Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
by St. Alphonsus Loguori
The Grateful Heart of Jesus.
The heart of Jesus is so grateful, that it cannot behold the most trifling works done for the love of Him -----our smallest word spoken for His glory, a single good thought directed towards pleasing Him-----without giving to each its own reward. He is besides so grateful, that He always returns a hundredfold for one: You shall receive a hundredfold.
[Matt. xix. 29] Men, when they are grateful, and recompense any benefit done to them, recompense it only once; they, as it were, divest themselves of all the obligation, and then they think no more of it. Jesus Christ does not do thus. with us; He not only recompenses a hundredfold in this life every good action that we perform to please Him, but in the next life He recompenses it an infinite number of times throughout eternity. And who will be so negligent as not to do as much as he can to please this most grateful heart?
But, O my God, how do men try to please Jesus Christ? Or rather, I will say, how can we be so ungrateful towards this our Saviour? If He had only shed a single drop of Blood, or one tear alone for our salvation, yet we should be under infinite obligation to Him; because this drop and this tear would have been of infinite value in the sight of God towards obtaining for us every grace. But Jesus would employ for us every moment of His life. He has given us all His merits, all His sufferings, all His ignominies, all His Blood, and His life; so that we are under, not one, but infinite, obligations to love Him.
But alas! we are grateful even towards animals: if a little dog shows us any sign of affection, it seems to constrain us to love it. How, then, can we be so ungrateful towards God? It seems as if the benefits of God towards men change their nature, and become ill-usage; for, instead of gratitude and love, they obtain nothing but offences and injuries. Do Thou, O Lord, enlighten these ungrateful ones, to know the love that Thou bearest them.
Affections and Prayers
O my beloved Jesus, behold at Thy feet an ungrateful sinner. I have been grateful indeed towards creatures; but to Thee, alone I have been ungrateful to Thee, Who hast died fur me, and hast done the utmost that Thou couldst do to oblige me to love Thee. But the thought that I have to do with a heart full of goodness and infinite in mercy, of one Who proclaims that He forgives all the offences of the sinner who repents and loves Him, consoles me and gives me courage. My dearest Jesus, I have in times past offended Thee and despised Thee; but now I love Thee more than everything -----more than myself. Tell me what Thou wouldst have me to do; for I am ready to do everything with Thy help. I believe that Thou hast created me, Thou hast given Thy blood and Thy life for the love of me. I believe also that for my sake Thou dost remain in the Blessed Sacrament; I thank Thee for it, O my love. Oh, permit me not to be ungrateful in future for so many benefits and proofs of Thy love. Oh, bind me, unite me to Thy heart; and permit me not, during the years that remain to me, to offend Thee or grieve Thee any more. I have displeased Thee sufficiently. O my Jesus, it is time that I should love Thee now. Oh, that those years that I have lost would return! But they will return no more, and the life that remains for me may be short; but whether it be short or long, my God, I desire to spend it all in loving Thee, my sovereign good, Who dost deserve an eternal and infinite love.
O Mary, my Mother, let me never again be ungrateful to thy Son. Pray to Jesus for me.