You can find the First Friday devotions here.
To begin, bear with me, this is a personal post. But I wish to honor the Sacred Heart of Our Lord pierced for love of me.
In honor of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, I am beginning a novena of a daily pilgrimage to the Scala Santa here in Rome. (I’ll be sure to continue posts throughout this novena). These are the steps Saint Helen brought from the Holy Land upon which Our Lord was condemned to death. I was inspired to do this pilgrimage by a memory from when I first came to Rome. The group of peers I was with all proclaimed that if they lived in Rome they would make the Holy Stairs every day. I haven’t lived up to this, obviously.
This past few months in Rome, however, for me has proven to be a step forward. I have been captivated by the life of Saint Paul of the Cross and recall daily something he would often say in remembrance of the graces Our Lord gave to him. His sentiments were a great recognition of the atrocities of sin he was capable of committing, and the acknowledgement that it was only for the Love of Christ that kept him on his path of holiness. Yes, Saint Paul was a heroic man, priest, and founder. But he knew that none of this was on account of him. I, not being heroic, but humiliated by my own past sin and the weakness of my current state know daily that this path I am following is all by the grace of God, the many graces.
I say it is a step forward as I am seeing more clearly the triumph of our Lord over the past few years of my discernment. It has been a difficult time, to be honest. Having the desire to follow Our Lord’s holy will is all I can claim, though even this is a gift. All else has been His prompting, His admonition, and His overflowing charity. How easy complacency is! How easy it is to blame others! How easy it is to complain!
I begin this novena in seeking reparation for all my past sins, for a strengthening to avoid temptations, and most importantly out of gratitude for all the Lord has done in my life. I have a lot of maturing to do, in recognizing these gifts. I also wish to make this pilgrimage for all those who have spiritually and financially supported me in the discernment of my vocation, your intentions and your blessed reward in heaven are in my prayers.
Pope Benedict XVI once said, “[D]evotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life.”
Modern man sees our weaknesses and inclinations to sin as justifiable and the course to follow. However, our weakness is the means of our growth. But humility is needed. In our humility, from the depths of our hearts, we can cry, “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!” That is, make us to share in Your love, O Blessed Trinity! When I look at Your Heart, let me see the Love of the Eternal Father! Let me hear His voice, “You are my beloved son.” We can’t hear this when we persist in sin. In fact, we despise these words.
I wish I was more affluent in speaking on these matters. But where I lack, I pray it encourages you to turn to the Sacred Heart, especially today, with a renewed or a new consecration to this Love, by which you were redeemed. Don’t turn away from the true abundance of this Love, wherein we find our true identity as beloved of the Father.