|Set me like a seal on your heart,
like a seal on your arm.
For love is strong as death,
the flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of Yahweh himself.
Song of Songs 8:6
The Feast of Love has come. All during this time of preparation we have tried to be pilgrims on the road to conversion and reparation. Perhaps we arrive at today’s feast just beginning to understand what his conversion and reparation is all about. This is a gift in itself! “The end of our journeying is to arrive at the place where we started and know it for the very first time.” says the poet T.S. Eliot. What better gift could God give us on this day, but to fill our hearts with a profound understanding of how much they need to be converted to the gospel, to be
Canticle of Corinthians (13: 1-9, 13)
Now is fulfilled the plan of the Father:
If I have all the eloquence of humans or of angels,
If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and if I have faith in all its fullness to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece and if I even let them take my body to burn, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.
Love is always patient and kind; it is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense and is not resentful.
Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth;
Love does not come to an end. The gift of prophecy will fail,
There are three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.
Reading: Matthew: 11:25-39
Day One – Heart of Jesus: Word Made FleshWord was made flesh,
He lived among us
The Heart of Jesus is the living center of the Incarnate Word.
MSC Constitutions, 2
Scripture Reading: John 1: 1-5, 9-14, 16,18
Called to be Word:
God’s word has the power to convert me, so that I in turn may be word to others, a word consistent with the Word that is the life of Jesus, a word that can be heard, seen, read, remembered, a word that will give to others encouragement, challenge, spark, vitality, power. What does the word of my life say to others? Is there someone who is waiting for a word that only I can say? Who? What is that word? What word from the Heart of Jesus needs to come, through me, to a particular person, a particular group, for a particular situation with those with whom I work, live or relate?
What is the Word that you hear God saying to you?
Day Two – Heart of Jesus: Source of Living Water
I will turn into a spring inside them,
Cabrinian Psalm Prayer:
Oh Jesus, what are you like? If only everyone would know you!
Francesca Cabrini, Journal of a Trusting Heart
Scripture Reading: John 4: 10, 13-14
Called to be Water:
Wash. Yes-cleanse, flood, rinse, scour, soak, bathe me, in that pool, pond fountain, ocean, of your life.
Heart of Jesus, Jesus, our Advocate, our Counselor, only-begotten Son of God, give the abundance of your life to all who seek you with a sincere heart. In you is the hope of the future. Direct us to the Water of Life that our thirst may be satisfied and “like the deer that yearns for running water”, may we always find in you the life-giving stream that refreshes, our yearning soul. AMEN
Day Three – Heart of Jesus: Bread of Life
I am the living bread
Psalm Prayer: Canticle: (Wisdom 16:20-21, 24-26)
How different you are with your people!
Scripture Reading: John 6:35, 37-40, 48-51
Called to be Bread:
How am I being called to partake of the abundance of God?
Heart of Jesus, fount of unity and peace, strengthen communion in your Church. Allow us to be your body to the World. We taste and see your goodness for you have given us your very flesh and blood which nourishes and strengthens us. Our spirits are dry and parched and you say, “Come to the table I have set before you” the wine of your blood quenches our thirst and refreshes our spirits. The flesh of your body replenishes our strength and fills us to overflowing with your Spirit of truth. We give thanks and we bless you. AMEN
Day Four – Heart of Jesus, Light of the World
I am the light of the world;
Cabrinian Psalm Prayer:
The uncreated light of Jesus penetrates our souls
Called to be Light:
Heart of Jesus, radiate your light into our lives that we might become a light for others. Flame of God’s unwavering promises, redeem us, forgive us, save us, that we might bring the Good News to others. Christ of history, fulfillment of our time, enlighten our hearts and souls that we might pulse with God’s love. Enlighten our imagination that your kingdom might shine through us. AMEN
Day Five – Heart of Jesus: The Good Shepherd
I am the Good Shepherd;
As shepherds keep all their flocks in view
I shall bring them out of the countries where they are;
Called to Shepherd:
The image of shepherd describes Jesus’ relationship to his people: a covenant relationship that guides, leads, gathers, searches, cares for, watches over each one. Jesus distinguishes between good shepherds and hired hands, between shepherds who are self-effacing and those who are self-serving. Jesus indicates a pattern of “right shepherding” that he expects us to follow. How are my shepherding skills? Come to hear the gentle and trustworthy shepherd within your heart.Prayer:
Day Six – Heart of Jesus: Way, Truth, and Life
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Heart of Jesus, with the support of your grace, I can accomplish everything.
….F.X. Cabrini, Journal of a Trusting Heart, December, 1894
Scripture Reading: John 14: 1-7 Called to be Way, Truth, Life:
I may not be called to be a road for others to go to God, but I certainly am frequently called to be a “signpost,” one who re-orients a confused traveler, one who helps another to discern what the signs mean. This requires me to be traveling the authentic road to authentic life myself, so I can be of service to my fellow travelers. What sign am I called to give? It may be taking time to dialogue with someone, to love someone enough to reach out, even when the choices of the other seem to be heading in incomprehensible directions. Who is the person? What is the road? How can I help them read their own map?Ponderings:
Heart of Jesus, You are the Path of Life that I must follow. You are the Word of Life that speaks to my heart and the Truth that enlightens my mind. Help me to be attentive to your voice each and every time you call, your truth that I may speak it in love. May I always listen with open heart and lively faith. AMEN
Day Seven – Heart of Jesus: The True Vine
I am the Vine,
Cabrinian Psalm Prayer:
Scripture Reading: John 15: 1-8
Called to Bear Fruit:
Are my achievements the ones Jesus desires of me? Or am I so busy cultivating the fruit that I desire for myself that I never consider other possibilities? What fruit does God expect of me in my community or home, in my work, in my parish or other organization? What pruning am I aware of in my life? Do I cooperate or rebel? Am I so busy protecting myself that I fail to harvest the very fruits the Lord is asking of me?
How am I being called? What fruits does the tree of my life produce?
Heart of Jesus, fruit of the Spirit, giver of all good gifts, as you prune away all that is not healthy, not good in my life, give to me your heart so that I may act just, be compassionate, and follow you more wisely, so that I may serve you in love and in justice. AMEN
Day Eight – Heart of Jesus: Savior and Redeemer
Eternal life is this:
Vast and fruitful is the harvest field God spreads before you!
Called to Reconciliation:
Soon the feast of the Sacred Heart will be here; may reconciliation be the garment that I can wear to the feast. May it motivate me to identify the person or persons with whom I may need to reconcile. “The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.(Rom.5:5)” Therefore, this reconciliation is not impossible, it is empowered by a force far greater than my stubbornness, hurt feelings, long-standing grudges. If Jesus can see the good in us and in others, he also wants us to see with his eyes—to forgive and be reconciled with his heart. Who? Why? I alone know the answers. With his help, I can take the first steps—at home, at work, in the community, in the Church.
So our liberation to be compassionate comes from the knowledge that we belong to God,, not ourselves, and so there’s “nothing to lose” – we are free to love as God loves.
Heart of Jesus, You have told us, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you,” – you bid us to share with another the gift of your peace. Remove from our world the scourge of war. Free us from angers and jealousies, from festering resentments and covetous greed. Fill us with your Divine Spirit of peace, love, and forgiveness. AMEN
Day Nine – Heart of Jesus: Hope of the World
What have we to fear if the Heart of Jesus protects us?
Scripture Reading: John 19:31-37
Call To Fasting:
Today, the vigil of the feast of the Sacred Heart, the Cabrinian family is called to fast and to set aside what could be gleaned from the fasting so that all can join in the feast tomorrow. This fasting is an act of love, an act of solidarity, a witness that we do not live on bread alone but on the love that comes from his heart—tomorrow and all the days of our lives.
How am I being called to be one with my brother and sisters throughout the World? Gentleness, kindness, and love are more than places to visit. They are places we can take
Heart of Jesus, I seek the warmth of your embrace. Come and set my heart ablaze with the fire of your love. Inflame my heart and will as you did for your chosen Son, Jesus. Make my heart, like the heart of Christ, burn with compassion for the outcast, with comfort for the lonely and all who are in need. May my heart formed, in the pattern of your heart and become a fiery furnace, where your Reign will be forged in peace and justice. AMEN