If Our Blessed Lord is the New Temple, then His Most Sacred Heart is the Temple’s Holy of Holies. We venerate Our Lord’s Sacred Heart with special attention during the month of June.
June is liturgically action packed. This year, from the first day, by traditional calendrical observances, we start the Octave of Pentecost. This was needlessly, barbarously eliminated from the Church’s post-Conciliar calendar. The Octave culminates in the following Sunday’s veneration of the Most Holy Trinity, that difficult central mystery of our Faith.
On the following Thursday, and it really is supposed to be on Thursday although is understandably transferred to Sunday, comes Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Lord’s Body and Blood. Later in the month, with the Summer Equinox, the “greatest man born of woman” is marked, St John the Baptist (Matt 11:11, Lk 7:28), whose feast has a Vigil.
Finally, as June winds up we honour our Apostolic, Roman roots. Ss Peter and Paul were martyred. Their blood gouts were “seeds” for our Christian identity and the Church (cf Tertullian, Apologeticus 13).
During the traditional Octave of Pentecost, at June’s onset, we sing daily the lovely “Golden” Sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus sometimes attributed to the “Apostle to the English”, St Augustine of Canterbury (d 604). Set to music by some of our greatest composers, this is one of the last sequences still preserved in the Roman liturgy. Also during the Octave, on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, we who honour the Church’s ancient ways will observe the Pentecost Ember Days. Four times a year, around the changes of seasons, we fast and pray during these Quatuor Tempora, or Embertides. The Ember Days fall after the 1st Sunday in Lent, after Pentecost, after the Exaltation of the Cross in September, and during Advent, after St Lucy’s Day (December 13). Here’s a little rough Latin poem to help you remember: “Sant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia / Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria” which is in an English rhyme, “Fasting days and Emberings be / Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie.” Or maybe just, “Lenty, Penty, Crucy, Lucy”.
On the Friday 19 days after Pentecost, we rejoice in the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to Christ’s Sacred Heart developed steadily over centuries especially after the visions received by St Margaret Mary Alacoque (d 1690). While we celebrate, we also should do penance. In 1928, Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, containing a “Prayer of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus”. Could you say it every day during the rest of June?
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