Jesus, King of Love

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Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.
From the Introit (Psalm 54:23)

O God, who dost manifest Thy almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; increase Thy mercy towards us, that we, seeking the way of Thy promises, may be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasures.
The Collect

And the Publican standing afar off would not so much as lift up his eyes to- wards heaven, but struck his breast saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
From the Gospel (Luke 18:13)

To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded.The Offertory Antiphon (Psalm 24:1-3)

The Statue of Jesus, King of Love

The Propers of the Mass of the 10th Sunday After Pentecost proved to be more than fitting for this morning's solemn blessing of the statue of Jesus, King of Love. The statue, handcarved from linden wood and handpainted in Germany, is the gift of a friend of the monastery.

The Invocation

The image of Jesus, King of Love is linked to the little invocation given by Our Lord to Yvonne Beauvais on 17 August 1922. Yvonne was sojourning at the Augustinian Monastery of Malestroit when Our Lord manifested Himself to her, and said: "Say and , morning and evening, O Jésus, Roi d'Amour, j'ai confiance en votre miséricordieuse bonté. -- O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy merciful goodness."

On 28 August 1922, the feast of Saint Augustine, the Doctor of Charity, the Superioress of the Monastery of Malestroit, at Yvonne's request, introduced the practice of reciting the little invocation every morning and evening. She did this without revealing the origin of the prayer and without mentioning Yvonne.

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Indulgenced by Blessed John XXIII

At first, the little invocation spread by word of mouth. In 1927 modest bookmarks bearing an image of the Sacred Heart were printed to promote the recitation of the prayer. In 1932 the Bishop of Vannes, France, approved the invocation for his diocese. The following year, Pope Pius XI indulgenced the prayer for the Augustinian Canonesses of the Mercy of Jesus, for their sick and for those hospitalized in their institutions. Pope Pius XII renewed the favour and, on December 6, 1958, Blessed John XXIII extended it to the universal Church.

My Own Witness

As a young monk, I tried for years to practice the ceaseless prayer of the heart that is the aim of all monastic observance. Time and time again I resolved to pray always, failed at it, and began again. About thirty years ago, quite providentially, I came upon an old biography of Mother Yvonne-Aimée (1901-1951) in a used book store and, in reading it, learned of the prayer, "O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in thy merciful goodness."

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One day, kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, I realized that the prayer was repeating itself ceaselessly and effortlessly in my heart. I found himself praying the little invocation at every waking moment and even during the hours of the night, in a way similar to the "Jesus Prayer" of monks of the Eastern Church. Over the years, the grace of ceaseless prayer by means of the little invocation has not abated. It is always there: a gentle murmur of confidence bubbling up from the depths of my heart.

Early in my priesthood I began hearing great numbers of confessions. Having discovered for myself the soothing and healing power of the little invocation, I began to give it as a penance to those whom came to me for confession. Individuals from all walks of life attest to the graces received: graces of inner healing, of victory over persistent and deeply rooted habits of sin, of trust in the mercy of Christ, and of a ceaseless prayer of the heart.

The Image

In 1940, during World War II, in order to make the prayer even better known and loved, Mother Yvonne-Aimée herself designed a medal and an image. She depicted Our Lord as a little boy of two or three years of age. His expression is loving and compassionate; He is completely approachable. The crown signifies His kingship; the olive branch, the gifts of healing and of peace that He offers; with His other hand He points to His Heart overflowing with tender mercy.

Its Healing Grace

The devotion to Jesus, King of Love is especially helpful to adults having suffered from some trauma in childhood such as sexual, emotional, or physical abuse. The Child King is not threatening. The child living inside the emotionally wounded adult can accept the embrace of the little King of Love. One traumatized in childhood can allow the Little King to come close and to absorb into the innocence of His Divine Childhood the shattered innocence that continues to cause fear, shame, and an inability to keep oneself safe. At the same time, Jesus, King of Love restores to souls the innocence that was lost in childhood, or stolen, or cruelly defiled.

In Silverstream Priory

The statue of Jesus, King of Love that we blessed this morning corresponds in every detail to the image designed by Mother Yvonne-Aimée de Jésus. Here is the text of the blessing:

Solemn Blessing of the Statue of Jesus, King of Love


V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God,
Father of mercies and God of all consolation,
Who hast delivered us from the power of darkness,
and hast translated us into the kingdom of the Son of Thy love,
Thine adorable image,
the brightness of Thy glory,
and the figure of Thy substance,
Thou hast not forbidden men to carve representations of Him,
so that, by looking upon His image with our bodily eyes,
we may receive an inward impression of His divine majesty,
His meekness, and the merciful goodness of His Heart;
Deign, therefore, to bless and to hallow this statue
which has been made in memory and honor
of the Childhood and Kingship
of Thine Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
and grant that all who in its presence
put their trust in His merciful goodness,
may receive the gifts of healing and of peace there signified,
and may by the love of His Heart,
so advance in faith, in hope, and in charity,
as to come at length to the Kingdom of Thy Glory,
where He liveth and reigneth with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, forever and ever.
All: Amen.


1 Comments

Dear Father Mark,

Praised be Jesus Christ! I have only recently discovered your blog, Vultus Christi. It is a blessing from our Lord because I know I was meant to find this little invocation, "O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy merciful goodness". I was in religious life, but left . . . as a novice due to unresolved issues related to early childhood traumas. I am now praying for God's healing grace, that I may follow His plan for my life. May God reward you for posting this!

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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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