The Sacred Heart of Our Savior and the Immaculate Heart of his Mother are powerful reminders of the importance of our hearts. We may identify our heart as the all-important symbol of our physical health, or the safe place in which we guard our affections for those we hold most dear, but this does not begin to acknowledge their true spiritual value.
In the Scripture, the heart is the source of everything valuable in us - and the source of our knowledge of God. In the Old Testament, the Psalmist begs God to "create a new heart" within him, and when our ancestors turned their hearts away from God and found themselves in a physical and moral exile in the land of their enemies, the prophet Jeremiah preached that this punishment was an appropriate punishment for a people whose hearts were hearts "deceitful." But our merciful Father promised a remedy - nothing less than "new" hearts, aligned as one, single heart, to return to God, and to know and love God whole-heartedly.
When we turn to the gospel, Jesus tells us our hearts are so valuable we will find them wherever we find our "treasure," whatever we consider most precious. Our Savior adds that whatever comes out of our mouth proceeds from our heart, and this has the immense power to defile -condemn- us. These words not only describe the tremendous value of our hearts, they are powerful warnings that we should take care to make certain our hearts are in the proper place, for where we find them, we find ourselves.
One of the maxims of our faith teaches, "The Church believes as she prays." To gain some idea of the depth - and breadth - of what our Church believes about the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, we might do well to consider the litanies composed to honor them. In the Litany of the Sacred Heart, we describe Jesus' heart as the holy temple of God, a glowing furnace of charity, a vessel of justice and love, the abyss of all virtues, and the center of all hearts. The Savior's Heart merits these honors because, the litany reminds us, it was overwhelmed with reproaches, bruised for our iniquities, pierced with a lance, and victim for our sins.
These titles have an undeniably noble sound, but we must look beyond the words themselves, to grasp what they invite us to share. To call the Heart of Jesus a "furnace" or an "abyss" is to express our desire to be consumed by his love. Our prayer begs Jesus to accept us, with our manifold failings, as a sacrifice to his mercy.
The tribute paid the Immaculate Heart of Mary is no less awe-inspiring. The litany names her model of the Church, exemplar in faith and charity, and our Mother, not only given us by Jesus as he hung upon the cross, but who, beneath the cross, accepted us as sons and daughters. In the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night before his crucifixion, the human Jesus endured a moment of abandonment in which he asked the Father to spare him the coming anguish of the cross. "...nevertheless," he added, "not as I will but as you will." Our Blessed Mother must have endured a similar sense of abandonment at the foot of the cross. But her unblemished heart enabled her to look beyond the horrific sight of her crucified son, and to embrace not only another son - the disciple Jesus loved - but each of us.
Our celebration of the feasts of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts takes on special significance this year, as 2017 marks the one hundredth anniversary of Our Blessed Mother's appearances at Fatima. We may most often identify those apparitions with Mary's urging the young shepherds to pray for peace in a world embroiled in war, but her message also emphasized reparation to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of those faithful youngsters, will be canonized on May 13. We could do far worse than to take Mary's words "to heart," and follow their example, by offering prayers and personal sacrifices, especially in these days when our news media present the world's peace as a more and more fragile and elusive reality.
In the last issue of Light and Life, when Fr. Reginald reflected on the morality of homosexual acts, he observed,
Homosexual relations are an example of sexuality similarly misused. The Catechism teaches, "They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity."
One of our friends wrote to say Fr. Reginald had quoted from the first edition of the Catechism. The second edition, the writer observed, goes into great detail, and remarks "...tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered'... Under no circumstances can they be approved."
Needless to say. Fr. Reginald deeply regrets his error on so sensitive an issue. It was the result -quite literally- of wearing out his Catechism. He grew tired of taping the pages together, so picked up another copy, unaware it was not the current edition. He has since purchased a new copy of the second edition, and promises his references henceforth will be up to date.
REMEMBER THE TITANIC?
This would be an interesting question to pose to Fr. Duffner's mother, as our beloved former director of the Rosary Center was born on April 14, 1915, exactly three years after the RMS Titanic began the plunge to its watery doom. Fr. Duffner has fared far better, and, at the tender age of one hundred and two, still finds his way to the Rosary Center almost every day. Generous friends enabled us to install an electric lift by one of the Center's doors, and this provides great assistance as Fr. Duffner, who now uses a wheelchair, negotiates the way to his office.
WANT COMPANY WHILE PRAYING THE ROSARY?
Praying the Rosary for the World is a remarkable devotional work, and our friends are finding it particularly valuable this year, when we celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of Our Lady's apparition at Fatima, and attend her admonition to pray the Rosary. Even the most devout among us occasionally find prayer tiring, so the poignant reflections in this booklet, prepared by the cloistered Dominican nuns at Corpus Christi Monastery, in Menlo Park, California, make it quite valuable for anyone seeking a spiritual companion. Paperback, $2.50.
Four of our Dominican brothers will be ordained to the diaconate this May 27th at 10 AM at our church in San Francisco, St. Dominic's. They will then finish their theological studies and be ordained to the priesthood next year. Thank you for supporting their education and formation through your donations!
By request, we've added audiobooks of The Secret of the Rosary and True Devotion to Mary, two spiritual classics from St. Louis de Montfort, loved by many faithful. Each is about three and half hours of audio on CD. These are especially perfect for commuters or those whose sight is failing. $17.95 each. We've also added a new audio CD from Fr. Brian Mullady, OP, "Fatima and the Rosary: A Compendium of the Gospel," just in time for Our Lady of Fatima's Feast and Centenary. $10.
Because of mailing requirements, our printed catalog
is limited by space on how many items we can list at
the same time, but our new online store has no such
limitations! If you visit us at
you'll be able to peruse our entire available inventory, and we add items there as soon as we get them.
2 Novenas of Masses in honor of
The Rosary Center
PO Box 3617
Portland, OR 97208 USA