Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Jesuits (cont.)

Since the month of June is specially dedicated to the Sacred Heart, we continue our examination of this devotion, paying particular attention to the role of the Society of Jesus.  From the time of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the great mystic teacher of devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Jesuits were instrumental in spreading this devotion.  In recent years, however, the Jesuits appear to have dropped this mission, having privately determined the devotion to be outmoded.

In one of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque's letters to her spiritual director, St. Claude de la Columbiere, SJ, she relates that Our Lord Himself had confided to her that "it is principally by means of the Fathers of the Company of Jesus that He wishes to establish everywhere this solid devotion [to the Sacred Heart of Jesus]."  To this end, Our Lord, through St. Margaret Mary, commissioned Fr. John Croiset, SJ , to publish a book concerning devotion to the Sacred Heart.  Fr. Croiset duly published "The Devotion to the Sacred Heart" in 1691 AD.  The book enjoyed a large circulation, and devotion to the Sacred Heart spread quickly.  However, in 1704 Fr. Croiset's book was cited by the Congregation of the Index for the omission of certain formalities, and was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books.   Consequently, Fr. Croiset's book fell into obscurity. 

In another of her letters, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had foreseen this fate for Fr. Croiset's book, predicting further that since the book was in perfect accord with the expressed wish of Jesus Christ Himself, no error would be found in the text, and after a period suitable to Our Lord's purposes, the book would be restored to circulation.   This is precisely what happened.  Early in the 20th century, the first Archbishop of Sarajevo, wishing to consecrate his archdiocese to the Sacred Heart, and considering Fr. Croiset's book the finest available regarding devotion to the Sacred Heart, requested the Sacred Congregation of the Index to re-examine the work.  The Congregation did so.   Finding no error in the text, and without making any revision, the Congregation removed the book from the Index, and permitted its publication.

The following is taken from "The Devotion to the Sacred Heart" by Fr. John Croiset, SJ:

[I]t is easy to see what is meant by the devotion to the Sacred Heart: by this devotion we mean the ardent love which we conceive for Jesus Christ at the remembrance of all the marvels which He has wrought to show His tender love for us, especially in Sacrament of the Eucharist, which is the miracle of His love; we mean the keen regret which we feel at the sight of the outrages which men commit against Jesus Christ in this adorable Mystery; we mean the ardent desire which presses us to leave nothing undone to make reparation for these outrages by every possible means.

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