Thursday, June 02, 2016

Maronite Year LI

Sacred Heart is, of course, a Latin devotion. The devotion is quite old, going back at least to the twelfth century, but the feast itself first began to be celebrated in the seventeenth century, due to the popularity of the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the active work of St. John Eudes. Bl. Pius IX established it as a universal feast on the Latin calendar in 1856, after it had been allowed on local calendars in for several centuries. The origin of the Maronite feast occurs within this period, as it was made a holy day of obligation for the Maronite church in the late eighteenth century by Patriarch Joseph IV Estephan. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had spread from the Latin Church to the Maronite Church in small trickles, but these trickles became a flood through the rise of a very controversial figure in modern Maronite history, Hindiyya al-'Ujaimi, a nun who had visions. She became widely regarded in Lebanon, and actively pushed for the Sacred Heart devotion. A divisive figure, she was supported (or at times at least not opposed) by much of the Maronite hierarchy, including several Patriarchs, but eventually condemned by Rome. But the devotion she had spread so widely did not cease to exist. The feast is no longer a holy day of obligation, and is not marked out with any special liturgical fanfare, but it is still celebrated, and it is not difficult to find Sacred Heart devotion in Maronite parishes.

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Galatians 1:11-17; Matthew 11:25-30

The gospel comes from the heart of Christ,
which is the heart of the holy Church.
The Father trusts all in the hands of His Son;
no one knows the Son save the Father,
and no one the Father save the Son
and those who come to know Him in and through the Son,
sharing as one the heart of the Son.

Our Lord, in Your love hear our prayers.
We, Your servants, beg You for mercy,
we who through Your grace have been raised to friendship,
for when we had fallen, You raised us,
and though we had been lost, You saved us,
for though we had wandered, we knocked at Your door,
and You answered in lovingkindness.

Not according to our stubbornness,
nor our disobedience, O Lord,
but according to our repentance view us,
that our turning might be a model,
shining to others, a sign of hope.
We, O Christ, have been sealed with Your holy Name,
stamped on our hearts with water and oil.

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