Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
The Sorrowful Heart of Jesus.
It is impossible to consider how afflicted the heart of Jesus was for love of us and not to pity Him. He Himself tells us that His heart was overwhelmed with such such sorrow, that this alone would have sufficed to take His life away, and to make Him die of pure grief, if the virtue of His Divinity had not, by a miracle, prevented His death: My soul is sorrowful even unto death. [Mark xiv. 34]
The principal sorrow which afflicted the heart of Jesus so much was not the sight of the torments and infamy which men were preparing for Him, but the sight of their ingratitude towards His immense love. He distinctly foresaw all the sins which we should commit after all His sufferings and such a bitter and ignominious death. He foresaw, especially, the horrible insults which men would offer to His adorable heart, Which He has left us in the Most Holy Sacrament as a proof of His affection. O my God, what affronts has not Jesus Christ received from men in this Sacrament of love? One has trampled Him under foot, another has thrown Him into the gutters, others have availed themselves of Him to pay homage to the devil!
And yet the sight of all these insults did not prevent Him from leaving us this great pledge of His love. He has a sovereign hatred of sin; but still it seems as if His love towards us had overcome the hatred He bore to sin, since He was content to permit these sacrileges, rather than to deprive the souls that love Him of this Divine food. Shall not all this suffice to make us love a heart that has loved us so much?
Has not Jesus Christ done enough to deserve our love? Ungrateful that we are, shall we still leave Jesus forsaken on the altar, as the majority of men do? And shall we not unite ourselves to those few souls who acknowledge Him, and melt with love more even than the torches melt away which burn round the ciborium? The heart of Jesus remains there, burning with love for us; and shall we not, in His Presence, burn with love for Jesus?
Affections and Prayers
My adorable and dearest Jesus, behold at Thy feet one who has caused so much sorrow to Thy amiable heart. O my God, how could I grieve this heart, Which has loved me so much, and has spared nothing to make Itself loved by me? But console Thyself, I will say, O my Saviour, for my heart having been wounded, through Thy grace, with Thy most holy love, feels now so much regret for the offences I have committed against Thee, that it would fain die of sorrow. Oh; who will give me, my Jesus, that sorrow for my sins which Thou didst feel for them in Thy life! Eternal Father, I offer Thee the sorrow and abhorrence Thy Son felt for my sins; and, for His sake, I beseech Thee to give me so great a sorrow for the offences I have committed against Thee, that I may lead an afflicted and sorrowful life at the thought of having once despised Thy friendship. And Thou, O my Jesus, do Thou give me, from this day forth, such a horror of sin, that I may abhor even the lightest faults, considering that they displease Thee, Who dost not deserve to be offended much or little, but dost deserve an infinite love. My beloved Lord, I now detest everything that displeases Thee, and in future I will love only Thee, and that which Thou lovest. Oh, help me, give me the strength, give me the grace to invoke Thee constantly, O my Jesus, and always to repeat to Thee this petition: My Jesus, give me Thy love. give me Thy love, give me Thy love.
And thou, most holy Mary, obtain for me the grace to pray to thee continually, and to say to thee, O my Mother, make me love Jesus Christ.