Day Seven: Love that is patient and forgiving.
Opening Prayer: Father, we have wounded the heart of Jesus your Son, but He brings us forgiveness and grace. Help us to prove our grateful love and make amends for our sins. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
Luke 23: 32-34 and 39-43 Father forgive them; they do not know what they are doing
Reflection: There are some persons we can’t seem to get along with. Tension more than peace comes between us. Perhaps they annoy us and get on our nerves. Our efforts to be kind and friendly to them never seem to succeed. We seem unable to change the situation, we are frustrated and tempted to give up. As a matter of fact, each situation varies; there is no one simple, single solution to solve problem cases.
But one thing is true. In every situation, the Christian is called upon to imitate the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means we must be patient with others, and must be ready to forgive, not seven but seventy times seven (Mt. 18:21). In spite of his agony and suffering on the cross, the loving Heart of Jesus reached out even to those who hung him there. Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing. That same love reaches out to the good thief and promises him eternal life in paradise.
Be merciful as you heavenly father is merciful (Luke 6:36). True, this is easier said than done, but this is the challenge Jesus puts before us his followers. St. Francis of Assisi once wrote to a superior who had trouble with some of the young men: Love those who disobey you. Don’t ask more of them than the Lord does. Love them exactly as they are, don’t ask them to be better Christians first… Let there be no single person who, however much he may sin, goes away without first looking into your eyes and finding there mercy. And if he does not look for mercy, offer it to him anyway.
Resolution/Practice: 1. Every time we recite the Our Father, we pray for this spirit of mercy and forgiveness. Next time you recite the Our Father, think concretely of someone you have had difficulty with. Pray for that person, that God will bless him or her, and that will be patient and more forgiving too.
2. If you have recently had a quarrel with someone, think of some one way that you might show that you really love and care for that person and want to be at peace with him or her.
3. Resolve to frequent the Sacrament of Penance at least monthly and recall that penance calls for reconciliation not only with God but with all of God’s people.
This Novena in Honor of the Sacred Heart was written by Rev. Peter Schineller S.J. for the Apostleship of Prayer/League of the Sacred Heart.