This Friday, January 7, is First Friday. I would like to encourage every one of us to make and complete this special devotion, given the promise attached to it by the Lord Himself (see below). I believe significant blessings will flow to you by honoring this special devotion to the Eucharistic and Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Basically you go to Mass on the first Friday of the month for nine consecutive months with the intention of honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus, receiving Holy Communion worthily (prior sacramental confession if needed). Some parishes actually have First Friday Masses with benediction and special prayers after Mass, like Saint Cyril and Methodius (9am Mass). I highly recommend Father John Croiset's book, The Devotion to the Sacred Heart.
The promise of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary reads:
I promise you in the excessive Mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful Love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the Grace of Final Penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
on the importance of The Sacred Heart Devotion:
I noticed that at the end of his book, Life Everlasting, the eminent Dominican theologian, Father Garrigou-Lagrange, who died in 1964, speaks with high endorsement of the First Friday Devotion of the Sacred Heart, stating on page 262:
"We may here remind the reader of the great promise of the Sacred Heart, to those who receive Communion well on nine successive First Fridays. This promise, we have said, is absolute, that it supposes that Communion has been well made for these nine times. This would be, therefore, a grace given only to the elect."
Father Garrigou-Lagrange was one of the great theologians and Thomists of his day, and a Professor of JP II! If you have not made the First Friday devotion, you may want to give serious consideration to doing so. There is nothing more important than salvation, or, rather, everything else in the world is as if nothing compared to being saved. This is what the gift of Wisdom teaches us.
Here is a short reflection from Father Faber which I pray spurs us all on to greater adoration. I note that JP II made Alexandrina de Costa Blessed not too long ago, and the fact that this modern "saint" lived exclusively on the Eucharist for thirteen years certainly merits our consideration. Francis Johnston's book on her indicates on page 101 that Jesus promised that through her "many souls" would "become ardently Eucharistic."
Here's Faber's note:
THE SINGLE OVERPOWERING FACT OF THE WORLD IS THE BLESSED EUCHARIST
"If the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus all for us, is it not the most legitimate of conclusions that we should be all for Him? We should be all for Jesus, if Jesus is our all. And what does this mean? Surely, among other things, that the Blessed Sacrament should be to us just the single overpowering fact of the world.
"Our hands hold Him...our tongue rests Him...our soul feels Him...our flesh feeds upon Him... the INFINITE, the INCOMPREHENSIBLE, the IMMENSE, the ETERNAL [God]. Must not all life be looked at in this light, just as the whole Church lies in this light and has no other? What [should be] more attentive, what more reverent, what more familiar, what more timid, what more happy, than the worship of the Blessed Sacrament, and the peculiar practice of the presence of God which it is to all of us! Our whole being from year's end to year's end resolves itself into one double duty, one [of] PRAISE, and another [of] REPARATION, to this Most Holy Sacrament. And what else will the grand ceremony of our entrance into eternity be, but simply the unveiling of the Blessed Sacrament?
"All the attraction of the Church is in Jesus, and His chief attraction is the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament is the property of the souls of men.... Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is the Queen of all devotions. It is the central devotion of the Church. All other [devotions] gather round it, and group themselves there as satellites; for [other devotions] celebrate his mysteries; this is Himself. It is the universal devotion. No one can be without it....How can a man be a Christian who does not worship the living presence of Christ? It [should] be every man's trade, occupation, profession, leisure, and ambition, to worship the Blessed Sacrament....But Oh! the awful solitude that reigns around the tabernacle!" 1
Thank you, Tom, for sharing this with us! God is at work in you.
1. F.W. Faber, The Blessed Sacrament (Rockford, IL; TAN Books), adapted and condensed from pages 400-452.Pictures copyright 2010 Joseph Karl Publishing.