Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Overcoming Obstacles to Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Since June is specially dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus we will be paying particular attention to this devotion throughout the month.

In "The Devotion to the Sacred Heart," by Fr. John Croiset, SJ, which was commissioned by Our Lord Himself, through St. Margaret Mary, Fr. Croiset tells us that the obstacles to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus may be reduced to four: "great tepidity in the service of God, self-love, secret pride, and certain passions which people have not taken care to mortify from the beginning of their conversion."

According to Fr. Croiset, there are two principal means of overcoming these obstacles.  The first is true mortification, which we discussed earlier.  The second means is sincere humility.  Of sincere humility, Fr. Croiset writes:

"'Jesus Christ," says St. Augustine "does not say to us: 'Learn of Me to work miracles,' but 'Learn of Me because I am meek and humble of heart' (Matt. 11:29), in order to show us that without humility there can be no true piety."  People are sufficiently persuaded of the necessity of this virtue; the difficulty is to know in what true humility consists.  Many think themselves truly humble if they have a low opinion of themselves, but they are not pleased when others have the same opinion of them.  It is not enough to know that we have no virtue of merit; we must believe it, and be satisfied when others believe it.  The first step towards acquiring this virtue is to demand it constantly from God; the next, to convince ourselve of our imperfections by frequent and serious reflection on ourselves.   The remembrance of what we have been, and of what we might have become without the grace of God, are powerful helps to keep us humble.   Really good people think little about others, but pay attention to themselves.  Really humble people are not scandalized because their weakness is perfectly known to themselves: they see themselves so near the abyss, and fear so much to fall in, that they are not surprised that others do fall in. . . .The truest marks of humility are: to cherish those who despise us, not to avoid the humiliations which present themselves, not to take pleasure in vain thoughts and projects about the future which serve only to nourish secret pride, never to speak in praise of ourselves, never to complain of what God permits to happen to us, or wish to be pitied, not to be troubled about our falls; to excuse the faults of our neighbor, to defer in everything to others, to distrust ourselves in our undertakings, and to have a low esteem of what we accomplish; finally, to pray much and speak little.

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