I sometimes have parts of a favorite litany rolling around in the back of my mind. One of those prayers is the Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. The entire litany pounds into my heart how much Jesus personally loves me: fully, unconditionally, and without limits. It also reminds me that He loves my family and friends similarly, more than I will ever be capable to muster. And He loves those whom I find difficult to love but still stretch myself to pray for because I want them to know this Love.
The Love of the Father
Perhaps what strikes me most is the end of the litany, especially “Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, with Thy Blood, and made of us a kingdom for our God.” I once was on retreat praying the Gospel of Luke when, in chapter 22, the connection left me stunned: “You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom” (Luke 22:28-29). He made a kingdom of us for our God! In this crazy world where loneliness, depression, anxiety and suicide are epidemic, how might the world be healed if it knew they could be part of this Kingdom?
We also know that Jesus did not do this for Himself. He always does the Will of the Father, the One who sent Him (John 5:30). Courage, strength, help of those in peril, relief of the burdened…these are all things God Himself desired and designed for each of us personally. God, who is endlessly and eternally self-giving, “hast been pleased to be reconciled unto us by His Blood”. God does not want to lose any one of us for “this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it [on] the last day” (John 6:39).
The Love of the Son
The relationship between Father and Son is not master-slave, and Jesus is not God’s servant doing His Will without choice. Jesus has His own perfect Will, and He chooses to love us too. This love is perhaps most vividly expressed in John’s Gospel. Nearing the end of His human existence, He prays for them (and us) “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. … When I was with them, I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them … keep them from the evil one. … Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. … And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” (John 17:11-19).
Jesus consecrated Himself to us, securing us as God’s Kingdom. Now it is up to us to live up to that by consecrating ourselves to Jesus, particularly to His Sacred Heart from which His Precious Blood flows for us. The entire world was consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pope Leo XIII. A consecration not only removes the person or object from the dominion of Satan, it removes us from the secular world too. Consecration commits the soul exclusively to God. By making a personal consecration, we make a permanent offering of ourselves so solemn and sincere it marks the whole of our life.
In 1675 Jesus revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque the promises of His Sacred Heart. Although He had given similar revelations to saints in past centuries, those were for the benefit of their personal or religious community. Preparing the entire world to return eternally to His domain, He asked St. Margaret Mary to share these promises[i]
It is most efficacious to also enthrone the home and entire family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus is accepted as King and Lord of the home. In doing so, we bring Him into every fiber of our lives. For the Christian family receiving the Eucharist and seeking closeness to Christ, the home becomes an extension of the Eucharistic tabernacle. The two tabernacles are spiritually united to the Heart of Jesus. (For those interested in learning more, full explanation and materials are available at Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion).
Let us pray for the worldwide Catholic Church, that we live our lives in a manner set aside and consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and that we may bring others back into their personal covenant with God:
Since in the Sacred Heart the believer encounters the symbol and the living image of the infinite love of Christ, which in itself spurs us to love one another, he cannot fail to recognize the need to participate personally in the work of salvation. For this reason every member of the Church is invited to see consecration as the giving and binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, the King “of prodigal sons”, the King of all who are waiting to be led “into the fight of God and of his kingdom” (Formula of Consecration).” (St. John Paul II)[ii]