Novena to the Sacred Heart: Day Eight

Day Eight: Love that reaches out to the poor and needy.

Opening Prayer: Father, we honor the Heart of your Son broken by our cruelty, yet the symbol of love’s triumph, the pledge of all we are called to be. Teach us to see Jesus Christ in the lives we touch, to offer Him fitting worship by love-filled service to our brothers and sisters. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture Reading: James 2: 14-18 Faith that does nothing in practice is thoroughly lifeless.

Luke 4: 16-21 He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

Reflection: The world is not even. It does not seem to be fair. There are the wealthy and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the healthy and the sick. Even if we are poor and powerless and ill, there are always many who are worse off, who are more needy. The Christian attitude, in imitation of the love of the Sacred Heart, is to go out in a special way to the poor, the sick, the lonely, the weak.

Why? This was the attitude of Jesus. In the Scripture reading, Jesus tells us that this is precisely why he was sent. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, sight to the blind, freedom to those in captivity. Later in the gospel of Luke, when the disciples of John came to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, He told them to tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind recover sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, and the poor have the good news preached to them (Luke 7: 22). The sign of Jesus, and the sign of his followers should be love – a love that reaches out in very special ways to the most needy.

The Catholic Church now speaks of a preferential or special love for the poor. This is love at its best when there is no hope of reward or return of love. Love consists in sharing, in giving what we can to one who has less or has no one who loves him. As the Heart of Jesus went out to the blind, to the widow whose child died, to the deaf, to the crowds, so our love should extend not only to those we know, not only to those who love us, but especially to those who need our love.

Resolution/Practice: 1. If you know someone who is widowed, visit that person, and bring a small gift of food or something to share with him or her.

2. Next few times that you meet a beggar on the street, instead of ignoring the person and passing by, accept their greeting, greet them, and if you can, give them something small so they can buy some food.

3. Inquire in your parish if you can assist with the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society or an equivalent society that reaches out and helps the poor.