Making an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart

by Fr. Jeff Loseke

This Friday, June 23rd, is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  On the one hand, it is a feast day that reminds us of God’s great love for His people; at the same time, 490px-Sacred_Heart_1770it is a feast that acknowledges humanity’s failure to love God fully in return.  Without the Savior loving both us and the Father to the end, we would not be redeemed.  Not only did Jesus willingly lay down His life for our salvation, but also He allowed His very heart to be pierced by a lance.  With that final act of man’s rejection of the Father’s love, God could have poured out judgment upon the centurion and upon the whole world for the death of His Son.  Instead, God willed that blood and water—symbols of the Eucharist and Baptism—should flow from Christ’s wounded Heart to bring healing and conversion to sinful humanity.  No matter how many times humanity has offended and rejected God, He has always been ready to meet us with mercy and forgiveness.

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart, then, is a fitting day for the whole Church to offer an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart for the many sins committed against the love of God.  Certainly, upon the Cross, Christ the Head has offered the one Sacrifice that redeems humanity.  Nevertheless, as members of His Body, we recognize that each of us is called to make atonement for sin so that the whole Christ—Head and members—are united in the work of salvation.  With St. Paul, we ought to be able to say: “In my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His Body, which is the Church” (Col 1:24).  The Blessed Virgin Mary already shows us how to do this.  She is the type and model of the Church’s participation in the work of salvation, for she stands beneath the Cross of her Son and unites her Immaculate Heart to His Sacred Heart.

In this week between the Solemnities of Corpus Christi and the Most Sacred Heart, every Catholic ought to be especially aware of his or her participation in the work of salvation and, in communion with Jesus Christ and the whole Church, strive to offer oneself to the Father in reparation for sin.  I encourage each member of the Body of Christ to offer the Act of Reparation (see below) in these days leading up to the feast of the Sacred Heart.  Hopefully, on the day itself, pastors will lead their people in a public recitation of this Act of Reparation.  Indeed, the Church grants a plenary indulgence to the Christian faithful who publicly recite the “Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart” on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  (In all other cases and at all other times, the indulgence is partial.)  In order to merit a plenary indulgence—either for oneself or for one who has died—the following conditions must be met: (1) Be free of all attachment to sin, even venial sin; (2) Perform the indulgenced work; and (3) Receive sacramental Confession, Holy Communion, and pray for the Pope’s intentions (e.g., by reciting an Our Father and a Hail Mary) within several days (about 20) before or after carrying out the indulgenced work.  (Only one plenary indulgence may be merited per day.  One sacramental Confession will suffice for several plenary indulgences; however, a separate Communion and separate prayers for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.)

 

Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart (from The Handbook of Indulgences)

Most loving Jesus, how great is the love which You have poured out upon the world.  How casual and careless is our response!  Kneeling before You, we wish to atone for the indifference and the slights which pierce You to the heart.

Praise to the heart of Jesus, our Savior and our God.

We ask forgiveness for our own shameful neglect.  We wish to make amends for those who are obstinate in their unbelief, for those who turn away from the light and wander like sheep without a shepherd; and for those who have broken their baptismal promises and reject the gentle yoke of Your law.

Praise to the heart of Jesus, our Savior and our God.

We wish to make amends for the sins of our society: for lust and degradation, for the corruption of the young, for indifference and blasphemy, for attacks against Your Church, for irreverence and even sacrilege against Your love in this Blessed Sacrament, and for the public defiance of Your Law.

Praise to the heart of Jesus, our Savior and our God.

These are the sins for which You died, but now we share in Your Atonement by offering on the altar in union with You the living Sacrifice You made on the Cross, joining to it the sufferings of Your Virgin Mother, and those of all the Saints and the whole Church.

Praise to the heart of Jesus, our Savior and our God.

We promise faithfully that by Your grace we shall make reparation for our own sins and for those of others by a strong faith, by holy living, and by obedience to the law of the Gospel, whose greatest commandment is that of charity.

Praise to the heart of Jesus, our Savior and our God.

We also  promise to do our best to discourage others from insulting You and bring those we can to follow You.

Praise to the heart of Jesus, our Savior and our God.

Jesus, Lord, receive this loving act of homage together with the prayers of our Lady, who stood by the Cross, our model in reparation.  Keep us faithful, even to the point of death, give us the gift of perseverance and lead us all to our promised land in heaven, where You, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, live and reign for ever and ever.  Amen.

Praise to the heart of Jesus, our Savior and our God.

 

The Reverend Jeffery S. Loseke is a Priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha and is currently the pastor of  St. Charlccn_father-les Borromeo Parish in Gretna, Nebraska.  Ordained in 2000, Fr. Loseke holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome and is working to complete his doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in interdisciplinary leadership through Creighton University in Omaha.  In addition to parish ministry, Fr. Loseke has served as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, taught high school theology and college-level philosophy, and has been a presenter for various missions, retreats, and diocesan formation days across the country.

 

Art: Sacred Heart of Jesus with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Louis Gonzaga by José de Páez, Mexico, circa 1770 (Wikimedia Commons)

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