One-Hundred-Nine Years Ago Today

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On June 9, 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The eighty-nine year old Pontiff was prompted to do this by two letters written to him "upon the order of Our Lord" by a Religious of the Good Shepherd named Mother Mary of the Divine Heart (Droste zu Vischering), the first on June 10, 1898, and the second on January 15, 1899. Here is an extract from her second letter:

"When, last summer, Your Holiness was suffering from an indisposition which, given your great age, filled the hearts of your children with cares, Our Lord gave me the sweet consolation [of knowing] that He would prolong the days of Your Holiness, so as to bring about the consecration of the entire world to His Divine Heart. . . .

On the eve of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lord gave me to know that by means of this new impetus given to the worship of His Divine Heart, He would make a new light shine upon the whole world . . . . I seem to see this light (interiorly), the Heart of Jesus, this adorable sun, sending down its rays upon the earth, at first narrowly, and then more widely, and finally illumining the entire world. I recognized the ardent desire He has to see His adorable Heart more and more glorified and known, and to spread abroad His gifts and blessings upon the whole world.

And He said: 'By the brightness of this light, peoples and nations will be illumined, and by its ardour they will be warmed again'. . . . One might find it strange that Our Lord should ask for this consecration of the entire world and not content Himself with [that of] the Catholic Church. But His desire to reign, to be loved and glorified, and to set ablaze all hearts with His love and His mercy is so ardent that He wants Your Holiness to offer Him the hearts of all those who belong to Him by Baptism to facilitate their return to the true Church, and the hearts of those who have not yet received spiritual life by Holy Baptism, but for whom He has given His life and His Blood, and who are equally called to be one day children of the Holy Church, to hasten by this means their spiritual birth."

Mother Mary of the Divine Heart died in her cloister in Portugal as the Church was singing First Vespers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 8, 1899. The following day, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the following prayer:

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thy altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart.

Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God.

Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of that race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may It now descend upon them, a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: "Praise be to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honor for ever." Amen.

Pope Paul VI beatified Mother Mary of the Divine Heart on November 1, 1975. Her feast is kept on her dies natalis, June 8th.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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