Skip to comments.Pope Urges Jesuits to Spread Sacred Heart Devotion
Posted on 05/23/2006 9:32:44 AM PDT by marshmallow
Vatican, May. 23 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) strongly encouraged devotion to the Sacred Heart, as a safeguard against self-absorption, in a message to the Society of Jesus.
The Holy Father's letter of Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, the superior general of the Jesuit order, marked the 50th anniversary of Haurietis Aquas, the encyclical by Pope Pius XII extolling devotion to the Sacred Heart. Pope Benedict noted that Jesuits "have always been very active in promoting this fundamental form of devotion," and encouraged renewed efforts today.
Contemplation of the "pierced side of the Redeemer," the Pope wrote, is an apt way of "fixing our gaze on Him," and recognizing his love. The mystery of Christ's love, he continued, is "the content of all true Christian spirituality and devotion." Pope Benedict added: "In fact, being Christian is only possible with our gaze fixed on the cross of our Redeemer."
Recognizing and accepting God's love, the Pontiff continued, leads to an inner transformation. "The experience of God's love is lived by man as a 'call' to which he must respond." Thus contemplation of the Sacred heart "safeguards us from the risk of closing in on ourselves, and makes us open to a life lived for others." Devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Pope concluded, "cannot then be considered as a passing form of veneration or devotion." Rather, it is "irreplaceable for a living relationship with God."
In 1883, the Society of Jesus adopted the task of promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart, and in 1915 the 26th general congregation of the religious order formally linked that devotion to the Jesuits' mission. Pope Benedict's message to the Jesuits follows one month after he spoke to members of the Society of Jesus who had attended a Mass on April 22 at the Vatican basilica. During audience the Pope had reminded the Jesuits of their vow to support the Pope, and their special commitment to answer the most urgent needs of the Church.
Father Kolvenbach, the 29th superior general of the order, has led the Jesuits since 1983. On February 2, 2006, he announced that the 35th general congregation of the Society of Jesus would be held in 2008, with the approval of Pope Benedict, to select his successor.
Jesus, who is one with the Father (cf. John 10, 30), invites his disciples to live in close communion with him, to model their lives on him and on his teaching. He, in turn, reveals himself as "meek and humble of heart" (Mt 11, 29). It can be said that, in a certain sense, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a cultic form of the prophetic and evangelic gaze of all Christians on him who was pierced (cf. John 19, 37; Zac 12, 10), the gaze of all Christians on the side of Christ, transfixed by a lance, and from which flowed blood and water (cf. John 19, 34), symbols of the "wondrous sacrament of the Church"(St. Augustine).
The Gospel of St. John recounts the showing of the Lord's hands and his side to the disciples (cf. John 20,20), and of his invitation to Thomas to put his hand into his side (cf. John 20, 27). This event has also had a notable influence on the origin and development of the Church's devotion to the Sacred Heart.
These and other texts present Christ as the paschal Lamb, victorious and slain (cf. Apoc 5,6). They were objects of much reflection by the Fathers who unveiled their doctrinal richness. They invited the faithful to penetrate the mysteries of Christ by contemplating the wound opened in his side. Augustine writes: "Access is possible: Christ is the door. It was opened for you when his side was opened by the lance. Remember what flowed out from his side: thus, choose where you want to enter Christ. From the side of Christ as he hung dying upon the Cross there flowed out blood and water, when it was pierced by a lance. Your purification is in that water, your redemption is in that blood".
True. But I think the Pope is also doing something very profound, which is gently reminding them of their roots. Maybe this is the carrot...we shall see what the stick turns out to be at the Jebbies general assembly when Kolvenbach retires.
LOL! I know those people ...
There is a big chasm among U.S. Jesuits right now, the majority having "gone to the dogs" - just look at 'America' magazine, Lavender University (Loyola), a;; the other leftist-catering Jesuit Universities, the large number of homosexual Jesuits in high places, etc. However, the good men in the order are staunchly good and orthodox. They are deliberately kept dispersed about so they cannot gain power in the organization, but they know one another. They are silent, but it seems like the Holy Father knows what's going on. This is not his first call to holiness specifically addressed to the Society.