First Fridays of the Month
There's a Holy Hour at St. Mary's on the First Friday of each month with the Holy Rosary, Devotions and the Litany of the Sacred Heart after the 12:00pm Mass. There is also Benediction at Quarr Abbey after Vespers at 5:00pm.
The First Friday of each month was designated by our Saviour Himself as a day to be consecrated to honouring His Sacred Heart? As the object of this devotion is to make our Saviour Jesus Christ ardently and perfectly loved, and to make reparation for the outrages offered to Him in the past, as well as for those which he daily receives in the Blessed Eucharist? Jesus Christ merits our love at all times, but alas! So many in the world today simply do not recognise His redeeming love for mankind. We should remember that He is truly present in every Catholic church. We should then adore Jesus Christ in this Sacrament, make a fervent act of love to Jesus in the tabernacle, thank Him for having instituted this Mystery of love, express our sorrow at seeing Him so abandoned, and resolve to visit Him as soon as possible and love Him unceasingly. Attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is assuredly the best means of honouring and loving the adorable Heart of Jesus.
First Friday devotions in honour of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:
- The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
- Act of Consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Act of Reparation
- The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- The Sacrament of Penance (Confession)
The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
- "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life."
- "I will establish peace in their homes."
- "I will comfort them in their afflictions."
- "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death."
- "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings."
- "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy."
- "Tepid souls shall grow fervent."
- "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection."
- "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honoured."
- "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts."
- "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out."
- "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."
The Church also teaches us that the most efficacious prayer is prayer in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Prayer in the Divine Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament releases the power, blessings and graces of God upon mankind. The best example of this is from Sacred Scripture. Jesus asked His Apostles who touched Him, because He felt the power go out from Him. He was referring to a woman who made an act of faith by touching the hem of His garment, knowing that by doing so she would be healed. Each time you go to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, you touch His Heart with your faith. Each Holy Hour you make in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament releases His power and graces upon you, your family, your parish, your diocese and the world. This is why our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, says that "the Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic Adoration."
Here in St. Mary's in Ryde we are pleased to have a Holy Hour on every First Friday, at the start of which, we meditate on Christ's Passion while publicly reciting the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary followed by the Litany of the Sacred Heart. Our own Sacred Heart Chapel contains stained glass windows of saints famous for their love and adoration of Our Blessed Lord; namely (on the left) St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, the French nun, who had a vision of Our Lord exposing his Sacred Heart on 15th June, 1675. Our Lord said to her: "Behold this Heart, which loves men so much. Yet in return I receive ingratitude, irreverence, sacrilege and a coldness and contempt which they exhibit for me in this Sacrament of love." It was through St. Margaret Mary that Christ instituted the "Holy Hour" of devotion and prayer to the Sacred Heart in reparation for the three apostles who fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Lord told her to, "encourage people to make reparation for the ingratitude of men. Spend an hour in prayer to appease divine justice, to implore mercy for sinners, to honour Me, to console Me for my bitter sufferings when abandoned by my apostles when they could not watch and pray for one hour with me". The other windows depict St. John the Evangelist, "the Apostle that Jesus loved", who was one of the apostles that fell asleep, but later accompanied Him on the journey to Calvary, when the others fled. On the right is St. Mary Magdalene, the sinner who repented, shown here holding the jar of ointment that she used on Jesus' feet; and finally St. Augustine, who brought the faith to England, shown here holding a container with letters of commendation from Pope Gregory. The red marble reminds us of Christ's Precious Blood which was shed at Calvary.
It was Pope Pius IX who added the feast of the Sacred Heart to the Roman Calendar in 1856 in order to "stimulate the faithful to honour with greater devotion and zeal the love of Jesus Christ under the symbol of the Sacred Heart". Consequently the practice of honouring the Sacred Heart with pictures, shrines and statues in homes was encouraged by the Church. From Victorian times priests would visit family homes to solemnly enthrone a representation of the Sacred Heart and urge each family to pray together and seek mercy and forgiveness for sins, as Christ himself requested in his appearance to St. Margaret Mary. In the 1930s Pope Pius XI affirmed devotion to the Sacred Heart to be, "the epitome of religion and the norm of the more perfect life which more readily leads souls to acknowledge Christ the Lord, and which more effectively, inclines hearts to love Him more ardently and imitate Him more closely." In the 1950s Pope Pius XII describes the Sacred Heart of Jesus as, "the divine remedy which will save men from the devil and all forces of evil."
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