To find out more about the twelve promises of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, see Raymond de Souza’s ‘The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart‘ 12 CD set.
When we consider how troublesome the year 2020 was, and its development, 2021, we can ask ourselves how Our Lord wants us to confront the problems that face us in all areas. So, we study the promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to receive strength, consolation and courage.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the course of four major apparitions, made promises which He gave to the Church through Saint Margaret Mary Alacocque in the 17th century.
In this article we’ll consider the third promise, which is, I will comfort them in all their troubles. We are talking here about the role of the Cross in life, and how do we respond to it.
In the Gospels, Our Lord Jesus Christ said these comforting words:
“Come to me, ye who are burdened, and I shall refresh you”. That is the 3rd promise of the Sacred Heart.
The fact is, burdens and troubles are part and parcel of our life in this valley of tears. We cannot avoid all of them. We can mitigate them, reduce them, eliminate some of them, but eliminate them all, hoping for plain sailing in a tranquil sea of peace, we cannot.
So, in times of trouble, if we are devotees of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we can count on His consolation and strength to help us get through the difficult times.
He may not necessarily remove the cross of suffering from our shoulders, but He will either give us the strength to carry it or be our Simon of Cyrene and help us carry our cross.
Many times, in our afflictions, we tend to forget the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and zero in our own problems. That’s us, humans. We forget that, even though Jesus is a divine Person, in his glorious body there is a human heart, a heart that feels like a man feels, and, as man he loves us with his human heart to the extent of laying laid his life for us.
A human heart feels for other men’s sufferings. This is called Compassion.
For instance, Jesus shed tears on the occasion of the death of his friend Lazarus; he felt sorry for the widow of Naim who followed her only son’s burial cortege with a disconsolate heart. And Jesus, knowing that one day His own Mother would also be a widow who lost Her only son, felt sorry for the poor lady, and restored her son to life, without her even asking for it. He also lamented and suffered in his heart for the city of Jerusalem.
“I will comfort them”, He says. What is comfort? What does it mean? To comfort does not mean to make us comfortable, as in a comfy easy chair in front of the television with a can of soda and bag of chips or popcorn. No, to comfort is not even merely to console us. It means to strengthen, to give strength to someone.
This is a hard fact of life: Troubles are unavoidable in this valley of tears.
Suffering comes to us in many ways. Illnesses in the body; accidents; job losses; a friend betrayed your confidence; natural causes, like fire, flood, lightning bolts; problems in the parish, family, workplace; you name it.
These are facts of life. Some problems we cause ourselves, sometimes we don’t. But they confront us anyway. The question is how to prevent them, and if it is not possible to prevent them, how to minimize them; and if it is not possible to minimize them, how to respond to them to the best of our ability.
The cross is a reality in life. We cannot avoid it. Our Master said, “If anyone wishes to be my disciple, let him deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me.” Per Crucem ad lucem, Through the Cross into the light.
Suffering is a reality of life. And trying to run away from suffering is like trying to run away from our shadow – it follows us wherever we go.
Jesus says that to be his disciple and follow Him, first, we must deny ourselves in the first place. How do we do that?
By avoiding sin, by saying “no!” to ourselves. We are called to avoid not only mortal sin, but also venial sins. We may not avoid them all, but we must keep on trying.
We suffer in three ways: as a saint, a penitent, or a reprobate. On Calvary there were three men crucified: the one in the center, was the Saint; the one on the right, the penitent; the one on the left, the reprobate. They had the same suffering, but their way to respond to suffering made all the difference. We hope that, if we are not capable to suffer our crosses like a Saint, at least as a penitent, and never, ever, as a reprobate.
We must learn how to suffer with dignity, tranquillity and hope. We can learn from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who accepted suffering with dignity, without despair, without complaints, without vain anguishes, without unrealistic expectations or nervousness. It is only in this way that we achieve grandeur of soul and heroism.
If you want to look for people who are prepared to work for the Catholic Cause, you may find many. To pray for the Church, some. To suffer, no one, or hardly any.
In life, thorns are worth more than flowers and fruits, and that is why Our Lord received a crown of thorns.
And of course, many times our suffering appears to be too much and we fall under the weight of the Cross. But even here there is great hope because Jesus also fell under the weight of His cross.
When Jesus fell the first time under the weight of the Cross, He could have said, ‘that is enough, I am crushed by this cross’. He was exhausted, wounded, finished. ‘Let the angels of heaven carry this cross for me now’.
But He gave our cowardice a sublime lesson. With his strength exhausted, He did not renounce the burden but asked for yet more strength to carry the Cross once again. And He did obtain it.
Yes, the life of a Christian is difficult today. To be obliged to struggle unceasingly against oneself in order to keep the Commandments seems to be an extravagant exception in a world that flaunts the joy of life in licentiousness and opulence.
The cross of fidelity to God’s Law weighs heavy on our shoulders, and, at times, we seem to be out of breath.
In these moments of trial, what do we tend to do? We rationalize. We have already done all that we can. After all, a man’s strength is so limited! God understands. He will take this into account. Then we drop the cross by the roadside and sink cozily into a life of pleasure.
Ah, many are the crosses abandoned alongside our ways, we know it well!
Let us ask the Sacred Heart of Jesus to grant us the grace to continue to embrace our crosses, even when we collapse under their weight. To grant us the grace to rise up again whenever we grow faint. To grant us the supreme grace of never departing from the way by which we must reach the height of our own Calvary.
The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart – Raymond de Souza (12 CD Set)
2000 years ago, the Sacred Heart was pierced by a lance and His precious blood was shed for the redemption of mankind. After His resurrection, Our Lord Jesus Christ continued to appear to mystics and saints, enflaming them with the fires of love and self-sacrifice.
Taken from the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Raymond de Souza explores the twelve promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, unwrapping the layers of history, society and spirituality and presenting a message for holiness and fulfilment as timeless as it is divine.
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their families.
3. I will comfort them in all their difficulties.
4. I will be their refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will shed abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart an ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
9. I will give to priests the power of touching the hardest hearts.
10. I will bless where the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart never to be blotted out.
12. First Friday devotees will not die without their sacraments.