First Friday of Lent

I heard a frightful amount of banging about outside my cell during the work period this morning. “The postulants are moving furniture again,” I thought, “or doing some serious housecleaning.” When I left my cell for Sext what did I see in our corridor? An immense 19th century statue of the Sacred Heart!
The statue was retrieved from a storage room where it shared space with enormous portaits of dead abbots. (That often happens in monasteries. Portraits of long dead abbots and other things are put in storage for years, sometimes for generations, and then reappear. At the same time other things disappear.)
I am pleased to be living now in the corridoio del Sacro Cuore: a suitable surprise on this First Friday of Lent.
I did not forget about the birthday of the Venerable John Henry Newman on Wednesday of this week. I just didn’t have time to post anything about it. Cardinal Newman was born on February 21, 1801.
As I have mentioned before on Vultus Christi, Newman, in 1847, lived here at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in the rooms just above me, and descended into the basilica by the very staircase I now use several times a day. Given the arrival of the Sacred Heart on our corridor, I think it fitting to present Newman’s exquisite prayer to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus:
O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus,
Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still.
Now as then Thou savest,
Desiderio desideravi—”With desire I have desired.”
I worship Thee then with all my best love and awe,
with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will.
O my God, when Thou dost condescend to suffer me to receive Thee,
to eat and drink Thee,
and Thou for a while takest up Thy abode within me,
O make my heart beat with Thy Heart.
Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual,
all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity,
of all disorder, of all deadness.
So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day
nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it,
but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace.

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