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Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Our Powerful Advocate in Heaven

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Our Powerful Advocate in Heaven

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira


June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In this article written by Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in 1940, it expresses the thoughts of this illustrious Catholic thinker. These insights still remain astonishingly valid today. He stated, “If an impenitent humanity can expect every catastrophe, a repentant humanity can expect every mercy.” Since then, humanity has not shown “the least beginning of an efficacious, serious and profound repentance,” but instead has further aggravated its sinful state. Hence, it is no surprise that God is compelled to apply His justice, making Our Lady’s role as Advocate of Sinners only more urgent.

If there was ever an epoch whose only hope for a remedy can be the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is our own. It would be useless to attenuate the enormity of the crimes committed by humanity everywhere. In one of his encyclicals, Pius XI said that the moral degradation of the contemporary world is such as to place it in the imminence of being cast into spiritual conditions even more miserable than those in which the world found itself when our Savior came.

In other words, the errors accumulated throughout the centuries that preceded us—the deliriums of the pseudo-Reformation, the diabolical audacities of the Encyclopedia movement, unbridled moral libertinism, the crimes of the French Revolution, the apostasy of German philosophers—created an ambience of universal corruption that culminated in the catastrophes, chaos and runaway lewdness that humanity witnesses in the twentieth century. And in the abyss into which we have plunged, iniquity is so profound that Pius XI feared that to a large majority of men, the infinite benefits of Redemption, which Our Lord brought to the world, might be canceled out.

Naturally, the sight of so many crimes suggests the idea of divine revenge. When we look at this sinful world, groaning amid the tortures of a thousand crises and a thousand anguishes and still remaining unrepentant; when we look at the horrifying advance of neo-paganism that is about to govern all mankind; finally, when we see cowardice, negligence and disunion among those who still have not joined the side of evil, our souls tremble at the thought of the catastrophes that the obstinate impiety of this generation accumulates upon it.

It would be somewhat liberal to imagine that such crimes do not deserve chastisement and that such an apostasy of the masses has taken place merely owing to an intellectual error not entailing the commission of a grave sin by humanity. This is not reality. God does not abandon His creatures, and if the latter fall away from Him, they only have themselves to blame.

 

God Wishes to Save Mankind from Catastrophe

Is there no other alternative for humanity today but to disappear in a deluge of mud and fire? Can we hope for no other future but an ignominious sunset in which final impenitence will be punished with the supreme scourges Scripture announces as the telltale signs of the world’s end?

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone in the old testament is a perrenial reminder of God's infinite justice. Image "The flight of Lot" by Gustave Doré depicting the sceneThis would be the case undoubtedly if God were to set only His justice in motion, and we do not even know whether the world would have reached the twenty-first century of our era, but since God is not only just but also merciful, the gate of salvation has still not been closed for us.

A humanity that perseveres in impiety can expect God’s rigorous punishments. But God, Who is infinitely merciful, does not want the death of sinful mankind but that it “may be converted and live.” Thus, His grace seeks out insistently all men to have them give up their evil ways and return to the Good Shepherd’s fold.

If an impenitent humanity can expect every catastrophe, a repentant humanity can expect every mercy, and to obtain that, it is not necessary for repentance to have finished carrying out its work of restoration. It is enough for the sinner, though still in the bottom of the abyss, to turn to God with a simple but efficacious, serious and profound beginning of repentance, and he will immediately find God’s help, as God never forgets him.

The Holy Ghost says in Scripture: “Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee” (Isaias 49:15). Even in extreme cases in which a paroxysm of evil would exhaust a mother’s forbearance, God does not tire. For God’s mercy benefits the sinner even when divine justice strikes him with a thousand scourges on his way of iniquity.

 

The Infinite Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

These two essential images of divine justice and mercy should be raised constantly before contemporary man’s eyes.

In a display of both perfect justice toward the hypocritical Pharisees and mercy toward the adulterous woman, Our Lord admonished her to "Go, and now sin no more" (John 8:11) Image "Jesus and the woman taken in adultery by Gustave Doré depicts the sceneThat of justice, so he does not harshly presume he will be saved without merits; that of mercy, so he does not despair of salvation as long as he wishes to amend himself. And if the hecatombs of our days speak so clearly of God’s justice, what better image would there be to complete this picture than the Sun of Mercy, which is the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

God is charity, and hence the mere enunciation of the Most Holy Name of Jesus recalls the idea of love: The unfathomable and infinite love that led the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity to become incarnate!

This love is expressed in the incomprehensible humiliation of a God who manifests Himself to men as a poor boy born in a manger.

This love transpired throughout the thirty years of a recollected life in humble and strict poverty and in the incessant toils of three years of evangelization in which the Son of Man sowed love and reaped ingratitude.

This love was demonstrated at that Last Supper that was preceded by Our Lord’s generosity in washing His disciples’ feet and crowned with the institution of the Eucharist.

This love appeared in that last kiss given to Judas, the supreme gaze on Saint Peter, the affronts suffered in patience and meekness, the sufferings born until all His strength was spent; and it appeared on His pardon by which Dimas stole Heaven and in the extreme donation of His heavenly Mother to miserable humanity.

Each of those episodes has been studied meticulously by scholars, piously meditated by saints, marvelously depicted by artists, and above all, incomparably celebrated by the Church’s liturgy. There is only one way to speak about the Sacred Heart of Jesus: It is to recall every one of those instances appropriately and in detail.

The Holy Church, by venerating the Sacred Heart, wants nothing more than to render special praise to the infinite love that Our Lord Jesus Christ gave men. Since the heart symbolizes love, by venerating His Heart, the Church celebrates Love.

 

Our Lady: God’s Most Beloved

Not one of the varied and beautiful invocations with which the Church refers to Our Lady fails to show a relationship between her and God’s love. These invocations either celebrate a gift of God to which Our Lady was perfectly faithful or a special power that she has upon her divine Son.

Now then, what do God’s gifts prove if not a special love of the Creator, and what does Our Lady’s power with God prove, but that same love? God loved Our Lady so much that He concentrated in her all the perfections that a mere creature can possess. Thus, while she could be appropriately called “Mirror of Justice” she can also be called “Imploring Omnipotence” as no grace is obtained without Our Lady, and there is no grace that she could fail in obtaining for us.

Therefore, to invoke Our Lady under the title of the Sacred Heart is to make a most beautiful synthesis of all other invocations; it is to recall the most pure and beautiful reflection of Divine Motherhood; it is to resonate all the chords of love and enunciate the various invocations of the Hail Holy Queen.

 

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart: Sinful Humanity’s Advocate

But there is an invocation that I would especially like to recall. It is Advocate of Sinners. Our Lord is Judge; and however great His mercy may be, He cannot fail to exert that function.

In no other creature is Our Lord more perfectly reflected than in His holy Mother Mary. Stained glass of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Saint Mugo's Church, Scotland. However, Our Lady is only an advocate, and no one ignores that the advocate’s function is to defend the accused.

So, to say that Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is our advocate is to recognize that we have in Heaven an intercessor whose hands hold the key to an infinite ocean of mercy.

What better solution for a humanity that ignoring justice falls deeper into sin, but when faced with it, despairs of salvation? Let us show Justice, since to do so is a duty whose omission has produced most lamentable fruits.

But alongside Justice, which strikes the unrepentant, let us never forget Mercy, which helps seriously repentant sinners to abandon sin and be saved.

 


 

About the Author

Born in 1908, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira was the founder of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and inspirer of twenty-five other sister organizations around the world.

A brilliant scholar, writer, university professor and lawyer, Professor de Oliveira was above all a great Catholic leader whose only ambition was to defend Christian civilization against its systematic destruction. Thus, he dedicated his life to the service of the Church in the temporal sphere, fighting particularly the errors of Communism, Socialism and the resulting Cultural Revolution.

He felt a special calling to work for the sanctification of families and temporal society, and had a special charisma to spot the subliminal evil influences of today’s culture. By the time of his death in 1995, he had produced a wealth of writings in the form of meditations, articles and books sharing with us his unique gift and insight.

 


 

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for August 9, 2020

Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us … If a man wants...

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August 9

 

Prayer purifies us,
reading instructs us …
If a man wants to be always in God’s company,
he must pray regularly and read regularly.
When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.

St. Isidore of Seville


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Bl. Amadeus of Portugal

His sister, St. Beatriz da Silva, was the foundress of the O...

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Bl. Amadeus of Portugal

João Mendes da Silva, better known as the Blessed Amadeus of Portugal, was born in 1420 in Campo Maior on the eastern side of the country. The youngest son of twelve children, he was closely related to the Counts of Vila Real and Viana do Alentejo, whose lands lay near the border of Portugal and Spain. St. Beatriz da Silva, the foundress of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, was one of his sisters, and a strong devotion to this prerogative of Our Lady – centuries before it was defined as a dogma – was a profound spiritual characteristic they both shared.

João was married very young, but soon after entered the Hieronymite monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Spain, where he spent about ten years. Inspired by a vision of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Most Holy to join the Franciscans, he sought admission to their friary in Ubeda in Lombardy where he entered as a lay brother in 1452 and took the name of Amadeus.

Initially not well received by his confreres, some of whom took him for a religious fraud, he was widely persecuted within the Order bearing all the humiliations inflicted upon him with great patience. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1459 at the insistence of his superiors. Amadeus subsequently became renowned throughout the houses of the Order for his holiness and miracles.

In 1469, he founded the Friary of Notre Dame de la Paix under the protection of the Archbishop of Milan. This friary soon became the center of a Franciscan reform which eventually spread throughout Italy and beyond. When the Minister General of the Franciscan Order, Francesco della Rovere, was elected to the throne of Peter as Pope Sixtus IV, he summoned Amadeus to Rome to be his confessor and counselor.

The reform of the Franciscan Order begun by St. Amadeus led to his founding of a distinct branch of the Friars Minor which was ultimately named after him. Amadeus later returned to Milan, where he died in 1482.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

I was in my first sleep when the sound of the doorbell...

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The Legend of the Locket

I was in my first sleep when the sound of the doorbell awakened me, whereupon I sprang from my bed, and, after a few hurried preparations, hastened to throw open the door. 

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It was a bitter cold night in January, and the moon without threw its pale light over the wan spectral snow-covered landscape. The sharp gust that swept into the hall as I opened the door made me pity the delicate-looking child who stood at the threshold.

Her hair gleamed with a strange and rare effect in the moonlight, long golden hair that fell in graceful ripples about her shoulders. She was lightly dressed, this little child, as she stood gazing straight and frankly into my eyes with an expression at once so beautiful and calm and earnest that I shall never forget it.

Her face was very pale, her complexion of the fairest. The radiancy about her hair seemed to glow in some weird yet indescribable fashion upon her every feature. These details I had not fairly taken in when she addressed me.

"Father, can you come with me at once? My mother is dying, and she is in trouble."

"Come inside, my little girl," I said, "and warm yourself. You must be half frozen."

"Indeed, Father, I am not in the least cold." I had thrown on my coat and hat as she made answer.

"Your mother's name, my child?"

"Catherine Morgan, Father; she's a widow, and has lived like a saint. And now that she's dying, she is in awful trouble. She was taken sick about a few hours ago."

"Where does she live?"

"Two miles from here, Father, on the border of the Great Swamp; she is a stranger in these parts, and alone. I know the way perfectly; you need not be afraid of getting lost."

A few minutes later we were tramping through the snow, or rather I was tramping, for the child beside me moved with so light and tender a step, that had there been flowers instead of snowflakes beneath our feet I do not think a single petal would have been crushed under the airy fall of her fairy feet.

Her hand was in mine with the confiding clasp of childhood. Her face, for all the trouble that was at home, wore a gravely serene air, such as is seldom seen in years of sprightly, youthful innocence.

How beautiful she looked!

More like a creature fresh from the perfect handiwork of God than one who walked in the valley of sin, sorrow, trouble and death.

Locket Upon her bosom I observed a golden locket fashioned in a heart shape.

She noticed my glance, and with a quick movement of her fingers released the locket and handed it to me.

"It's a heart," I said.

"Read what's on it, Father."

"I can't, my little friend; my eyes are very good, but are not equal to making out reading on gold lockets by moonlight."

"Just let me hold it for you, Father. Now look."

How this child contrived, I cannot say; but certain it is, that at once, as she held the locket at a certain angle, there stood out clearly, embossed upon its surface, the legend: 

"Cease! the Heart of Jesus is with me." 

"Mamma placed that upon my bosom one year ago, when I was very sick, Father." And kissing the locket, the child restored it to its place.

We went on for a time in silence. I carried the Blessed Sacrament with me; and, young as she was, the girl seemed to appreciate the fact. Whenever I glanced at her, I observed her lips moving as in prayer, and her eyes seemed, in very truth, fixed upon the place where rested in His sacramental veil the Master of Life and of Death.

Suddenly the girl's hand touched my sleeve-oh, so gently!

"This is the place, Father," she said in soft tones that thrilled me as they broke upon the stillness; and she pointed to a little hut standing back in the dim shadows of three pine trees.

I pushed open the door, which hung loosely upon its hinges, and turned to wait her entrance. She was gone. Somewhat startled, I was peering out into the pallid night, when a groan called me to the bedside of the dying woman.

A glance told me there was no time to lose. The woman lying in that room had hardly reached middle life, but the hand of Death had touched her brow, upon which stood the drops of sweat, and in her face I read a great trouble.

I was at her side in an instant; and, God be thanked for it, soon calmed and quieted the poor creature. She made her confession, and in sentiments of faith and love such as I have rarely seen, received the Last Sacraments of the Church.

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Standing beside her, I suggested those little prayers and devices so sweet and consoling at the dread hour. I noticed, as the time passed on, that her eyes frequently turned toward a little box at the farther end of the room.

"Shall I bring you that box?" I asked.

She nodded assent.

On placing it beside her, she opened it with trembling hands and took out the dress of a child.

"Your little daughter's dress?" I said.

She whispered, and there was love in her tones: "My darling Edith's."

"I know her," I continued. "She brought me here, you know."

I stopped short and caught my breath. The woman half rose in her bed; she looked at me in wonder that cannot be expressed. I, no less amazed, was staring at a golden, oval locket fastened to the bosom of the child's dress which the woman was holding in her hands.

"Madam," I cried, "in the name of God, tell me, where is your daughter? Whose is that locket?"

"The locket is Edith's. I placed it here on the bosom of her dress when my little girl lay dying a year ago. The last thing my darling did was to hold this locket to her lips, and say:

'Cease! the Heart of Jesus is with me.'

"She died a year ago."

Then the mother's face grew very sweet and very radiant.

Still holding the locket in her hands, she fixed her eyes straight before her.

"Edith, my dear Edith, we are at last to be united in the Sacred Heart. I see you, my darling: ‘Cease! the Heart of Jesus is with me."'

Her voice faded with the last syllable into silence.

She and Edith were again united.

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From Fr. Finn's Mostly Boys (New York: 1896), pp. 90-95.
Illustrations by: AF Phillips

 

I was in my first sleep when the sound of the doorbell

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