Friday of the First Week of Advent
Today is “First Friday.” For those of us who remember every Friday as meatless and before such meatless meals were fashionable, the first Friday of each month was practically a Holy Day of obligation. Serious Catholics made the “nine first Fridays” as a means of expressing their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Essentially, the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the prayers which supported this devotion reminded men and women of the burning love of Christ for all humanity. It is that love for humanity, especially for the poor and outcast that we read about in today’s gospel when the blind man professes his faith in Jesus. This devotion to the Sacred Heart, which reached its full force in the late 19th can early 20th centuries, was set against an industrialized society which either negated God altogether or reduced God to some passive role in the progress of human civilization. The Jesuits advanced this devotion as a response to the materialism rampant at this time. During this same time, in 1844, the Jesuits promoted the Apostleship of prayer, a work of all the faithful who joined their prayers for the work of the church. Negating the idea that only material things were indicators of success, the Jesuits promoted the Apostleship of Prayer as a means to unite men and women of faith into a community of persons who were joined by the work (apostolote) of praying for the Church and for the world, particularly the work of the missions
This work still continues and you can read about it on the following link:
Although we don’t hear much talk of making the nine first Fridays there is no shortage of the need to remind ourselves of Christ’s love of all humanity. Taking Christ as our namesake, since we call ourselves Christians, we are called to be like Christ and express that love where it is needed most. Although we may be tempted to despair by the enormity world’s problems, we need to examine where we can be witnesses to the power of prayer and how that prayer can move us and others towards Christ’s Sacred Heart.