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Novena to the Sacred Heart

[Translated from the original Spanish]

Rome, May 28, 2015

To the members of Regnum Christi

Dear friends in Christ,

A few days from now, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, we will begin a special time of grace to thank God for 75 years of life as a spiritual family. I pray that this jubilee, which I announced in a letter on March 12th, may be a time to grow in communion as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same Father. Let us ask the Lord of history to help us be docile instruments, to open our hearts to hear the words of the Holy Spirit.

On January 3, 1941, the first apostolic school of the Legion of Christ was founded, at that time as an extension of the seminary of Cuernavaca. This apparently insignificant action was the first in the series of events in which Regnum Christi – today a living member in the body of the Church – gradually took shape. Our history began there. In this history we recognize, on the one hand, God’s provident and mysterious love, and, on the other, our short-comings and sins. Our Lord’s mercy shines especially brightly in this contrast of light and darkness, of joys and sorrows. He rejoices in choosing what is small and insignificant in the eyes of the world to carry out his plan of salvation.

With the decision to begin this jubilee on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, a feast that means so much to all of us, I hope to give this celebration a special sense of gratitude to our Lord, of atonement for our short-comings and sins, and of love for others, which finds expression in communion and in carrying out works of mercy. I would like all the members of Regnum Christi – lay members, consecrated lay women, consecrated lay men, diocesan priests, and Legionaries of Christ – to celebrate these 75 years of God’s faithfulness and of the Church’s motherly care towards us. This celebration will be more authentic if we seek, in prayer and intimacy with Christ, to deepen our understanding of this gift that God has given us for the Church and to live it with an ever-growing fidelity.

I believe that it was a welcome surprise for all of us that, precisely one day after the announcement of the jubilee for our 75th anniversary, the Holy Father announced his intention to convoke a jubilee year dedicated to mercy. A large part of our jubilee year will coincide with this time of grace for the whole Church. I invite one and all to commit personally to live out the desire that Pope Francis expresses in his bull Misericordiae Vultus:

“How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!” (n. 5)

Pope Francis links the mission of announcing the Kingdom with the responsibility to live out mercy concretely in one’s own life. Now that we are beginning our jubilee year, I invite one and all to ask for magnanimous hearts, hearts full of mercy and ready for the mission. Let us ask for the grace of being credible messengers of mercy, of the mercy that Regnum Christi has received in a very particular way. As I said on March 12th, we should all seek to participate in “evangelization missions, catechesis in parishes or schools, or some other apostolate”, including the apostolate of prayer. The Holy Father is asking us to reach out, to move beyond our comfort zones, offering ourselves to others as “balm of mercy […] a sign [of] the Kingdom of God.” May we be an evangelizing movement, a movement that goes out, that allows itself to be penetrated by Christ’s love for a humanity that so often seems like sheep in need of a shepherd. May we carry out Christ’s evangelical mandate: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel!” (Mk 16:15).

In my letter of March 12th, I announced that the jubilee of Regnum Christi would conclude on the Solemnity of Pentecost, 2016. Now that the Pope has convoked the jubilee of mercy, “the beating heart of the Gospel” (Misericordiae Vultus, 12), it seemed fitting to change the closing date of our jubilee year to the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, 2016. Thus, I hope to underline the importance that God’s mercy has had in our family history, as well as the fact that Jesus Christ is the center of our lives, hopes and dreams. His Kingdom is the ideal that inspires our apostolate.

With this letter, I am sending you a novena in preparation for the upcoming Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Hopefully, praying it in our families, communities and sections will help us dispose our hearts to receive God’s grace and mercy during this year.

With an assurance of a place in my prayers,

Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C.


Novena to the Sacred Heart (english)