all the churches of the Christian world.

R. All nations whom thou hast made shall come,* And they shall worship thee, O Lord.
V. Yea, they shall glorify thy Name, for thou art great, and doest wondrous things.
R. And they shall worship thee, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And they shall worship thee, O Lord.

Third Nocturn (St Bonaventure):

(Canticles: Is 12:1-6; 1 Kings 2:1-5, 6-10)

Reading 9: In order that the Church might be taken out of the side of Christ, in his deep sleep on the Cross, and that the Scripture might be fulfilled which saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced: it was divinely ordained that one of the soldiers should pierce his sacred side with a spear, and open it. Then forthwith there came flowing out blood and water, which was the price of our salvation, pouring forth from its mountain-source, in sooth, from the secret places of his Heart, to give power to the Sacraments of the Church, to bestow the life of grace, and to be as a saving drink of living waters, flowing up to life eternal for those who were already quickened in Christ. Arise, then, O soul beloved of Christ. Cease not thy vigilance, place there thy lips, and drink the waters from the fount of salvation.

R. If I be lifted up,* I will draw all men unto me.
V. This he said, signifying what death he should die.
R. I will draw all men unto me.

Reading 10: Because we are now come to the sweet Heart of Jesus, and because it is good for us to be here, let us not too soon turn away therefrom. O how good and joyful a thing it is to dwell in this Heart. What a good treasure, what a precious pearl, is thy Heart, O most excellent Jesu, which we have found hidden in the pit which hath been dug in this field, namely, in thy body. Who would cast away such a pearl? Nay, rather, for this same I would give all my pearls. I will sell all my thoughts and affections, and buy the same for myself, turning all my thoughts to the Heart of the good Jesus, and without fail it will support me.

R. Be ye therefore followers of God;* And walk ye therefore in love.
V. For Christ also hath loved us and hath given himself for us.
R. And walk ye therefore in love.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And walk ye therefore in love.

Reading 11: Therefore, o most sweet Jesu, finding this Heart that is thine and mine, I will pray to thee, my God: admit my prayers into the shrine of hearkening: and draw me even more altogether into thy Heart.For to this end was thy side pierced, that an entry might be open unto us. To this end was thy Heart wounded, that in it we might be able to dwell secure from alarms from without. And it was wounded none the less on this account that, because of the visible wound, we may perceive the wound of love which is invisible. How could this fire of love better shine forth than for him to permit that not only his body, but that even his Heart, should be wounded with the spear?

Reading 12: Who would not love that Heart so wounded? Who would not, in return, love one who is so loving? Who would not embrace one so chaste? Wherefore let us who are in the flesh love in return, as much as we can, him who so loveth, embrace our wounded one, whose hands and feet, side and Heart, have been pierced by wicked husbandmen; and let us pray that he may deign to bind our hearts, still hard and impenitent, with the chain of his love, and wound them with the dart thereof.

R. Be ye therefore followers of God;* And walk ye therefore in love.
V. For Christ also hath loved us and hath given himself for us.
R. And walk ye therefore in love.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And walk ye therefore in love.

The Gospel for the Feast of the Sacred Heart is from St John 19:

31 Judæi ergo (quoniam parasceve erat) ut non remanerent in cruce corpora sabbato (erat enim magnus dies ille sabbati), rogaverunt Pilatum ut frangerentur eorum crura, et tollerentur. 32 Venerunt ergo milites: et primi quidem fregerunt crura, et alterius, qui crucifixus est cum eo. 33 Ad Jesum autem cum venissent, ut viderunt eum jam mortuum, non fregerunt ejus crura, 34 sed unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit, et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua. 35 Et qui vidit, testimonium perhibuit: et verum est testimonium ejus. Et ille scit quia vera dicit: ut et vos credatis. 36 Facta sunt enim hæc ut Scriptura impleretur: Os non comminuetis ex eo. 37 Et iterum alia Scriptura dicit: Videbunt in quem transfixerunt.

[31] Then the Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. [32] The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. [33] But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. [34] But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. [35] And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe. [36] For these things were done, that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. [37] And again another scripture saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced. 

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