Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blessed Bernardo Francisco De Hoyos, S.J. And "The Great Promise" Of The Sacred Heart

Blessed Bernardo Francisco De Hoyos, S.J.
In September 1731 Bernardo was sent to the College of St Ambrose in Valladolid to begin his course in theology. Soon after his arrival he visited the chapel. At the end of April 1733, Bernardo received a letter from his friend, Fr Augustine Cadaveraz in Bilbao, requesting him to translate from Latin the chapter relating the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi in Fr Joseph de Gallifet’s book On Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1726).3 On 3 May, Bernardo took the book from the house library to his room and immediately began to read it. It threw open to Bernardo, for the first time, the unexplored vistas of the Sacred Heart. For all his earlier visions of the Sacred Heart, it was only now that he became completely aware of the Divine Heart. He felt so enthused that he knelt before the Blessed Sacrament and offered to work at diffusing this devotion. For two days, the idea that this offering was more binding than he had first thought grew and grew. The third day, again before the Blessed Sacrament, the Saviour confided that He had picked him to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart.
On 4 May 1733 Bernardo received this decisive mission from Jesus: “I wish for you to spread the Devotion to My Sacred Heart throughout all of Spain.” From then on, Bernardo did not live for anything else. On 14 May he obtained what is known as the “Great Promise” from the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “This will always be my place of rest. I will make my home here – the place where I have desired and chosen to be. I will reign in Spain with more veneration than in other places.” 
Bernardo connsecrated himself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 12 June 1733, using the same formula written by St Claude La Columbière fifty years earlier. The College of St Ambrose, now a Basilica was established as the National Shrine of the Great Promise in 1941.
“Bernardo was the first among Spanish Jesuits to grasp intuitively the transcendent nature of the cult of the Sacred Heart as means of personal sanctification and effective apostolic tool. For him the cult of the Sacred Heart is in substance the cult of the love of Jesus, Incarnate Word, Redeemer, which reveals in itself the love of the Most Holy Trinity loving us with a heart of flesh in virtue of the hypostatic union, and presenting the heart as a symbol of this love to animate us to imitate him and love him in return.” 
On the occasion of the beatification, Fr Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus noted: "Bernardo de Hoyos's passion for the Heart of Jesus faithfully corresponds to the devotion that St Ignatius felt for Jesus poor and humble, before whom he asks that our affections be moved in order to accompany Him in each step of His life: ‘As companions with him on mission, his way is our way, so that in what we do in the world there must always be a transparency to God’ (GC35, D2, nn 14, 10).” Bernardo’s last words before he died were: "Oh, how good it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus!" 
Link (here) to the full biography of Blessed Bernardo Francisco De Hoya, S.J.

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