Image of French family house plaque of the Sacré Cœur (Sacred Heart) 1940 A.D.
"Thy sweet Heart is my living heaven." -The Venerable Thomas of Jesus
On April 17, 1582, the venerable Thomas of Jesus, the son of a Portuguese nobleman, and a member of the Order of the hermits of St. Augustine, died in captivity at Sagen, in Africa. At the age of eighteen he entered that Order, became novice master, and later on, with the permission of his superiors, retired to a house of the same congregation, where the religious discipline was practised in all its severity.
Here he remained till he was sent, in 1578, by order of Sebastian, King of Portugal, with the troops to fight against the Moors in Africa. There he was taken prisoner and sold (to a Muslim). He refused to be ransomed, preferring to remain in bondage in order to encourage the captive Christians, who, being unable to endure the weight of their chains and the ill-usage of the Moors, were tempted to apostatize. It was in order to console these poor Christians that he wrote, during his captivity, his celebrated work on the sufferings of Our Lord.
I shall note some passages from it, dear reader, to show you how his opinions concerning the devotion to the Sacred Heart coincide with those of the Blessed Margaret Mary.
He says: "The Sacred Heart is:
"1. The centre of the greatest and yet unrequited love.
2. The seat of suffering.
3. Our place of refuge."
1. Love has the properties of fire, which is the most powerful and active of all the elements; hence it is that God is called in Scripture "a consuming fire." (Deut. iv. 24.) The human understanding cannot grasp the power of divine love in the Divine Heart of God, and it was with this fire of love the incarnate Word burned. It was consumed with the desire to accomplish what was proposed to it, and yet it was forced to wait long years till the time decreed by divine wisdom had come. No one can ever conceive or express the solicitude of the Heart of our dear Lord for the salvation of mankind, or the patience and gentleness with which it welcomed men and bore with their perverseness.
2. Love has its sufferings. "Oh, how little do the lovers of the world understand this kind of suffering! Only those who love Thee understand it. Is it not a cause of suffering for Thee to hope and desire that out of those boundless flames of Thy pure, divine love, some spark may fly from Thee and enkindle in Thy servant such a longing for Thee, that without Thee life is a continual martyrdom?"
3. He considered it his place of refuge. "Oh, heaven, open thy gates to let me behold my Lord! But dear Jesus, what do I say? heaven is deaf and will not hear me. Thy sweet Heart is my living heaven. It has eyes which behold; ears which listen; a will which loves; beauty which refreshes; light which gives light; O my living heaven, Thou seest and understandest me, open Thyself to me, to let me see what is taking place in Thee. Receive me, my sweet heaven, lock me up in Thyself, and then men may speak of me as they will. It is contrary to Thy nature to be hard with sinners; be not so with me. If I am blind send me light. I know Thou sighest after me, and Thou knowest I long for Thee. Open Thyself to recive me."
(Source: "The Sacred Heart: Anecdotes and Examples to Assist in Promoting
the Devotion to the Sacred Heart", pp. 84-88, by Fr. Joseph Keller, Imp., 1899.)
Blessed be St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles!
The Papal Restoration Staff
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