March 2, 2019 – “…My children, this is why I am calling you to reflect on yourselves, starting out from my Son, that you look to Him with the heart and that you may see with the heart where you are and where your life is going…”
Our Lady is calling us to direct our sights inward rather than all the noise and distractions of the world, which usually grabs our attention. She couldn’t have picked a better time to say this since the Church is in Lent; a season where, among other pious and spiritually purifying practices, we are called to deep self-reflection. A season where the Christian stops and asks himself, “Where am I, and where is my life going?”
Are we closer to or farther from Jesus? Have we been following Him and His teachings? Do we recognize our sins and weaknesses? Have we been negatively influenced by things contrary to His will? Do we recognize how much we need His mercy and love in our lives? Do we make adequate time for Him in our lives?
It’s questions like these and more we contemplate within us when we stop, tap into the inner depths of silence, meeting God, and reflect on our souls. So much of our time and efforts are focused outward, we easily forget those needed moments to converse with God through prayer, or attend Holy Mass, and allowing the spirit to be nourished by the Holy Spirit. Without Jesus, it’s going to be impossible to overcome the temptations and toils that come our way.
I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13]
This is why self-reflection is needed, in and out of season. A great place to do that is during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where Jesus, in the Eucharist, is present before us, and in the peaceful silence of the church we open our hearts to Him and share with Him everything; our sorrows, joys, failures, worries, hopes, dreams, and wounds. In the silence of our hearts, Jesus speaks to us, and pours out His healing grace.
There’s an excellent book by Father Slavko Barbaric called, Adore My Son With Your Heart. It’s a collection of prayers and meditations from Fr. Slavko for use during Adoration hours. It’s a beautiful book, and I definitely recommend if in need of something to accompany you in prayer during Adoration, or even for private meditation and prayer at home. It’s also a great book to use if perhaps viewing a Perpetual Adoration via a parish webcam.
I’d like to share one of his meditation/prayers from this book today to help us begin reflecting, as Our Lady asks, and to contemplate Jesus and our striving to follow His path earnestly.
Jesus, The First Place In My Heart Belongs To You
1) Jesus, I believe that You are present here.
– Increase my faith! (Repeat this invocation quietly within yourself)
2) Jesus, I love You. You alone are love, real and eternal love—the Father’s eternal love towards us.
– Jesus, set my love aflame! (Repeat this invocation quietly within yourself)
3) Jesus, You are present here in the Eucharist to Become God with me and for me. You remain in this bread of the Eucharist, so that You can be my food and my life. Yours is a perceptive love, unparalleled in its simplicity. You have wrapped Yourself up in celestial silence and, in this way, You offer me only Yourself. Than You, Jesus, that You are here with me. Thank You, Jesus, that You desire that I be here with You.
– Jesus, awaken in me the desire to be with You! (Repeat this invocation quietly within yourself)
4) Jesus, with a heart now full of desire for You, I invite You to come into my heart, into my soul, into my life, into my past and into my present! Come and take first place in my heart. From now on, it belongs only to You. Just as You give all of Yourself and open Yourself up to me wholeheartedly without ever holding anything back, in the same way, I give my heart to You just as it is now. You desire that my heart be completely clean, good, free, merciful, joyful, full of love, patience and generosity. You wish my heart to become like Yours. Jesus, I too desire this:
– Come, Jesus, and make my heart like Yours! (Repeat this invocation quietly within yourself)
5) My Jesus, as I am praying that You make my heart like Yours and that You take the first place in my life. I beg You to illuminate me with Your Holy Spirit, so that I can recognize all within me that is not the Father’s will and which keeps me from You. I present to You my past and my present, all that I feel and experience, anything that allows negative traces and effects to remain within me. I present to You all my problems and illnesses, everything in me that resists God’s will. I offer You anything that creates insubordination or disobedience to God’s Word, anything that hinders the realizing of that Word.
– Jesus, receive my prayer! (Repeat this invocation quietly within yourself)
6) Thank You, Jesus, that You have listened to me. I know that You know everything about me, but it helps me to tell You everything. Jesus, speak now to my heart! I wish to listen to You. Let my heart be ready, let it rejoice in Your Word, let it understand.
“…no one can be the slave of two masters. He will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave of both God and money. That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat and what you are to wear. Surely life is more than food and the body more than clothing! So do not worry, do not say: ‘What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?’ Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on His kingdom first and on His saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well.” (Mt 6:24-25, 31-33)
(Remain in silence and let the Word of Life echo within you)
7) Jesus, thank You for Your Word! May it resonate within me and chase away my doubts, all my lack of faith, all my anxieties and worries, and may I, above all, be enthusiastic about searching for Your reign. May I always believe that I can abandon everything to my Father Who loves me. Liberate me from all that is weighing me down and make me completely Yours! I believe that You can do this. Our times are immersed in atheism that has its own worries, weights and fears. Jesus, thank You for having sent Mary, our Mother, teacher and Queen of Peace. Already when She first appeared, She said: “Dear children, I have come to tell you that God exists!”
Thank You, Jesus, for allowing Her to come and invite me so often that I open myself, that I abandon myself, that I give You the first place in my life! She advised me to meditate upon Your Word that I have just heard once a week.
– Jesus, I give You my whole self—body, spirit, and soul! (Repeat this prayer quietly within yourself)
8) Jesus, I adore Your now with Mary. I wish to listen to Your word and to follow it with Her. In Her life, You always had the first place. She gave You Her heart when She said: “Here I am Lord, be it done unto me according to Your will.”
– Lord, let it also be done unto me according to Your will! (Repeat this invocation quietly within yourself)
9) Jesus, You came for the good of all and, for this reason, I wish to pray, not only for myself, but for my family, my parents, brothers, sisters, friends, community and for the whole world.
(Remain in silence, and speak to Jesus of those who are foremost in your heart)
Many in the world call themselves Christians, but You are distant from them because their hearts and souls are occupied by the things of the world. I wish to pray for all Christians.
(Remain in silence…)
Many do not know You, even though You came for everyone. The hearts of many are empty. They follow false gods, destroying the lives of others as well as their own. I want to pray now, together with Mary and with all who believe in You, for the grace of faith for them.
(Remain in silence…)
Many have given themselves over to evil and follow its paths, doing evil to themselves and to others. Be merciful to them, Jesus, and give them back the freedom which You impart when You are in the heart of man.
(Remain in silence…)
Send Your Spirit and illuminate the hearts that are clouded by the darkness of doubt and the slavery of sin so that they may enter into the freedom of the children of God!
(Remain in silence…)
10) Blessing (If a priest leads Adoration, he can raise the Blessed Sacrament and pray a blessing. If praying alone, then, with faith, ask for blessing and healing.)
Jesus, heal my faith and trust in You, prevent all mistrust, fear and anxiety. Heal my conscience and my subconscious so that I may increasingly live in Your presence! Heal my love and my hope! Jesus, I beg You with the faith of Your Church, heal the sick and disabled! May all now begin to hope in Your blessing.
Drive Satan far from us and restrain him in his actions. Bless me, my family, my people and the whole world with peace! Send Your Spirit and renew the face of the earth. Bless and defend us, Your Who live and reign world without end! Amen.
(Fr. Slavko Barbaric, Adore My Son With Your Heart)