What is Reparation?
Is it saying a lot of prayers? Is it something that the veil-wearing, prayer-muttering little old ladies at your parish do? Is it just for fanatics? Does it even matter?
Reparation means to make amends, to try to fix something after the fact…For example, apologizing and washing the dishes to make up for what I did to my mom. In relation to God, it means making up for my failure to love (a.k.a. sin) by loving even more. Now obviously there is the normal reparation for our own sins—we did it and we confess our sins, do penance, pray and we change our ways. That makes sense. But there is more to reparation than just making up for what I did wrong.
Let’s break it down. We are required to make reparation to God for two reasons: Justice and Love. We do it out of justice in order to make up for our offenses against God and out of love in order to console Jesus and suffer with him (we are members in His Mystical Body…so the Body also suffer what the Head suffers).
Reparation has several effects: it “washes away faults, perfects [our union with God] by participating in the sufferings of Christ, and consummate[s] it by offering victims for the brethren.” (Pope Pius XI)
But mostly, it is all part of one big reality—Jesus’s Passion and Death. If you remember from the Gospel (Lk 22), in the Agony in the Garden, Jesus was sorrowful unto death. He saw all the sins of all generations and accepted them as his own, so that He could pay the price for them. And if you also remember, an angel came from heaven to console him. He saw the sins from all times and the angel consoled him with our sacrifices and love from all times. “And so even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men.” (Pope Pius XI)
There are so many offenses against God besides our own. Those of us who know better and care, must console him! This is Pope Pius XI’s conclusion about it all: "For indeed if any one will lovingly dwell on those things of which we have been speaking, and will have them deeply fixed in his mind, it cannot be but that he shrink with horror from all sin as from the greatest evil, and more than this he will yield himself wholly to the will of God, and will strive to repair the injured honor of the Divine Majesty by constantly praying, by voluntary mortifications, by patiently bearing the afflictions that befall him, and, lastly, by spending his whole life in this exercise of expiation.”
Pope Pius XI also speaks about how if we were to do this, not only would be pay for our own and others’ sins and console Jesus…we would also win over many hardened hearts to the life of Grace. He said it would benefit the whole Church and all of society because of the good it would sow in men’s hearts.
When Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, one of the things that he specifically mentioned as offending him, were the many offenses against Him in the Eucharist, which makes total sense. Obviously it hurts when the gift of Total Love is despised. And he specifically asked for us to console with our love, with our sacrifices and prayer. Here are His own words: “I feel this more than all that I suffered during My Passion. If only they would make Me some return for My Love, I should think but little of all I have done for them and would wish, were it possible, to suffer still more. But the sole return they make for all My eagerness to do them good is to reject Me and treat Me with coldness. Do you at least console Me by supplying for their ingratitude, as far as you are able.”
A few ways to make reparation, either alone or with a group:
-Eucharist Holy Hour
-Mass and Communion
-Rosary/Divine Mercy Chaplet
Specific Prayers of Reparation:
The Angel who appeared at Fatima taught the children this prayer of reparation:
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly. I offer you the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. Through the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.
Pope Pius XI wrote a prayer of Reparation (to be prayed especially on the Feast of the Sacred Heart).
O sweetest Jesus, whose overflowing charity towards men is most ungratefully repaid by such great forgetfulness, neglect and contempt, see, prostrate before Thy altars, we strive by special honor to make amends for the wicked coldness of men and the contumely with which Thy most loving Heart is everywhere treated. At the same time, mindful of the fact that we too have sometimes not been free from unworthiness, and moved therefore with most vehement sorrow, in the first place we implore Thy mercy on us, being prepared by voluntary expiation to make amends for the sins we have ourselves committed, and also for the sins of those who wander far from the way of salvation, whether because, being obstinate in their unbelief, they refuse to follow Thee as their shepherd and leader, or because, spurning the promises of their Baptism, they have cast off the most sweet yoke of Thy law. We now endeavor to expiate all these lamentable crimes together, and it is also our purpose to make amends for each one of them severally: for the want of modesty in life and dress, for impurities, for so many snares set for the minds of the innocent, for the violation of feast days, for the horrid blasphemies against Thee and Thy saints, for the insults offered to Thy Vicar and to the priestly order, for the neglect of the Sacrament of Divine love or its profanation by horrible sacrileges, and lastly for the public sins of nations which resist the rights and the teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast instituted. Would that we could wash away these crimes with our own blood! And now, to make amends for the outrage offered to the Divine honor, we offer to Thee the same satisfaction which Thou didst once offer to Thy Father on the Cross and which Thou dost continually renew on our altars, we offer this conjoined with the expiations of the Virgin Mother and of all the Saints, and of all pious Christians, promising from our heart that so far as in us lies, with the help of Thy grace, we will make amends for our own past sins, and for the sins of others, and for the neglect of Thy boundless love, by firm faith, by a pure way of life, and by a perfect observance of the Gospel law, especially that of charity; we will also strive with all our strength to prevent injuries being offered to Thee, and gather as many as we can to become Thy followers. Receive, we beseech Thee, O most benign Jesus, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Reparatress, the voluntary homage of this expiation, and vouchsafe, by that great gift of final perseverance, to keep us most faithful until death in our duty and in Thy service, so that at length we may all come to that fatherland, where Thou with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.