A Most Blessed Devotion
“My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me.” - Matthew 26:38
Dedicated to The Apostle of Arnaudville, Nonco, to whom I give credit for the inspiration.
There is a story about the Eighteenth-Century German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his experience with the Apostle of Rome, St. Philip Neri. While living in Rome, Goethe would hear the locals speaking about this great and holy saint and Goethe felt like he had to meet him. The only problem was, much to the surprise of Goethe, that Neri had been dead for almost 200 years prior to Goethe being there. He was amazed at how this man was loved so much by Rome, that they spoke of him as if he was still living amongst them. Goethe was then inspired to write a poem and an essay about St. Philip Neri. I mention this story, because this was much of my experience on my arrival to Arnaudville and learning about the beloved Nonco.
My first week in Arnaudville was spent mostly trying to figure out, “who is this guy Nonco?” I had heard of causes in the Diocese surrounding Charlene Richard and Fr. Joseph Verbis Lafleur, but never had I heard of a Nonco. I finally decided to read up on him by going to his website (nonco.org) and was surprised to see all the testimonials affirming his sanctity and sharing their love for him. I’m sure most know his story, so I will not dwell on any biographical details surrounding his life, but instead with reflect on what Nonco would have wanted me to reflect on:
devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Many Saints and Mystics have had devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Christ over the centuries, most famously being St. Gertrude and St. Catherine of Sienna. But the Lord had not yet asked for His divine heart to be revealed to the whole world until St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, a French nun from the Visitation Order. Our Lord came to St. Margaret Mary showing His flaming heart asking her to spread devotion to It around the world. St. Margaret Mary did as she was told. The reason for Christs revelation was given St. Margaret Mary as He states:
Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love; and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love. But what I feel most keenly is that it is hearts which are consecrated to Me, that treat Me thus.
Christ’s message is clear. For all the things he has done for us, dying on a cross and then revealing to us his bruised and wounded heart, all he asks for us to do is to love him back. We know from the gospels that if we are to love him, we must keep his commandments and what is the first and greatest one? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.” According to the message of Christ, to fulfil this commandment is to show reverence to the Lord in the “Sacrament of Love,” the Most Holy Eucharist. This is why Our Lord asked St. Margaret Mary to petition for this most glorious feast to end on the Friday following the Octave of Corpus Christi.
Last Thursday I attended a Traditional Latin Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi on its original date on the calendar. There was much beauty to behold, from Gregorian chant, incense, bells, pious prayers and overall reverence of the mass. Afterwards there was a Eucharistic Procession around the block ending with a solemn benediction. Seeing all the faithful come up and receive Our Lord kneeling and on the tongue, showed in reverent posture that we are receiving the God of all creation. After attending that mass and also studying the devotion to the Sacred Heart I’ve recognized something that has been lost, something Christ has been longing for.
I reflected how horrible of a sinner I am in regards to failing to reverence Christ in His most Blessed Sacrament. The amount of times I received the Lord unworthily with mortal sin on my soul, for no other reason than just pride. The amount of times I received Him irreverently by taking Him into my unholy hands like a cookie for good deeds instead of waiting patiently and receiving Him like the Lord of the Universe He is. For the times I didn’t stop and pray after mass to thank Him for coming to me in the Most Great Sacrament. For the times I, “didn’t have the time,” and didn’t bother going to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday. Also for the times I was bothered by his presence in adoration, because it was too long and boring, while thinking to myself I had better things to do. I am the reason Christ’s Precious Heart is wounded. My sins are the spear thrust into his side. I am the reason he was, “sorrowful even unto death,” and all he asked for me to do was be with him! When Christ speaks of those most ungrateful for his love, he speaks directly to me. This is why I began a devotion to the Sacred Heart, because I believe it to be the only way for reparations for my gross irreverence to Our Lord.
I thank Christ Jesus for granting me a most merciful admonition, so that I could better love Him. I also believe this is the work of Nonco, who inspired devotion in this Seminarian. Nonco, who instead of walking the streets of Arnaudville, is now walking on the hearts of men, begging them to turn to The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in solemn acts of reparation.
As stated at the reception for the Nonco memorial mass, the only way for the world to be fixed, for men to turn to the Most Sacred Heart. Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas states that the, “...manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and His holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics.”
If Christ is not the Lord of our lives, how can we expect others to turn to him? It is no coincidence that the moral degradation of society is happening as devotion to the Sacred Heart has diminished.
Just look at the month of June. A month that is traditionally a month dedicated to the Sacred Heart has been hijacked and replaced as a month dedicated to pride in Sodomy. You see business after business celebrating this movement and as of last count over fifty major corporations throwing some support behind it. We as Catholics cannot do the same.
Some members of the church will lean towards a misplaced Mercy to deal with this issue. Instead of ministering to those troubled by this sin with true compassion like the catechism asks, they would instead suggest the merciful thing to do is aid them in their vice. They worry first and foremost about certain “rights” of the men and never think once about the rights of their good and merciful King and Lord Jesus Christ. In all this talk about Mercy, it is always convenient they leave Him out of the picture. He should never be left out of the picture, because Mercy has an image and it is a wounded heart caused by the sins of men. He died for all, even those who reject him, which is why we must be steadfast in devotion so that all may come to Him. He draws all to himself and would want all of us to recline in his bosom and dwell in his splendid Mercy, but we must love him back.
For unto this end Your Side was pierced, that an entrance would lie open to us. Uto this end Your Heart was wounded, that, detached from worldly tumult, we should be able to dwell in it. But above all, Your Heart was wounded so that a visible scar would enable us to see the invisible wound of Your Love. For how could the ardour of Your love be better shown than by this, that not only Your body but even Your very Heart was pierced with a lance? Truly, the wounds of the flesh showeed forth the wounds of the spirit. Who will not cherish this Heart so wounded for us? Who will not love one so loving, embrace one so pure? As for us who are still dwelling in the flesh, let us use every opportunity to respond to Him who has loved us; let us embrace Him who was pierced for us, whose hands and feet, side and Heart, were dug by the wicked vine-tenders. And let us pray that the Sacred Heart may deign to wound our heart, still so hard, still so impenitent, and bind it with the bonds of His love. - St. Bonaventure
Most Sacred Heart Of Jesus, Have Mercy On Us
Most Immaculate Heart Of Mary, Pray For Us
Auguste Nonco Pelafigue, Pray For Us
Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat
- R.P. Maturin