The Sacred Heart of Jesus, the very Life and Center of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The cry of the poor finds a deep echo in the Apostle’s heart. She is called to labor diligently and to serve all, especially the poor and the marginalized, with generosity.
For the Apostle, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is, as Clelia Merloni, Foundress of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, desired, “the first and most beloved of devotions.” It is at the center of her spiritual, ascetical and apostolic life...
The charism of Clelia Merloni had its origin in the very heart of the Church which is the Heart of Christ pierced on the Cross for the redemption of the world (Jn 9:34). Christ, with his pierced heart as sign of death and resurrection, is alive and present among us in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
“True devotion to the Sacred Heart,” writes Clelia, “manifests itself, and is contained, in devotion to the Holy Eucharist because it is in the consecrated Host that the Heart of Jesus, living and true, beats with love for His creatures and invites them to find in Him a fountain of life and happiness.” “Let us spend the most beautiful moments of our life in His living Presence where the fullness of joy will be ours,” she adds.
Touched by and responding to the devotion of the Sacred Heart unfolding in the Church of her time, Clelia made Jesus the King and Center of her love.
Jesus gave her such knowledge of himself that He completely captivated her and became the secret source of all her choices. Her own life was so profoundly touched by that experience of the Heart of Christ that she offered herself totally to Him, loving Him and sharing with Him the movements of His own love.
The apostle Clelia, like the first Apostles, wanted to express in her own life and in the life of the Church, that arduous faith and love which she learned from Jesus and which drew her to love Him even to the cross. This faith and love were later to be expressed in diverse forms of charity and in the apostolate of word and of action.
In a world torn by hatred for God and his Church, a world which led people toward false images of salvation, Mother Clelia pointed to the Heart of Christ “which has so loved humankind…” as the safe port, the fulfillment of all expectations, the fountain of vitality and of communion for all. She wanted this assurance to be expressed through the unconditional love which her daughters were to have for all people. By the witness of their lives, they would be able to give a particularly human face to the love of God.
Clelia urges the Apostle to be before she does, to adore before she witnesses, and to witness with the power of Jesus present within her who makes himself light, love, conviction, and redemption.
The Apostle’s reparative offering is actualized above all in fidelity to her daily duties where humble service, active charity, patience, and the endurance of physical and moral suffering become a sacrifice of love and expiation.
By the holiness of her life, she wants to awaken in hearts the desire for God, to manifest through the charity that animates her the Heart of goodness, of mercy, of compassion which the Father has for all people so that they come to know that He is very near to them. In this way the reparative person reveals, with her life, the life of Christ and presents to the world, in the Heart of Jesus, the merciful love of the Father.
By doing this the Apostle proclaims the love of the Heart of Jesus: reaching out to those in need; passing on the light of faith, and building the Kingdom of God.