How to make a Holy Hour
"How many things thou hast to do in this most joyous hour! " (from part 1).
The first five parts of
Chapter XX, Book IV
The Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Rev. Peter J. Arnoudt, S.J.
1904 Benziger Brothers, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. Re-printed 1974 by TAN
Books and Publishers, Inc.
1. The voice of Jesus -- My child, so soon as, through holy Communion, thou has received Me, setting aside all other care, be thou wholly Mine, as I am thine.
Behold! Then surrounding and prostrate Angels adore, worship with reverential awe, marvel in astonishment, burn with love: canst thou, in the midst of all this, remain indifferent?
Everything within and without is holiness and devotedness, peace and joy, and pouring out of favors and gifts, sweetness and felicity. Partake thou of the same, My Child: enjoy all these blessings in Me, whom thou possessest.
For lo! In thy innermost heart I Myself am present, thy God, thy all. Stay with Me, My child, nor leave Me alone, by wandering away with thy mind, thy heart, or thy senses.
Having closed the doors of every avenue, spend with Me that time, than which none can be better, more pleasant, more precious for thee.
Blessed are thou, if thou knowest how to employ this time, on which the principal fruit of Communion, the chief progress of thy soul, depends!
How many things thou hast to do in this most joyous hour! How much to pray and to ask for! How many wants to make known to Me! How much, also, hast thou to hear from Me! How many sacrifices to make: how much, in fine, to receive for thyself and for others!
Wherefore, do not neglect the time of My visitation: but have a care, that not the least part of so good a gift overpass thee.
2. First, then, in sincerity of heart, return the greatest thanks to Me, thy Saviour-God, for that I have deigned so mercifully and so lovingly to visit thee.
And, since thou art unable to return worthy thanks for an infinite favor, call upon the Angels, who are attending unseen: invite all the heavenly Spirits and the Saints; nay more, invite everything that breathes, every created being, great and small, that, with thee and for thee, they may praise together, and extol exceedingly the Beloved of thy soul, so loving and so lovely.
But, because these are below the greatness of the divine well-doing, offer up all the thanksgivings, the praises, the acts of love, which the Angels and the Saints, and all the just have ever offered, and will offer forever.
Offer all this, united with the merits of My Heart; which, since they are infinite, are equal to the infinite gift.
3. Then, make acts of the most profound adoration, freely submitting for a holocaust, all the powers of thy soul, and the senses of thy body, as a homage of faith due to Me.
This holocaust, containing as it does the greatest humility, and as it immolates thee wholly to Me, pleases and honors Me supremely.
After this, what is there for which thou mayst not hope from My Heart, so lavish of Its gifts.
Hope boldly, My child: form great and strong acts of firm hope. Now cherish an assured hope that whatsoever thou mayst ask will be given thee. Again cast thyself upon My Heart, as a child upon the bosom of its parent, trusting that here thou shalt find what thou desirest, hoping that here thou shalt be safe.
And will not, meanwhile, thy heart be burning in thee, when so great a kindness is shown thee, so undue a condescension, so disinterested a love?
Here be persevering, My child: give thyself altogether to the divine love; cease not to make acts of love, until thou has satisfied thy devotion, or the Spirit of grace directs thee to other matters.
For, while the divine love is working in thy heart, and exercises its power, then is the acceptable time, - if, through human frailty or in any other manner, thou hast done things which may be displeasing to My Heart, -both to grieve, out of pure love of God, for having committed them, and to resolve to commit them no more.
The living heat of divine love, if thou co-operatest with it, pursues sin like dry stubble, burns and consumes it.
4. Then, that thou mayst not fall again, pray earnestly to be cured of thy evil passions, if thou have any; to be freed from inordinate affections, whereby thou either lovest or shunnest unsuitably created objects; to be delivered from miseries, to which thou art subject; lastly, to be preserved from sins and defects, especially from those to which experience teaches thee that thou art more inclined.
Nay more, in order that thou mayst become more solid and perfect, as well as more alike and dear to My Heart, do thou beg earnestly for virtues or an increase of them.
Ask for more lively faith, a more firm hope, a more fervent love, a greater affection for holy poverty, a more Angelic purity, a more perfect obedience, a more eminent humility and meekness, conformity to My divine Will, an intimate and abiding union with me: other virtues, in fine, which thy state requires, and which are befitting in a Disciple of My Heart.
Proceed still further, and implore a special help, whereby, for love of Me, thou mayst perform cheerfully and meritoriously those sacrifices in particular which grace asks and desires of thee.
Devote thyself wholly, with all thou art and hast, as a living victim to My honor and to My love.
5. Lastly, My Child, exercise the zeal of love: pray much and fervently for others, to the greater glory and joy of My Heart.
Through the merits of the Saints and Angels, through the Heart of My Immaculate Virgin Mother, through My Heart Itself, pray humbly for the universal Church; that she may enjoy peace, increase in holiness, and be spread throughout the world.
For the Supreme Pontiff, My Viceregent, and for all My Ministers; that they may be good laborers in My Vineyard, may possess rightness of intention, purity of life, the pursuit of perfection, and fervor of zeal.
For Religious; that they may preserve their first spirit, make constant progress in virtue, edify the world, console the Church.
For all the faithful people; that every one, in the vocation to which he was chosen, serving Me in a worthy and laudable manner, may strive to make his calling sure.
Pour forth likewise, thy prayers and supplications for the conversion of infidels, of heretics, of all sinners; that, freed from the errors of the mind and the vices of the heart, they may direct their steps into the way of salvation and peace.
For thy kindred, benefactors, friends, and expressly for thy enemies; that they may be assisted with help from above, be sanctified, and that they may obtain all things necessary and useful to them.
For all the just, the afflicted, those in danger, those who are in their death-struggle; that they may obtain perseverance, comfort, protection, and a happy end.
Finally, for the faithful departed, for those especially for whom thou mayst, in any manner, be obliged to pray; that they may deserve to enter heaven, and be able to intercede for thee before the throne of the divine mercy.
About this book:
TAN presents this book on their web site as "better than The
Imitation of Christ", which is a true, time-tested Christian classic. However,
TAN's comment may be an understatement. There are some who consider this to be the
greatest spiritual guide ever written, outside of Scripture.
The writing of the book is shrouded in mystery. The author states in the Epilogue that when he was at "death's door" he vowed to the Sacred Heart that he would accomplish this work. It is not known if he had a private revelation, or a vision of Jesus, or if he received locutions while writing this.
At one time I was seeing a spiritual director, and we were using this book as a guide. Then this priest was to be transferred, and he said to me not to worry if I could not find another director, because using the book The Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus would be sufficient.
Frank Rega is the author of Padre
Pio and America,
and of St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims, both from TAN Books.
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was last updated on 07/04/11