Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an ancient practice. We can see its Scriptural origins in Jesus’ own references to His Heart. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest … for I am meek and humble of heart” (c.f. Matthew 11:28, 29).
The devotion received a surge of popularity in the late 1600s. Jesus appeared several times to a French religious sister, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, pointing to his heart. During this time, the Jansenist heresy had risen in France, which preached limited predestination for salvation. When appearing to Margaret Mary, Jesus affirmed his love for all mankind: “Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing.” He asked for a special feast celebrating his Sacred Heart on the Friday following the feast of Corpus Christi. Over time, June has become known as the month of Sacred Heart. (©LPi)
The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes, the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus' death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.
Promises made to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Margaret Mary Alacoque said that in her apparitions Jesus promised these blessings to those who practice devotion to his Sacred Heart.
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will give peace in their families.
- I will console them in all their troubles.
- I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
- I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
- Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
- Tepid souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
- I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
- I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
- Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
- In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.1
Examples of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Venerate an image of the Sacred Heart
- Enthrone the Sacred Heart in your home. A priest or head of a household consecrates the members of the household to the Sacred Heart, [making Jesus the King of your home]. An image of the Sacred Heart that has been blessed, either a statue or a picture, is then placed in the home as a reminder. The practice of the Enthronement is based upon Pius XII's declaration that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is "the foundation on which to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families, and nations."1
- Nine First Fridays Devotion Receive Communion on the First Fridays for nine consecutive months in reparation for all the offenses committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI stated: "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." ibid.
- Pray the Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Pray the Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus or Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Throughout the day, pray short prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Pray Acts of Consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus