Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
The Compassionate Heart of Jesus.
Where shall we ever find a heart more compassionate or tender than the heart of Jesus, or one that had a greater feeling for our miseries?
This pity induced Him to descend from Heaven to this earth; it made Him say that He was that good shepherd Who came to give His life to save His sheep. In order to obtain the pardon of our sins, He would not spare Himself, but would sacrifice Himself on the Cross, that by His sufferings He might satisfy for the chastisement that we have deserved. This pity and compassion makes Him say even now: Why will ye die, O house of Israel? return ye, and live. [Ezek. xviii. 31] O men, He says, my poor children, why will you damn yourselves by flying from Me? Do you not see that by separating yourselves from Me you are hastening to eternal death? I desire not to see you lost; do not despair; as often as you wish to return, return, and you shall recover your life: Return, and live.
This compassion even makes Him say that He is that loving Father Who, though He sees Himself despised by His son, yet, if that son returns a penitent, He cannot reject him, but embraces him tenderly and forgets all the injuries He has received: I will not remember all his iniquities. [Ibid. 22] It is not thus that men behave; for though they may forgive, yet they nevertheless retain the remembrance of the offence received, and feel inclined to revenge themselves; and even if they do not revenge themselves, because they fear God, at least they always feel a great repugnance against conversing and entertaining themselves with those persons who have vilified them.
O my Jesus, Thou dost pardon the penitent sinners, and dost not refuse in this world to give them everything in Holy Communion during their life, and everything in the other world, even in Heaven, with eternal glory, without retaining the slightest repugnance towards being united to the soul that has offended Thee, for all eternity. Where, then, is there to be found a heart so amiable and compassionate as Thine, O my dearest Saviour?
Affections and Prayers
O compassionate heart of my Jesus, have pity on me: "Most sweet Jesus, have mercy on me." I say so now, and beseech
Thee to give me the grace always to say to Thee, "Most sweet Jesus, have mercy on me." Even before I offended Thee, O my Redeemer, I certainly did not deserve any of the favors Thou hast bestowed upon me. Thou hast created me, Thou hast given me so much light and knowledge; and all without any merit of mine. But after I had offended Thee. I not only did not deserve Thy favor, but I deserved to be forsaken by Thee and cast into Hell. Thy compassion has made Thee wait for me and preserve my life even when I had offended Thee. Thy compassion has enlightened me, and offered me pardon; it has given me sorrow for my sins, and the desire of loving Thee; and now I hope from Thy mercy to remain always in Thy grace. O my Jesus, cease not to show Thy compassion towards me. The mercy which I implore of Thee is that Thou wouldst grant me light and strength to be no longer ungrateful towards Thee. No, O my love, I do not expect that Thou shouldst again forgive me, if I again turn my back towards Thee; this would be presumption, and would prevent Thee from showing mercy to me any more. For what pity could I expect any more from Thee if I were so ungrateful as to despise Thy friendship again, and to separate myself from Thee. No, my Jesus; I love Thee, and I will always love Thee; and this is the mercy which I hope for and seek from Thee: "Permit me not to be separated from Thee, permit me not to be separated from Thee."
And I beseech thee also, O Mary my Mother, permit me not to be ever again separated from my God.