Friday, 6 January 2012

TGI First Friday ! First Friday of 2012*

When we reflect on the importance of the Sacred Heart, whether in the writings of Teilhard or Rahner or Benedict XVI, it is so very sad that the practice of attending mass and receiving communion on  the first Friday of every month has lapsed over the years.   It is, of course, one of the promises made to St. Margaret Mary on the 16th June 1675.

 I promise thee in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that its all-powerful Love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of Nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

That is quite a promise:  it is really an offer you just can't refuse.  However, as I noted in an earlier post, despite my best intentions I never managed to actually 'do' the first nine 'First Fridays' until last year and I think that it was really a focal point of the year.  All I can say is that it was a tremendously worthwhile exercise and a deeply spiritual experience  and I would encourage anyone to do it.  I did it while the icon was being written, and find it appropriate now during the process of reading the icon.  Surely it would be a simple matter for Churches just to draw attention to the fact a Friday coming up is the first Friday of the month.  It is about time we re-discovered the efficacy of these traditional practices which prompt us to reflect on the fact that, as Benedict once put it:

In the Heart of Jesus, the center of Christianity is set before us. It expresses everything, all that is genuinely new and revolutionary in the New Covenant. This Heart calls to our heart. It invites us to step forth out of the futile attempt of self-preservation and, by joining in the task of love, by handing ourselves over to him and with him, to discover the fullness of love which alone is eternity and which alone sustains the world. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, (Behold the Pierced One, 1981)

Yes, you too can join the revolution by going to Mass every first Friday of the month!  Hand yourself over  and leave your ego outside and your heart wide open.  And then just 'Thank God its (a first) Friday'.  The collect at today's mass is beautifully expressed in the icon: 
'Cast your kindly light upon your faithful, Lord, we pray, and with the splendour of your glory  set their hearts ever aflame...'

* The Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on the 8th January in England and Wales!

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