“Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29).
The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Feast of the Sacred Heart is a movable feast, always falling 19 days after Pentecost. This year, it falls on June 24th.
This primer is intended to help you understand and make the most out of this amazing devotion to the most lovable and loving heart in the universe and beyond!
“The heart has always been seen as the ‘center’ or essence a person (‘the heart of the matter,’ ‘you are my heart,’ ‘take it to heart,’ etc.) and the wellspring of our emotional lives and love (‘you break my heart,’ ‘my heart sings,’ etc.). Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to Jesus Christ Himself, but in the particular ways of meditating on his interior life and on His threefold love —His divine love, His burning love that fed His human will, and His sensible love that affects His interior life.
—Pope Pius XII, from his 1956 encyclical, Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart).
“Devotion to the Heart of Christ has been present in the Church from the beginning, when John the Evangelist reclined next to the Heart of Jesus at the Last Supper and when the Heart of Christ was pierced by the soldier’s lance and gave forth blood and water. The Church was born from this saving stream gushing from the Heart of Christ and became the means by which His reconciliation is made present.
“Christ yearns to reconcile all men to His Sacred Heart and He established the Church to make this possible; devotion to the Sacred Heart is not a tangential devotion but one which is essential since all of us need the reconciliation offered to us by Christ.”
Kathy Schiffer does a great job summarizing the history of this devotion in her National Catholic Register blog, “Where Did Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Come From?" She says:
“Devotion to the wounded heart of Jesus has its origins in the eleventh century, when pious Christians meditated on the Five Wounds of Christ. There grew up among the faithful prayers to the Sacred Heart, prayers to the Shoulder Wound of Christ—private devotions which helped Christians to focus on the passion and death of Christ, and thus to grow in love for our Savior who had suffered and died for us.” [see the Rhythmical Prayer to the Sacred Members of Jesus Hanging Upon the Cross: To The Sacred Heart ascribed to St. Bernard below in the Prayers section]
In the 14thcentury, St Gertrude the Great received an apparition of Jesus on the feast of St John the Evangelist. Jesus allowed St Gertrude to rest her head near the wound in his side—and she heard His Sacred Heart beat. She later asked St John why he never said anything about hearing that in his Gospel. The saint told her that information was to be reserved for when man’s love for God became so cold, it needed rekindling.
In 1670, a French priest, Fr. Jean Eudes, celebrated the first Feast of the Sacred Heart.
“The Sacred Heart of Jesus, whether considered in His Divinity or in His humanity, is more ardently enkindled with love for His Father, loving Him infinitely more at any given moment, than all the hearts of angels and saints can love him throughout all eternity.”
—St John Eudes
I cannot improve on the words of a saint and of Jesus Christ Himself. Therefore, I will let the diary of St Marguerite-Marie Alacoque (her non-Anglicized name) tell the story:
“It was to St. Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, a humble nun of the Order of the Visitation of Our Lady that Our Lord chose to reveal to the world His Sacred Heart, thus opening a New Era of Grace and Mercy in the history of the Church and the world. These private revelations took place during the years 1673-1675, and are drawn from the diary of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the witness of her fellow sisters, and that of her spiritual director, St. Claude de La Colombiere.”
On December 27th, 1673, at Paray-le-Monial, France, Visitation Sister Marquerite-Marie Alacoque was praying. She described what happened:
“I was praying before the Blessed Sacrament when I felt myself wholly penetrated with that Divine Presence, but to such a degree that I lost all thought of myself and the place where I was, and abandoned myself to this Divine Spirit, yielding up my heart to the power of His love. He made me repose for a long time upon His Sacred Breast, where He disclosed to me the marvels of His Love and the inexplicable secrets of His Sacred Heart, which so far He had concealed from me. Then it was that, for the first time, He opened to me His Divine Heart in a manner so real and sensible as to be beyond all doubt, by reason of the effects which this favor produced in me, fearful, as I always am, of deceiving myself in anything that I say of what passes in time. It seems to me that this is what took place:”
Jesus said to her:
“My Divine Heart is so inflamed with love for men, and for you in particular that, being unable any longer to contain within Itself the flames of Its burning love, It needs to spread them abroad through you, and manifest Itself to them (mankind) in order to enrich them with the precious graces of sanctification and salvation necessary to withdraw them from the abyss of perdition. I have chosen you as an abyss of unworthiness and ignorance for the accomplishment of this great design, in order that everything may be done by Me.”
“After this He asked me for my heart, which I begged Him to take. He did so and placed it in His own Adorable Heart where He showed it to me as a little atom which was being consumed in this great furnace, and withdrawing it thence as a burning flame in the form of a heart, He restored it to the place whence He had taken it saying to me:”
“My well-beloved, I give you a precious token of My love, having enclosed within your side a little spark of its glowing flames, that it may serve you for a heart and consume you to the last moment of your life; its ardor will never be exhausted, and you will be able to find some slight relief only by bleeding. Even this remedy I shall so mark with My Cross, that it will bring you more humiliation and suffering than alleviation. Therefore, I will that you ask for it with simplicity, both that you may practice what is ordered you and also to give you the consolation of shedding your blood on the cross of humiliations. As a proof that the great favor I have done to you is not imagination, and that it is the foundation of all those which I intend further to confer upon you, although I have closed the wound in your side, the pain will always remain. If before, you have taken only the name of My slave, I now give you that of the beloved disciple of My Sacred Heart.’
“After such a signal favor which lasted for a long time, during which I knew not whether I was in heaven or on earth, I remained for several days, as it were, on fire and inebriated (with divine love) and so completely out of myself, that I had to do myself violence in order to utter a single word. The effort I had to make in order to join in recreation or to take food was so great that it was all I could do to overcome myself, which was a cause of considerable humiliation to me. I was not able to sleep, because of the pain of the wound, which is so precious to me; it produces such heat within me that it burns and consumes me alive. I also felt such a plentitude of God, that I could not explain myself to my Superioress, as I should have wished, regardless of any suffering and confusion which the recital of these favors might cause me. I would rather have accused myself of my sins before the whole world than speak of these graces on account of my extreme unworthiness. It would have been a great consolation to me had I been permitted to read aloud my general confession in the refectory, in order thereby to make known the depth of corruption which is in me, so that none of the favors I received might be attributed to me.”
Our Lord makes known the Devotion of the First Fridays: June 1674
“On the First Friday of each month, the above-mentioned grace connected with the pain in my side was renewed in the following manner: the Sacred Heart was represented to me as a resplendent sun, the burning rays of which fell vertically upon my heart, which was inflamed with a fire so fervid that it seemed as if it would reduce me to ashes. It was at these times especially that my Divine Master taught me what He required of me and disclosed to me the secrets of His loving Heart. On one occasion, while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, feeling wholly withdrawn within myself by an extraordinary recollection of all my senses and powers, Jesus Christ, my sweet Master, presented Himself to me, all resplendent with glory, His Five Wounds shining like so many suns. Flames issued from every part of His Sacred Humanity, especially from His Adorable Breast, which resembled an open furnace and disclosed to me His most loving and most amiable Heart, which was the living source of these flames. It was then that He made known to me the ineffable marvels of His pure love and showed me to what an excess He had loved men, from whom He received only ingratitude and contempt:”
“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.’
“On representing to Him my inability, He replied:
“Behold, this will supply for all that is wanting to you.’”
“And at the same time His Divine Heart being opened, there issued from It a flame so ardent that I thought I should be consumed, for I was wholly penetrated with it, and being no longer able to bear it, I besought Him to have pity on my weakness.”
“I will be your strength. Fear nothing, but be attentive to My voice and to what I shall require of you that you may be in the requisite disposition for the accomplishment of My designs. In the first place you shall receive Me in Holy Communion as often as obedience (to your confessor and superiors) will permit you, despite the mortification and humiliation it may cause you, which you must receive as pledges of My Love. You shalt, moreover, communicate on the First Friday of each month. Every night between the Thursday and the (first) Friday I will make you share in My mortal sadness which I was pleased to feel in the Garden of Olives, and this sadness, without you being able to understand it, shall reduce you to a kind of agony harder to endure than death itself. And in order to bear Me company in the humble prayer that I then offered to My Father, in the midst of My anguish, you shall rise between 11 P.M. and midnight, and remain prostrate with Me for an hour, not only to appease the divine anger by begging mercy for sinners, but also to mitigate in some way the bitterness which I felt at that time on finding Myself abandoned by My Apostles, which obliged Me to reproach them for not being able to watch one hour with Me. During that hour you shall do what I shall teach you. But listen, My daughter, believe not lightly and trust not every spirit, for Satan is enraged and will seek to deceive you. Therefore, do nothing without the approval of those who guide you; being thus under the authority of obedience, his efforts against you will be in vain, for he has no power over the obedient.’”
Our Lord Purifies His Servant
After this apparition St. Margaret began to suffer from a mystical fever. The Most Holy Trinity appeared to her on another occasion. At the request of her religious superiors, she was asked to pray for a cure to her strange sickness. In response, the Blessed Virgin Mary came to her and granted her request.
The next year (1675), Our Lord came and asked her for a bitter sacrifice to appease His justice which was aroused by the sins of a single house of religious. She accepted to make this sacrifice. And so, on the vigil of the Presentation (February 2), for the length of one long night she suffered mystically the indescribable tortures of hell and volunteered herself for an extraordinary public penance, which in her humility she does not describe for us.
The next morning, at Mass, Our Lord spoke to her:
“At last peace is restored, and My Sanctity of Justice is satisfied by the sacrifice you have made in honor of that which I made at the moment of My Incarnation in the womb of My Mother. I wished to renew and unite the merit thereof with this act of yours in order to apply it in favor of charity, as I have shown you. Hence it is that you must no longer lay any claim to whatever you may do or suffer, either to increase your merits or to make satisfaction by penance or otherwise, since everything is sacrificed in favor of charity. Therefore, in imitation of Me you must act and suffer in silence without any other interest than the glory of God, in the establishment of the Reign of My Sacred Heart in the hearts of men, to whom I wish to manifest It by your means.”
Thus Our Lord spoke to her, after she received Him in Holy Communion.
Our Lord Requests the Devotion of First Fridays be practiced: June 16, 1675
During the octave in preparation for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, while St. Margaret was close to the choir grate, Our Lord appeared to her upon the Altar.
“Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love; and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love. But what I feel most keenly is that it is hearts which are consecrated to Me, that treat Me thus. Therefore, I ask of you that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special Feast to honor My Heart, by communicating on that day, and making reparation to It by a solemn act, in order to make amends for the indignities which It has received during the time It has been exposed on the altars. I promise you that My Heart shall expand Itself to shed in abundance the influence of Its Divine Love upon those who shall thus honor It, and cause It to be honored.”
The Devotion is Made Known to the World
Our Lord had St. Margaret ask that a Feast in honor of His Heart be offered Him by the Church on the Friday after the Solemnity of His Body and Blood (Corpus Christi), that such homage be paid to Himself by the King of France, and that the mission of propagating this devotion was to be entrusted to the Order of the Visitation Sisters and to the priests of the Society of Jesus.
After St. Margaret made this known to her spiritual director, the future St. Claude de la Colombiere.
He consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and began to spread the devotion. From Paray-le-Monial, her convent, this devotion spread rapidly, under the care of the Jesuits, to the entire Church. Today, just outside of Paris, France, you can visit the Basilica built as an Act of National Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which commemorates the Apparitions of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. She is buried at Paray-le-Monial, which is between Lyons and Paris. Her feast day is October 16.
THE 12 PROMISES of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary for Sacred Heart devotees:
Read more about this devotion here. (Available only to AV members)
“O Heart of love, I place all of my trust in You. For I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Your goodness.”
-St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your Heart, being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father pleading for the coming of His Kingdom.
Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as You will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.
Most holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your Special Child.
O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you, and with a lively sorrow for my sins,
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to Your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in You and for You.
Protect me in the midst of danger.
Comfort me in my afflictions.
Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
Your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within Your Heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable,
most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God
be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified,
in heaven, on earth and under the earth,
by all the creatures of God,
and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ,
in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life, Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary. O my adorable and loving Savior, consume my heart with the burning fire with which Yours is aflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your love. Let my heart be united with Yours. Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things. May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions.
O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have asked you for many favors, but I plead for this one.
[name your request]
Take it and place it in your open, broken heart, and when the Eternal Father sees it, covered with the mantle of Your Most Precious Blood, He cannot refuse it, because then it has become Your prayer and not mine. Amen
This novena is often begun on the Feast of Corpus Christi, which falls on the Thursday of the week before the Feast of the Sacred Heart, but it can be said any time. Padre Pio used to say this every day—it is said to have been his favorite devotion. This is also the novena that St Gemma Galgani prayed before being miraculously cured by Jesus.
O my Jesus, You have said, ‘Truly I say to you, ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.’ Behold, I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...
[name your request]
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father...
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
II. O my Jesus, You have said, ‘Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.’ Behold, in Your name, I ask the Father for the grace of...
[name your request]
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father...
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
III. O my Jesus, You have said, ‘Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.’ Encouraged by Your infallible words, I now ask for the grace of...
[name your request]
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father...
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the graces which we ask of You, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate heart of Mary, Your tender mother and ours.
Written by St Margaret Mary Alacoque
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.
I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee.
I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, animated with a desire to repair the outrages unceasingly offered to Thee, we prostrate before Thy throne of mercy, and in the name of all mankind, pledge our love and fidelity to Thee.
The more Thy mysteries are blasphemed, the more firmly we shall believe them, O Sacred Heart of Jesus!
The more impiety endeavors to extinguish our hope of immortality, the more we shall trust in Thy Heart, sole Hope of mankind!
The more hearts resist Thy Divine attractions, the more we shall love Thee, O infinitely amiable Heart of Jesus!
The more unbelief attacks Thy Divinity, the more humbly and profoundly we shall adore It, O Divine Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy holy laws are transgressed and ignored, the more we shall delight to observe them, O most holy Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy Sacraments are despised and abandoned, the more frequently we shall receive them with love and reverence, O most generous Heart of Jesus!
The more the imitation of Thy virtues is neglected and forgotten, the more we shall endeavor to practice them, O Heart, model of every virtue!
The more the devil labors to destroy souls, the more we shall be inflamed with desire to save them, O Heart of Jesus, zealous Lover of souls!
The more sin and impurity destroy the image of God in man, the more we shall try by purity of life to be a living temple of the Holy Spirit, O Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy Holy Church is despised, the more we shall endeavor to be her faithful children, O Sweet Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy Vicar on earth is persecuted, the more will we honor him as the infallible head of Thy Holy Church, show our fidelity and pray for him, O kingly Heart of Jesus!
O Sacred Heart, through Thy powerful grace, may we become Thy apostles in the midst of a corrupted world, and be Thy crown in the kingdom of Heaven.
O SACRED Heart of Jesus, I adore Thee in the oneness of the Personality of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Whatever belongs to the Person of Jesus, belongs therefore to God, and is to be worshipped with that one and the same worship which we pay to Jesus. He did not take on Him His human nature, as something distinct and separate from Himself, but as simply, absolutely, eternally His, so as to be included by us in the very thought of Him. I worship Thee, O Heart of Jesus, as being Jesus Himself, as being that Eternal Word in human nature which He took wholly and lives in wholly, and therefore in Thee. Thou art the Heart of the Most High made man. In worshipping Thee, I worship my Incarnate God, Emmanuel. I worship Thee, as bearing a part in that Passion which is my life, for Thou didst burst and break, through agony, in the garden of Gethsemani, and Thy precious contents trickled out, through the veins and pores of the skin, upon the earth. And again, Thou hadst been drained all but dry upon the Cross; and then, after death, Thou wast pierced by the lance, and gavest out the small remains of that inestimable treasure, which is our redemption.
My God, my Saviour, I adore Thy Sacred Heart, for that heart is the seat and source of all Thy tenderest human affections for us sinners. It is the instrument and organ of Thy love. It did beat for us. It yearned over us. It ached for us, and for our salvation. It was on fire through zeal, that the glory of God might be manifested in and by us. It is the channel through which has come to us all Thy overflowing human affection, all Thy Divine Charity towards us. All Thy incomprehensible compassion for us, as God and Man, as our Creator and our Redeemer and Judge, has come to us, and comes, in one inseparably mingled stream, through that Sacred Heart. O most Sacred symbol and Sacrament of Love, divine and human, in its fullness, Thou didst save me by Thy divine strength, and Thy human affection, and then at length by that wonder-working blood, wherewith Thou didst overflow.
O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now as then Thou savest, Desiderio desideravi — “With desire I have desired.” I worship Thee then with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will. O my God, when Thou dost condescend to suffer me to receive Thee, to eat and drink Thee, and Thou for a while takest up Thy abode within me, O make my heart beat with Thy Heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it, but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace.
Eternal Father, I offer You the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with all its love, all its sufferings, and all its merits.
First, to expiate all the sins I have committed this day and during all my life. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall ever be, world without end. Amen.
Second, to purify the good I have done poorly this day and during all my life. Glory be, etc.
Third, to supply for the good I ought to have done, and that I have neglected this day and all my life.
In 1899 Pope Leo XIII approved this Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for public use. This litany is actually a synthesis of several other litanies dating back to the 17th century. Father Croiset composed a litany in 1691 from which 17 invocations were used by Venerable Anne Madeleine Remuzat when she composed her litany in 1718 at Marseille. She joined an additional 10 invocations to those of Father Croiset, for a total of 27 invocations. Six more invocations written by Sister Madeleine Joly of Dijon in 1686 were added by the Sacred Congregation for Rites when it was approved for public use in 1899. This makes a total of 33 invocations, one for each year of life of our Lord Jesus Christ. A partial indulgence is attached to this litany.*
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.
Let us pray;
—ascribed to St. Bernard
Hail, sacred Heart of God’s great Majesty! Hail, sweetest Heart, my heart saluteth Thee! With great desire, O Heart, I seek for Thee, And faint for joy, O Heart, embracing Thee; Then give me leave, O Love, to speak to Thee.
With what sweet love Thou languishedst for me! What pain and torment was that love to Thee! How didst Thou all Thyself exhaust for me! How hast Thou wholly given Thyself to me, That death no longer might have hold of me!
O bitter death and cruel! Can it be Thou darest so to enter greedily Into that cell divine? O can it be The Life of life, that lives there gloriously, Should feel thy bite, O death, and yield to thee?
For Thy death’s sake which Thou didst bear for me, When Thou, O sweetest Heart, didst faint for me, O Heart most precious in its agony, See how I yearn, and longing turn to Thee! Yield to my love, and draw me unto Thee!
O sacred Heart, beloved most tenderly, Cleanse Thou my own; more worthy let it be, All hardened as it is with vanity; O make it tender, loving, fearing Thee, And all its icy coldness drive from me.
O sinner as I am, I come to Thee; My very vitals throb and call for Thee; O Love, sweet love, draw hither unto me! O Heart of Love, my heart would ravished be, And sicken with the wound of love for Thee!
Dilate and open, Heart of love, for me, And like a rose of wondrous fragrance be, Sweet Heart of love, united unto me; Anoint and pierce my heart, O Love, with Thee, How can he suffer, Lord, who loveth Thee?
O Heart of Love, who vanquished is by Thee Knows nothing, but beside himself must be; No bounds are set to that sweet liberty, No moderation,–he must fly to Thee, Or die he must of many deaths for Thee.
My living heart, O Love, cries out for Thee; With all its strength, O Love, my soul loves Thee; O Heart of Love, incline Thou unto me, That I with burning love may turn to Thee, And with devoted breast recline on Thee!
In that sweet furnace let me live for Thee, Nor let the sleep of sloth encumber me; O let me sing to Thee and weep to Thee, Adore, and magnify, and honor Thee, And always take my full delight in Thee.
Thou Rose of wondrous fragrance, open wide, And bring my heart into Thy wounded Side, O sweet heart, open! Draw Thy loving bride, All panting with desires intensified, And satisfy her love unsatisfied.
Unite my heart, O Jesus, unto Thine, And let Thy wounded love be found in mine. Ah, if my heart, dear love, be made like Thine O will it not be pierced with darts divine, the sweet reproach of love that thrills through Thine?
O Jesus, draw my heart within Thy Breast, That it may be by Thee alone possessed. O Love, in that sweet pain it would find rest, In that entrancing sorrow would be blest, And love itself in joy upon Thy Breast.
Behold, O Jesus, how it draws to Thee! O call it, that it may remain in Thee! See with what large desire it thirsts for Thee! Reprove it not, O Love; it loves but Thee: Then bid it live–by one sweet taste of Thee!
“If you feel yourself frail and weak, lapsing into faults at every moment, go to the Sacred Heart and draw from it the strength which will invigorate and revive you.” —St Margaret Mary Alacoque
"We the Christians are the true Israel which springs from Christ, for we are carved out of His heart as from a rock." – St. Justin Martyr (d. 165)
"There is in the Sacred Heart the symbol and express image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return." – Pope Leo XIII
“Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of its very nature, is a worship of the love with which God, through Jesus, loved us, and at the same time, an exercise of our own love by which we are related to God and to other men.” –Pope Pius XII, Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart).
“It is altogether impossible to enumerate the heavenly gifts which devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has poured out on the souls of the faithful, purifying them, offering them heavenly strength, rousing them to the attainment of all virtues.” –Pope Pius XII, Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart).
“The Heart of Christ must be recognized as the heart of the Church: It is He who calls us to conversion, to reconciliation. It is He who leads pure hearts and those hungering for justice along the way of the Beatitudes. It is He who achieves the warm communion of the members of the one Body. It is He who enables us to adhere to the Good News and to accept the promise of eternal life. It is He who sends us out on mission. The heart-to-heart with Jesus broadens the human heart on a global scale.” –Pope St John Paul II
“The Heart of Jesus is the Heart of a Divine Person, the Word Incarnate, and by it is represented and, as it were, placed before our gaze, all the love with which He has embraced and even now embraces us. Consequently, the honor to be paid to the Sacred Heart is such as to raise it to the rank – so far as external practice is concerned – of the highest expression of Christian piety. For this is the religion of Jesus which is centered on the mediator Who is God and Man, and in such a way that we cannot reach the heart of God save through the Heart of Christ, as He Himself says: 'I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father save through Me' (Jn 14,6).” –Pope Pius XII, Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart).
“It is in the adorable Heart of Jesus that we find every weapon proper to our defense, every remedy for the cure of our ills, the most powerful assistance against the assaults of our enemies, the sweetest consolation to relieve our sufferings, the purest delights to crown our souls with Joy.” –St Peter Damien
“Who is there who would not love this wounded heart? Who would not love in return Him, who loves so much?” –St Bonaventure
“Since we have reached the most sweet Heart of Jesus, and it is good for us to abide in it, let us not readily turn away from it. How good, how sweet it is to dwell in Thy Heart, oh good Jesus! Who is there who would not desire this pearl? I would rather give all else, all my thoughts and all the affections of my soul in exchange for it, casting my whole mind into the Heart of my good Jesus.” –St Bonaventure
Let us realize all the richness hidden in the words “the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” When we speak of a person's heart, we refer not just to his sentiments, but to the whole person in his loving dealings with others. In order to help us understand divine things, Scripture uses the expression “heart” in its full human meaning, as the summary and source, expression and ultimate basis, of one's thoughts, words and actions. A man is worth what his heart is worth...
To the heart belongs joy: “let my heart rejoice in your saving help”; repentance: “my heart is like wax, it is melted within my breast”; praise of God: “my heart overflows with a goodly theme”; the decision to listen to the Lord: “my heart is ready, Lord”; loving vigilance: “I slept, but my heart was awake”; and also doubt and fear: “let not your hearts be troubled, believe in me.”
The heart not only feels, it knows and understands. God's law is received in the heart and remains written there. Scripture also adds: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Our Lord reproaches the scribes: “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” And, summing up all the sins man might commit, he says: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander and blasphemy.”
When holy Scripture refers to the heart, it does not refer to some fleeting sentiment of joy or tears. By heart it means the personality which directs its whole being, soul and body, to what it considers its good, as Jesus himself indicated: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
So when we talk about the heart of Jesus, we stress the certainty of God's love and the truth of his commitment to us. When we recommend devotion to the sacred heart, we are recommending that we should give our whole self to Jesus, to the whole Jesus — our soul, our feelings and thoughts, our words and actions, our joys.
That is what true devotion to the heart of Jesus means. It is knowing God and ourselves. It is looking at Jesus and turning to him, letting him encourage and teach and guide us. The greatest superficiality that can beset this devotion would be a lack of humanity, a failure to understand the reality of an incarnate God.
–Christ is Passing By, 164
As you can tell, there is a lot to be said about this spectacular devotion. I'll be following up this month with more ways to honor Jesus' Sacred Heart, including a post on how to Enthrone your home to His Sacred Heart!
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