The obstacles to the devotion to the Sacred Heart
There are four obstacles to our advancement in true devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus
First, Tepidly – a most deplorable evil. The tepid soul does nothing which she can with impunity omit. She is without fervor, and charity is a burden to herself; and so far from advancing in virtue, recedes and falls back. This state is so much the worse, as it is believed less dangerous. Not falling into great sins, persons lull themselves into a false security, forgetting what our Lord says in the Apocalypse, “Because you are neither hot nor cold, I will begin to vomit you out of my mouth.” You do not deserve to live in me; you shall have no access to my heart, because you repay my tenderness with the most criminal indifference. Confessions without amendment, communions with out proﬁt, are some of the ordinary marks and fruits of this unhappy tepidity. The second obstacle is self-love. The practice of the entire gospel is comprised in this short sentence of Jesus Christ: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. But few persons, nevertheless, seriously think of it. They love and relish only those virtues which agree with their inclination and humor; and a heart so disposed, can never be united to the sacred heart of Jesus. The third obstacle is some favorite passion which one is unwilling to sacriﬁce. In vain would a person overcome all the others; if but one remain of this nature, there can be no union of hearts. Examine what passion it is you spare, and sacriﬁce it generously to Jesus; you may be certain that it will cost you less to sacriﬁce than to satisfy it. The fourth obstacle is secret pride. One surmounts and weakens all other vices by the practice of virtue, whereas that is the very means by which this vice is fortiﬁed. There is no vice which arrests the progress of so many in the way of piety; not one which has plunge such numbers into tepidity, and even into criminal excesses. It is this spirit that begets the immoderate desire of appearing, and of succeeding in all that one undertakes; it is it which creates that sadness and discouragement which arise after ill success, as well as the vain joy which one feels at receiving honor and applause. Many are mortiﬁed, obliging, charitable, obedient, humble, but desire for the ediﬁcation of their neighbor, they say—to have it known. Others are punctilious, full of chagrin, bitterness, at the success of their neighbors; which success they often try to lessen. More are full of sadness and discouragement at relapsing into a fault, solely because they presumed too much on their own strength, and that this fault is to them a source of humiliation. A last description of persons pass for spiritual, who are only conducted by worldly prudence, and who, under an appearance of virtue, hide real passions to the hour of death. When they are supposed to be laden with spiritual treasures by those about them, they are found empty of good works; self-love, ambition, secret pride, having destroyed or corrupted all their actions. This is the worm which consumes the sap of the stoutest trees, the leaven which corrupts the entire mass.
Say thrice: Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. lmmaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.