Excerpt 2
Heart of Jesus, Most Worthy
of All Praise

WE PRAISE a beautiful piece of art, a noble deed, a good intention, the excellence of a man's character. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is most worthy of all praise, because every excellence of nature and grace, of character and work is found in Him. In connection with the above invocation we wish to consider the Divinity of Jesus and His work as the basis of the praise due to Him; these reflections will in their turn suggest the practical form in which such praise should be rendered.

The Heart of God

Jesus is the Son of the eternal Father and substantially united with the Word of God, equal to the Father in perfection and glory. The words of the Psalmist therefore apply also to Him, "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, and of His greatness there is no end" (Ps. 47:2). Jesus is eternal; before Abraham was made He is. He is the Word of God that was in the beginning, and all things that were made were made by Him. It is He, therefore, through Whom all things were made according to number, measure, and weight. He is infinitely wise and together with the Father and the Holy Spirit governs the world with such providence that not even a sparrow falls from the roof without His will. Jesus is the Holy One seen by Daniel in prophetic vision and as the Holy One He is announced to the Blessed Virgin by the Archangel Gabriel. Not even His most bitter enemies can accuse Him of sin, because He always does the things pleasing to the Father.

 If the Saints are deserving of praise because of their heavenly wisdom and holiness of life, then the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy One and abyss of all virtues, is most worthy of all praise. "Thine, O Lord, is magnificence and power and glory and victory and to Thee is praise; for all that is in Heaven and on earth is Thine . . . in Thy hands are greatness and the empire of all things" (1 Para. 29:11-13).

The Heart of the Saviour

When Jesus made His solemn entry into Jerusalem, crowds of people gathered around Him, broke branches from the trees and scattered them on the road, spread their garments before Him, and rent the air with their shouts of joy and jubilation: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord" (Mt. 21:9). We hear the same words in every holy Mass as the Church prepares for His coming upon the altar for the unbloody offering of the sacrifice of our salvation. Blessed, indeed, is Jesus by the Father and the Holy Spirit, for never was a work undertaken that brought greater glory to God than the saving mission of the Redeemer of the world. Blessed is He by the Saints in Heaven, for all their holiness is due to Him, to His grace and the inspiration of His life. Blessed is He by the just on earth, for He is their strength and their hope of salvation. Blessed is He, because He is our Saviour. He has saved us from the slavery of Satan. He has brought good news to the poor; He has proclaimed release to the captives and sight to the blind, set at liberty the oppressed, enriched us with heavenly blessings and made us heirs of Heaven. He has announced the day of recompense when we shall hear the appraisal of our work from the lips of our Divine Judge, "Well done, good and faithful servant . . . enter into the joy of thy Master" (Mt. 25:21). Is not the Saviour's Sacred Heart deserving of all our praise? And how shall we praise Him?

Prayer and Imitation

For all too many people prayer means only petition for material blessings. The greatness and glory of the God-Man and His right to praise and thanksgiving escape their attention; at least it finds no place in their private devotion. Let us lift up our minds and hearts to contemplate the majesty of the God-Man, the ardor and unselfishness of His love, and we shall spontaneously break into prayer of praise, "We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we give Thee thanks." What we praise we shall seek to acquire if it is within our reach, and imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is within our power. In fact, Jesus calls for it. We are to learn from Him as He is meek and humble of heart; we are to do as He has done. The Apostle assures us, "This is the will of God, your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). The imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is practical praise and exceeds in excellence any praise of words.

Zeal for Souls

The praise of the Sacred Heart by imitation also will prompt us to join Him in His work of saving souls in order that He may be glorified the more. Jesus wants to save men through men; He wants our co-operation. The desire of His Sacred Heart for our co-operation is expressed in His words, "The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest" (Lk. 10:2). Before His eyes stood those millions of souls ripe for the grace of salvation and waiting for someone to bring to them the message of the Gospel. The same desire prompts the last command He gives to the Apostles before He ascended into Heaven, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt. 28:20).

 A vast field of action is open for fulfilling our desire to praise the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We can pray for the extension of Christ's kingdom on earth, implore by acts of faith, hope, charity, patience in suffering, and mortification the grace of faith and conversion for pagans and sinners; we can support the mission work of the Church in a material way; we can foster priestly, religious, and missionary vocations. We shall then consider ourselves privileged to have a member of the family in the army of Christ's Apostles and gratefully accept the call to such work, should God extend it to us personally.
To give praise to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the glorious task assigned to us as members of His Church. Let us dedicate ourselves to it with renewed fervor and love, so that soon the one cry, "Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be honor and glory forever," may resound throughout the earth.



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