Kevin O’Rourke SJ has compiled scripture, reflections and prayer to accompany the faithful on their Sacred Heart Novena journey from 20 to 28 June 2019. The material is published in this month’s Messenger magazine as well as on leaflets for parishes, prayer groups, or for those who wish to pray at home.
Fr O’Rourke begins by promoting a contemplative way of praying. “People who know each other well don’t need many words,” he says. He encourages the faithful to entrust their intention for the Novena to Jesus in the Novena Prayer which is read at the end of each session.
Content for the first day revolves around bringing everything to Jesus, especially the burdens: “I have nine days, Lord. About ten minutes each day… But even before we start, my first Novena intention is that you will help me to find a quiet place, and enough time, to spend with you each day. We have so much to talk about. And help me to be quiet enough to hear what you want to say to me.”
An example of scripture is the story of the woman caught in adultery from John 8:10-14 on the fifth day. Fr O’Rourke then reflects on the hard hearts of the crowd – as hard as the stones they want to throw at the woman. Regarding the compassionate heart of Jesus toward her, the Irish Jesuit says: “Jesus straightens up. Their eyes meet. She knows true love for the first time in her life. Even if he didn’t say a word about sin, she knows that life will never be the same again.”
Also featured in the Messenger are excerpts from the homilies of Pope Francis for the feast of the Sacred Heart which takes place on Friday 28 June, the last day of the Novena. An echo of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, can be heard when Francis says: “There are two aspects of love. First, love is more about giving than receiving. Second, love is more about deeds than words. Love is always given or transmitted to another; love always gives life, fosters growth.”
Fr O’Rourke hopes that the faithful make an inner transformation as they finish the Novena. He prays that “our hearts burn within us”.
Leaflets to accompany the Sacred Heart Novena are now available to purchase from Messenger Publications. A pack of 50 leaflets cost €25. Contact Messenger Publications at 01 7758522 or [email protected]