The healthy notion of reparation


This evening during Benediction, we said the solemn Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as given in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum. On the feast of the Sacred Heart, the faithful who participate in this act can gain a plenary indulgence. You might have expected that the indulgenced prayer would be an act of consecration, so it is worth recalling what reparation is all about.

We know that Our Lord was wounded by all our sins. In the Garden of Gethsemane, his soul was "sorrowful even unto death" and He sweated blood. St Luke adds the detail that an angel from heaven strengthened Him. When we offer prayers and penances in reparation for our sins and for the sins of others, we are united to the work of the angel in consoling the heart of Christ.

It is not a question of having a spiritual "day of rage" against all the sins of other people that we can work up ourselves to be cross about. When we offer reparation, it is always first of all for our own sins. What we try to do is to be converted ourselves and contribute positively to the spiritual good of the world by our love for the heart of Christ.

We are fortunate because Our Lord and Our Blessed Lady have been kind enough to instruct us. We say an act of reparation today because that is what Jesus asked when he appeared to St Margaret Mary. He also asked us to make a communion of reparation on the first Friday of the month.

And of course Our Lady asked us to say the rosary, meditate, and receive the sacraments of penance and Holy Communion on the first Saturday in reparation to her Immaculate Heart.

Recently it has struck me more forcibly than before that when Jesus and Mary ask us to do specific things like that, it's best we just get on and do them.

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