Fr. Debrosse, S.J. and the Confraternity of the Holy Hour
April 14, 2009 5 Comments
The Holy Hour devotion can be traced back to Christ Himself. In His apparition in 1674, commonly called “the third great revelation,” He asked St. Margaret Mary to prostrate herself on the ground between the hours of 11:00 and 12:00 on the night of Thursday, to share the agony He suffered in the Garden of Olives, to assuage the wrath of God and beg mercy for sinners. He bade her also to honor and relieve the heaviness of heart He experinced, the weariness He felt when His disciples could not watch one hour with Him.
Among the devotions to the Sacred Heart, the Holy Hour has always been held in high esteem. In his Encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI explicitly praised and recommended it:
12. And truly the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and nothing is more in keeping with the origin, the character, the power, and the distinctive practices of this form of devotion, as appears from the record of history and custom, as well as from the sacred liturgy and the acts of the Sovereign Pontiffs. For when Christ manifested Himself to Margaret Mary, and declared to her the infinitude of His love, at the same time, in the manner of a mourner, He complained that so many and such great injuries were done to Him by ungrateful men–and we would that these words in which He made this complaint were fixed in the minds of the faithful, and were never blotted out by oblivion: “Behold this Heart”–He said–“which has loved men so much and has loaded them with all benefits, and for this boundless love has had no return but neglect, and contumely, and this often from those who were bound by a debt and duty of a more special love.” In order that these faults might be washed away, He then recommended several things to be done, and in particular the following as most pleasing to Himself, namely that men should approach the Altar with this purpose of expiating sin, making what is called a Communion of Reparation,–and that they should likewise make expiatory supplications and prayers, prolonged for a whole hour,–which is rightly called the “Holy Hour.” These pious exercises have been approved by the Church and have also been enriched with copious indulgences.
In the year 1829, at Paray-le-monial, Father Debrosse, S.J., founded the Confraternity of the Holy Hour, which was repeatedly enriched with indulgences by the Popes, and which was raised to the rank of Archconfraternity by Leo XIII. An agreement exists between this Confraternity and the Apostleship of Prayer, by virtue of which all members of the Apostleship of Prayer who make the Holy Hour enjoy the same privileges as the members of the Confraternity.
Source: Foreword to a Holy Hour booklet. I added a quote from Miserentissimus Redemptor.