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That We May Know We Are Loved

  • POPE PIUS XI

Our most merciful Redeemer, after he had wrought salvation for mankind on the tree of the cross and before he ascended from this world to the Father... 


heartobrien... to console them in their anxiety: And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. These words are a cause of all hope and security, and they bring us ready succour. As in the beginning this divine promise lifted up the despondent spirit of the apostles and enkindled and inflamed them so that they might cast the seeds of the Gospel throughout the whole world, so ever since it has strengthened the Church unto her victory over the gates of hell. In truth our Lord Jesus Christ has been with his Church in every age.

Among the many proofs of the boundless benignity of our Redeemer there is one that stands out conspicuously, namely the fact that when the charity of Christian people was growing cold, divine charity itself was set forth to be honoured by a special worship, and the riches of its bounty was made widely manifest by that form of devotion wherein worship is given to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden (Col 2:3). For as in olden time, when mankind came forth from Noah’s ark, God set his bow in the clouds, shining as the sign of a friendly covenant, so [when it was said] that God was not to be loved as a father but rather to be feared as an implacable judge, then the most benign Jesus showed his own most Sacred Heart to the nations lifted up as a standard of peace and charity.

Pope Leo XIII, admiring the timely opportuneness of devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, said very aptly, "When in the days near her origin the Church was oppressed under the yoke of the Caesars, the cross shown on high to the youthful emperor was at once an omen and a cause of the victory that speedily followed. And here today another most auspicious and divine sign is offered to our sight, namely the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a cross set above it shining with most resplendent brightness in the midst of flames. Herein must all hopes be set, from hence must the salvation of men be sought and expected." And rightly indeed is that said. For is not the sum of all religion and therefore the pattern of a more perfect life contained in that most auspicious sign and in the form of piety that follows from it, inasmuch as it more readily leads the minds of men to an intimate knowledge of Christ our Lord, and more efficaciously moves their hearts to love him more vehemently and to imitate him more closely.

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Acknowledgement

Pope Pius XI.  "That We May Know We Are Loved."From the encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor. (May 8, 1928)

Used with permission of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The Author

Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, who became Pius XI, was born at Desio near Milan, Italy, on May 31, 1857. Ordained a priest in 1879, and having already acquired a name as a brilliant scholar, he devoted most of the subsequent 43 years to work as a Church librarian. He was known as a Latin paleographer and developed new library classification systems. Already known to Benedict XV as a man of exceptional qualities, he was selected by Benedict for diplomatic service and sent as apostolic visitor in 1918 to Poland. The following year he became apostolic nuncio in Poland. He returned to Italy in 1921 and became cardinal archbishop of Milan. He was elected pope on Feb. 6, 1922. Although he used every resource of the Vatican, he was unable to prevent the final union of wills between Hitler and Mussolini. He died on Feb. 10, 1939.

Copyright © 1928 Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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