Monday 25 April 2022

Sacred Heart Prayers and Devotions - Donal Anthony Foley - CTS Devotions

Sacred Heart:
Prayers and Devotions
CTS Devotions
Donal Anthony Foley
Catholic Truth Society
CTS Booklet D766

This was the tenth book from Donal that I have read. The first book I ever read from the CTS was Foley’s Apparitions of Mary, which I had picked up at a retreat many years ago. In fact it was 12 years between reading that booklet and the next volume I read from the Catholic Truth Society. But since the spring of 2018 I have read over 275 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society. I stumbled upon them while doing research on an author, and have been hooked ever since. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and I loved the books in the CTS Great Saints Series. I love reading about so many saints, their lives and their times. My other favourite books form the CTS are the Prayers and Devotions books. Many of the books in this series do not even have the authors name on the cover, like this volume, Saint Joseph, and Therese of Lisieux. I believe this is the last of the booklets in the Prayers & Devotions written my Donal. But each makes reference to the others at the back of the booklet. As mentioned this booklet was the tenth book or booklet from the pen of Donal Anthony Foley I have read, and I already have a few others on my wish list. The description of this booklet is:

“Explaining the effects of devotion to the Sacred Heart over the centuries, the booklet is a practical and simple way for people to foster a devotional spirit and can be used individually or in parish groups.

The booklet will help deepen love for Christ bringing him closer to the everyday needs, concerns and joys of all. Explaining the effects of devotion to the Sacred Heart over the centuries, the booklet is a practical and simple way for people to foster a devotional spirit and can be used individually or in parish groups.”

This is one of three books I am aware of on the Sacred Heart from the Catholic Truth Society, they are:

Sacred Heart: Prayers and Devotions – Donal Anthony Foley
Devotion to the Sacred Heart – Catholic Truth Society
Sacred Heart: A Pilgrim's Companion to Paray-le-Monial – David Baldwin

I have tracked down one of the others and am trying to track down the last volume. The chapters in this little volume are:

Origins and Importance of the Devotion
     The Popes on Sacred Heart Devotion
Prayers and Devotions to Be Said In Front of the Statue/Icon
     Our Lord’s Twelve Promises to St Margaret Mary
     Daily Prayers
     Acts of Reparation
     Prayers of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
     A Novena for the First Fridays

This little booklet is an excellent resource. Foley writes in an engaging and informative manner. Before the book even begins we have a quote on the title page:

“The Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, “is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that... love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings” without exception.”

Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church 478. I highlighted that passage and sever others while reading this volume. Some of them are:

“Then, while his dead body was on the cross, one of the soldiers pierced his side - his heart - with a spear, and blood and water gushed from the wound. St John pointed to the prophetic significance of this act, saying that it fulfilled the words of Zechariah. "They shall look on him whom they have pierced" (Zc 12: I 0).

The implication of this act of the soldier is that it showed that the very last drops of Christ's blood were shed for mankind, as a sign of his infinite love.”

“So in the devotion to Christ's Sacred Heart we have a way of expressing our particular love for him as a real person, and not just an abstract religious figure. And since he lives forever to intercede for us, he reciprocates our love in an infinite way.”

“Meditation on the wounded side of Christ ultimately led to a focus on his wounded heart. Certainly this devotion was well known to figures such as St Bernard, ( I 090-1 153), St Bonaventure, ( 1221-1 274), St Mechtilde, ( 1240/ 124 1- 1298) and St Gertrude ( l 256-1302).”

“It was St John Eude (1602-1680) however, a French missionary and founder of two religious orders. Who elevated the status of the devotion by composing an office and establishing a feast for the Sacred Heart. Interestingly, he began by promoting devotion to the Heart of Mary, and only later did he focus on devotion to the Sacred Heart. These two devotions, and particularly the devotion to the Sacred Heart, acted as a spiritual antidote to the increasing rationalism of European society during this period. It was also around this time that Jansenism, a Calvinist-influenced strain of teaching, was causing a “coldness” to enter into Catholic life in France.”

“St John Eudes was instrumental in promoting the first feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1670, at Rennes in France.”

“This series of apparitions has been approved by the Church, which has vouched for their authenticity, as far as is possible: the writings of Margaret Mary, which included these revelations and her letters, were examined during the process of her beatification, and their reliability is shown by the fact that they did not hinder her cause. Various popes, too, have expressed their approval of these apparitions, with their essential content being included in the bull of canonisation issued by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. And the feast of the Sacred Heart has been established in the
Church calendar as requested.”

“After the death of Margaret Mary, in 1690, the devotion spread slowly but steadily, particularly in southern France; and in 1765 the Holy See allowed a feast of the Sacred Heart to be celebrated in the country as a whole. At the urging of the French bishops, in 1856, it was extended to the whole Church by Pope Pius IX, and it became a first class feast in 1889.”

“In the meantime, the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial developed as a shrine devoted the Sacred Heart, and now up to 500.000 pilgrims each year come 10 visit the convent and the eleventh century Romanesque Basilica of the Sacred Heart in the town.”

A sample meditation, from Saint John Henry Newman is:

“O most sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus. Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now as then Thou sayest, “With desire I have desired.” I worship Thee, then, with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will. O make my heart beat with Thy heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual. all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it: but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace.”

The reflections are excellent, and there are many wonderful prayers in this volume. I have added one to the prayers I try and say daily. In the past and still today. I find that almost every time I read a book from the Catholic Truth Society I find 2 or three others I want to read. I have an ever growing wish list of eBooks, books in print, and books out of print from the CTS that I want to track down. This book was a blessing. It is a great volume. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Devotions series click here.

Books by Donal Anthony Foley:
Christian Living: The Spirituality of the Foyers of Charity
Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion?
Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World
Medjugorje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud?


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