Day one: Jesus is our blessing
Friday, Sept. 1, 2023
21st week in Ordinary Time
First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
“When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them” (Mt 5:1-2).
In preparation for the fruitful experience of the beatification of the Ulma family on Sept. 10, for the nine consecutive days of the novena we will reflect on their path to the glory of heaven. For all Christians, this is the path of the eight beatitudes delivered by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:3-12). However, the martyrs of Markowa walked it to a heroic degree, which will be acknowledged by their solemn beatification. Thus, they will become genuine and living role models in the church.
During the novena, we will get to know this model and pray for the graces we need, so that we too, following in the footsteps of the Ulma family, may persevere on our way to holiness.
We begin this novena on the first Friday of the month, gathering at the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to renew and strengthen our relationship with our only Teacher and Lord through First Friday Confession and Holy Communion. This is because on our own, we are unable to advance on the path to holiness and towards full happiness in the glory of heaven. It is only in Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, that we are granted access to the fullness of all God’s blessing. In him, as St. Paul indicates, “we do not lack any gift of grace” (1 Cor 1:7).
On the first day of the novena, let us desire especially the gift of God’s life and holiness. Let us open our minds and hearts to it, humbly acknowledging our weaknesses, sins and negligence at the beginning of holy Mass, so that we may obtain the salvation and sanctification we need from Jesus’ sacrifice.
– Acknowledging in faith the presence of Jesus among us in the Blessed Sacrament, let us bless him and give thanks that in him and through him, like the Ulmas, we can experience God’s blessing, and that by the power of his Spirit we can grow in holiness and Christian perfection, overcoming the evil and sin that threaten us.
– As we pay homage to the Heart of Jesus, let us apologize to God for our coldness, ingratitude and forgetfulness. Let us thank God for all who worship the Heart of Jesus, especially the martyrs from Markowa, whom the church offers us as models to follow.
– As a sign of reparation for our transgressions and gratitude for the graces received, let us pledge entirely to Christ and do everything out of love for him. Let us renounce everything particularly offensive to his Sacred Heart.
Images credit: From the archive of Mateusz Szptyma. All rights reserved.
Learn More About the Ulma Family
Under the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, Jews were indiscriminately arrested, imprisoned, and killed. Christians who helped them hide or escape placed themselves in the same peril. Josef and Wiktoria Ulma, who, guided by the parable of the Good Samaritan, which was underlined in red ink in the family Bible, sheltered a Jewish family in their village of Markowa. As a result, in 1944, Josef, Wiktoria, and their seven small children – one not yet born – were murdered by the Nazis. This biography tells the story of the heroic virtue and sacrifice that lead to their beatification.