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النشر الإلكتروني

FRIDAY

AFTER THE OCTAVE OF CORPUS CHR1STI.

THE FEAST OP THE SACKED HEART OF JESUS.

A New ray of light shines to-day in the heaven of holy Church, and its light brings warmth. The divine Master given to us by our Redeemer, that is, the Paraclete Spirit, who has come down into this world, continues his teachings to us, in the sacred Liturgy. The earliest of these his divine teachings was the mystery of the Trinity; and we have worshipped the Blessed Three: we have been taught who God is, we know him in his own nature, we have been admitted, by faith, into the sanctuary of the infinite Essence. Then, this Spirit, the mighty wind of Pentecost,1 opened to our souls new aspects of the truth, which it is his mission to make the world remember; * and his revelation left us prostrate before the sacred Host, the Memorial which God himself has left us of all his wonderful works.8 To-day, it is the sacred Heart of the Word made flesh that this Holy Spirit puts before us, that we may know and love and adore it.

There is a mysterious connexion between these three Feasts, of Trinity, Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart. The aim of the Holy Ghost, in all three, is this,—to initiate us more and more into that knowledge of God by faith, which is to fit us for the face-to-face Vision in heaven. We have already seen how God, being made known to us, by the first, in himself, manifests himself to us, by the second, in his outward works,—for the holy Eucharist is the memorial, here below, in which he has brought together, and with all possible perfection, all those his wondrous works. But, by what law can we pass, so rapidly, so almost abruptly, from one Feast, which is all directly regarding God, to another, which celebrates his works, done by him to and for us? Then again: how came the divine thought, how came, that is, eternal Wisdom, from the infinite repose of the eternally blessed Trinity, to the external activity of a love for us poor creatures, which has produced what we call the Mysteries of our Redemption? The Heart of the Man-God is the solution of these difficulties ; it answers all such questions, and explains to us the whole divine plan.

1 Acts, ii. 2. » St. John, xiv. 26. » Ps. ex. 3.

"We knew that the sovereign happiness which is in God, we knew that the life eternal communicated from the Father to the Son, and from these two to the Holy Ghost, in light and love,—was to be given by the will of these Three Divine Persons, to created beings; not only to those which were purely spiritual, but, likewise, to that creature whose nature is the union of spirit and matter, that is, to Man. We are of this lower nature; and a pledge of this life eternal was given to us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It is by the Eucharist that Man, who has already been made a partaker of the divine nature' by the grace of the sanctifying Spirit, is united to the divine Word, and is made a true member of this Only Begotten Son of the Father. Yes: though it hath not yet appeared what we shall be, says St. John, still we are now the sons of God; ice know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like to him,2 for we are called to live, as the "Word himself does, in the society of that eternal Father of his, for ever and ever.3

But the infinite love of the sacred Trinity, which thus called us frail creatures to a participation in its own blessed life, would accomplish this merciful design by the help and means of another love, a love more like what we ourselves can feel; that is, the created love of a human soul, evinced by the beatings of a Heart of flesh like our own. The Angel of the great Counsel, who is sent to make known to the world the merciful designs of the Ancient of days, took to himself, in order to fulfil his divine mission, a created, a human form; and this would enable men to see with their eyes, yea, and even touch with their hands, the Word of life, that life eternal which was with the Father, but appeared even unto us.1 This human nature, which the Son of God took into personal union with himself, from the womb of the Virgin-Mother, was the docile instrument of infinite love, but it was not absorbed into, or lost in, the Godhead; it retained its own substance, its special faculties, its distinct will, which Will ruled, under the influence of the divine Word, the acts and movements of his most holy Soul and adorable Body. From the very first instant of its existence, the human Soul of Christ was inundated, more directly than was any other creature, with that true light of the Word, which enlighteneth every man who cometh into this world;2 it enjoyed the face-to-face vision of the divine essence; and, therefore, took in, at a single glance, the absolute beauty of the sovereign Being, and the wisdom of the divine decree,-which called finite beings into a participation of infinite bliss. It understood its sublime mission, and conceived an immense love for man and for God. This love began simultaneously with life, and filled not only his soul, but impressed, in its own way, the Body too,—the Body which was formed from the substance of the Virgin-Mother, by the operation of the Holy Ghost. The effect of his love told, consequently, upon his Heart of true human flesh; it set in motion those beatings, which made the Blood of redemption circulate in his sacred veins.

1 2 St. Pet. i. 4. 2 1 St. John, iii. 2. » 1 St. John, i. 3.

1 1 St. John, i. 2. » St. John, i. 9.

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For, it was not with him as with other men, the pulsations of whose hearts are, at first, the consequence of nothing but the vital power which is in the human frame; and, later on, when age has awakened reason into act, the ideas so produced will produce physical impressions on us, which will, now and then, quicken, or dull, the throbbings of these our hearts. With the Man-God it was not so : his Heart, from the very first moment of its life, responded, that is, throbbed, to the law of his soul's love, whose power to act upon his human Heart was as incessant, and as intense, as is the power of organic vitality,—a love as burning at the first instant of the Incarnation, as it is this very hour in heaven. For the human love which the Incarnate Word had, resulting as it did from his intellectual knowledge of God and his creatures, was as perfect as that knowledge, and, therefore, as incapable of all progress; though, being our Brother, and our model in all things, he, day by day, made more manifest to us the exquisite sensibility of his divine Heart. *

At the period of Jesus' coming upon this earth, man had forgotten how to love, for he had forgotten what true beauty was. His heart of flesh seemed to him as a sort of excuse for his false love of false goods: his heart was but an outlet, whereby his soul could stray from heavenly things to the husks of earth, there to waste his power and his substance.1 To this material world, which the soul of man was intended to make subserve its Maker's glory,—to this world, which, by a sad perversion, kept man's soul a slave to his senses and passions,—the Holy Ghost sent a marvellous power, which, like a resistless lever, would replace the world in its right position:—it was the sacred Heart of Jesus; a Heart of flesh, like that of other human beings, from whose. created throbbings there would ascend to the eternal Father an expression of

1 St. Luke, xv. 13.

love, which would be a homage infinitely pleasing to the infinite Majesty, because there was in that love of that human Heart the dignity of its union with the Word. It is a harp of sweetest melody, that is ever vibrating under the touch of the Spirit of Love; it gathers up into its own music the music of all creation, whose imperfections it corrects, and supplies its deficiencies, and tunes all discordant voices into unity, and so offers to the glorious Trinity a hymn of perfect praise. The Trinity finds its delight in this Heart. It is the one only organum, as St. Gertrude calls it,1 the one only instrument which finds acceptance with the Most High. Through it must pass all the inflamed .praises of the burning Seraphim, just as must do the humble homage paid to its God by inanimate creation. By it alone are to come upon this world the favours of heaven. It is the mystic ladder between man and God, the channel of all graces, the way whereby man ascends to God and God descends to man.

The Holy Ghost, whose master-piece it is, has made it a living image of himself; for although, in the ineffable relations of the divine Persons, he is not the source of love, he is its substantial expression, or, in theological language, the term; it is he who inclines the holy Trinity to those works outside itself, which first produce creatures, and then, having given them being, (and to some, life,) he (the Holy Spirit)

{tours out upon them all the effusion of their Creator's ove for them. And so is it with the love which the Man-God has for God and Man,—its direct and, so to say, material expression is the throbbing it produces upon his sacred Heart; and again, it is by that Heart, that, like the Water and Blood which came from his wounded Side, he pours out upon the world a stream of redemption and grace, which is to be followed by the still richer one of glory.

1 legatus divinte pietatis; lib. ii. c. 23; lib. iii. c. 25.

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