From the Preface
“Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return, from the greater part I receive only ingratitude.”
These are the words of Our Divine Master to St. Margaret Mary Alaçoque. It gives pain to the heart to know that Our Divine Master has to complain. And what is His complaint? The lack of gratitude and the lack of love for His Sacred Heart.
In other places we also see the desire of the Sacred Heart for an increase both of quality and quantity in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
The beauty of this Holy Hour is that, responding to the initial request of Our Redeemer in the Garden: “Could you not watch one hour with me”, it attempts to respond to that complaint of the Divine Heart and do reparation in these three areas. It seeks to do reparation for the neglect and tepidity of and in vocations, it expresses gratitude for the many benefits that we have been blessed with, and it expresses our devotion to the Sacred Heart.
The average person will pray many prayers of petition in times of need and only a few prayers of thanksgiving after a prayer has been answered. It does not occur to us to pray prayers of gratitude for the Divine Mysteries, the blessings and graces of Redemption and the mysteries of the Divine Attributes. Even the crosses that we blame God for giving us are a means of sanctification and merit that we seldom give Him thanks for. We should show gratitude for the manner in which He can extract good even out of these evils and bestow great blessings on us!
We take too much for granted, so much so that the Divine Heart has to gently complain: “From the greater part I receive only ingratitude”.
In this Holy Hour we put ourselves aside. We put our needs and concerns and wants on the back burner. We fill our prayer with something more important: the Divine Heart of our Savior. We give Him our attention, our love, our reparation, our adoration, and our gratitude.
And as we pray these prayers, we pray for an intention that is dear to Him: for vocations and for the sanctification of priests and religious. How few there are that respond to the Divine Call in our day and dedicate their lives to His service! How sad it is to see many of those who are consecrated to Him consider their lives as social work and are not filled with the love that comes from His Heart! How we should pray that their fervor is increased and that they serve Him as they set out to do when they left all to follow Him! That they remain faithful to obedience and to the truths of our faith and not neglect their duty, according to Pope St. Gregory the Great, to preach those truths with clarity! This Holy Hour serves the purpose of reparation for the sorrow caused to the Divine Heart by this lukewarmness and neglect in His chosen souls and prays for an increase in the fervor of their vocations.
We truly give this hour to the Good Lord. We do not nag Him for an hour about our own needs and wants; instead we fill an hour with His needs and His wants. The beauty of this Holy Hour is that it fulfills that golden rule of good Liturgy and genuine prayer: it’s not about us, it’s about Him.
One of the mysteries of the Divine Heart of Our Savior is that He loves us more than we could ever love Him. He knows our needs more than we could ever express them. As we pray this Holy Hour of Reparation, Our Lord will bless us with His help in our needs. He will provide for us, not only in the minor things that we are most concerned about, but also in the more important things such as our sanctification, the assistance in practicing virtue, a growth in the love of God, and all the needs of our family and loved ones. It is humbling to know that the more love we give the Good Lord, so much the more love He showers upon us, and the more gratitude we show Him the more He blesses us. As the Divine Child said to Fr Cyrillus: “the more you honor Me, the more I will bless you!”
Take an hour out of your week and give it to Our Divine Master by praying this Holy Hour of Reparation. Don’t do it to get something out of it; it’s time to give back something to Him. Show that Heart some love, who has shown you so much love. Give that Heart some gratitude, who has given so much to you.
Rev. Fr. J. Fryar FSSP