Posted by: liturgicalyear | May 7, 2010

Making the ordinary extraordinary: First Friday

Time was sanctified the moment that God became man in Jesus Christ.  The eternal God, the One outside of time, physically entered time and became subject to it. Eternal time & earthly time converged & the very holiness of God entered human time.  At that moment, time transformed from ordinary to extraordinary.    

Our challenge in living the liturgical year is to sanctify our time in time – by finding, or rather, making our time holy by what we think, say, & do.

The first Friday of the month is a great opportunity to mark time in a holy way. 

A little background (for those who might be unfamiliar)

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born on July 22, 1647 in Burgundy France.  When she was 10 years old, she developed rheumatic fever and ended up paralyzed & bedridden for 5 years.  Cured of her paralysis, she decided not to marry & instead entered the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial and became a nun.  While at the Visitation convent, Jesus appeared to Margaret Mary in four apparitions over the next year and a half. 

In the first apparition, Jesus told St. Margaret Mary that he wanted a new devotion started within the Church, a devotion which would ultimately challenge the tenets of Jansenism.

In the second, Jesus said that “it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin into which Satan hurls such crowds of them, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which It contains.”

In subsequent visions, St. Margaret Mary was told that she was chosen by Jesus to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart.  Additionally, He gave her 12 promises that Jesus made to anyone who honored and propagated devotion to His Sacred Heart.

Practicing the devotion consists of:

  1. Receiving Holy Communion on the first Friday of the month;
  2. going to confession within eight days;
  3. doing so for nine consecutive months, without interruption;
  4. with the proper disposition;
  5. with the intention of making reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to obtain the fruit of this great promise.

St. Margaret Mary summed up her experiences in a letter saying, “Oh, how sweet is death when one has had a tender devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ!”  Oh, that we could live that way!

So how do we make an ordinary Friday extraordinary?  Start by going to Mass.  Celebrate the love of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Then, make a point or an appointment to go to confession.  I often found this the most difficult part of the devotion to keep, but once I decided to commit myself to making the devotion, it became easier – kind of like how it’s easier to make a sacrifice during Lent than at other times during the year. 

Saint Claude de la Colombiere, her spiritual director, wrote of his direction to St. Margaret Mary.  It’s a deep & moving read which I highly recommend.  Check it out here.

How about doing some crafts with the kids today?  I spent some time looking around for interesting craft ideas to help celebrate the Sacred Heart.  Take a peek at a terrific blog I ran across which has fun activities for kids of different ages.   At “Pondered in my Heart” I found two crafts:  one fairly easy for youngers & middles, & the other a bit challenging for younger kids, but perfect for older kids.

So today, and on every First Friday, go to Mass & confession (or schedule it within 8 days).  Bring your kids.  Bring your spouse.  Bring a co-worked.  And spend some time meditating on the mercy of God.  It is one of His greatest gifts. 

Prayers dedicated to the Sacred Heart:  

Novena to the Sacred Heart

Prayer to the wounded heart of Jesus 

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart 

The Chaplet of the Sacred Heart  (prayed on ordinary rosary beads.)

If you’re interested in learning more about St. Margaret Mary, check out her autobiography.

Please continue to keep Barbara & her family in your prayers.  Her oldest daughter is still in the hospital, & Barb is still with her. 

 “Sacred Heart of Jesus, pour out your love on Barbara & her family, especially on her oldest daughter.  Touch all the parts in her that need healing & peace.  Give courage, strength and fortitudude to all.  Sustain her husband and children at home with your mercy.  Above all, let each one of them know your love & feel your presence this day.  In Jesus name, Amen.”

God bless, Anne

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  1. [...] the Church celebrates First Friday, a day set aside to honor the Most merciful and Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I find my heart heavy [...]


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