Day One: Love that is Total and Unconditional
Opening Prayer: Almighty God and Father, we glory in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, your beloved Son, as we call to mind the great things his love has done for us. Fill us with the grace that flows in abundance from the Heart of Jesus, the source of heaven’s gifts. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scripture Reading: 1 Cor. 13: 1-13 Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous
Matt. 5:43-48 If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that?
Reflection:Â St. Paul writes to the Corinthians and describes for them the qualities of love. Paul is really describing the qualities of the love that God revealed to us in the Heart of His Son. Paul is challenging us to love the way Jesus did. “Love is patient, kind, not jealous, not prone to anger, there is no limit to its trust, hope, and power to endure…” God wants to mold our heart so that it resembles the Heart of His Son. Let us generously and unconditionally accept that love, and then try to practice unconditional love in our relationship with our neighbor.
1. Pray daily the Prayer of St. Ignatius for Generosity:
Dear Lord, teach us to be generous. Teach us to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not ask for reward, save that of knowing that I am doing your will. Amen.
2. At Mass, we see how Jesus gave himself completely for us. Every time you attend Mass, make an unconditional offering of yourself to God the Father, in union with the complete offering of Jesus.
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 .
From Leonie Martin: A Difficult Life by Marie Beaudin-Croix
The Story of a Soul was published at the end of September 1898. Leonie immediately devoured the book and was moved to rediscover memories of their shared childhood; but most importantly of all, she finally knew all the secrets of the love which Therese and her beloved Lord had shared. The Story of a Soul became Leonie’s bedside book; and it helped her to regain hope for her own vocation.
Leonie’s heart was constantly drawn toward her beloved Visitation Order; but she hesitated, because of her fragile health and her innate restlessness – a restlessness which sometimes made others see her as indecisive, whereas in fact she was strong-willed to the point of stubbornness.
One day, Leonie would learn – and would bear witness to it at the Process for Therese’s Beatification, in 1910 – that in early 1888, after Leonie’s first attempt to join the Visitation Order, Therese had said prophetically to a Benedictine sister in Lisieux: ‘We must not worry about the fact that Leonie’s attempts at religious life have been unsuccessful. After my death, she will enter the Visitation Order; she will take my name, and that of Saint Francis de Sales.’ In 1888 Therese was fifteen and about to enter the Carmelite convent, and no one dreamed that she would die young; she was in good health, and photographs of her as a novice show us a cheerful, round-faced little country girl.
In 1915, during the Apostolic Process for the Cause of Therese, Leonie recounted a fact which she had learned from Pauline: ‘Mother Marie Gonzaga, the prioress, told Therese that on the day of her Profession (8 September 1890), when she prostrated herself , she should pray that our dear father would be cured; but in fact, she prayed, “God, since Mother Marie told me to ask this of You, grant that Papa may be cured, if it be Your will; but grant that it be Your will that Leonie should become a Visitandine, and if she has no vocation, I beg You to send her one; You cannot refuse me this.” It is true that I made another fruitless attempt to join the Visitation Order; but the faith of this Servant of God was unshakeable.’
Today is the Feast Day of Blesseds Louis & Zélie Martin, the parents of Léonie Martin (our namesake!) and of St. Thérèse. In their honor, we offer you a few short quotes and a prayer.
“If the Blessed Virgin doesn’t cure me, I shall implore her to cure my child, Léonie, to develop her mind and to make her a saint.” ~ Zélie Martin, in a letter to her brother
“Léonie will love God very much, and will be good to everyone.” ~ Zélie Martin, shortly before her death
“When Léonie left the Visitandines, he did not complain; he never reproached God for not having answered his prayers to send his daughter a vocation. Indeed, it was with a kind of joy that he went to meet her. Léonie spent her time in Lisieux visiting the sick and the dying and doing house work.” ~ St. Thérèse speaking of her father
[All quotes from the book Léonie Martin, A Difficult Life, by Marie Baudouin-Croix]
Prayer for the Canonization of Blesseds Louis and Zélie Martin
God of eternal love, You gave us Blesseds Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of Léonie and St. Thérèse, as an example of holiness in marriage. They remained faithful to You and Your commandments in all the duties and trials of life. They desired to raise their children to become saints. May their prayers and example help Christian family life to blossom in our world today. If it be Your will, grant us the grace we now ask of You through the intercession of Blesseds Louis and Zélie Martin, and let them be counted among the Saints of the Church. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blesseds Louis and Zélie, pray for us as you prayed for your children.
Many thanks to Jacqueline Thérèse for providing quotes and prayer!