SACRED HEART DEVOTION
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the only Catholic devotion specifically requested and established by Jesus himself, through his specific instructions and now famous Twelve Promises in a lifetime of revelations to the faithful servant Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. Our Lord made the request because of His ardent desire to be known, loved and honored by all Catholics and to establish His reign in the hearts of all through our consecration to the devotion and love of His Sacred Heart.
The Sacred Heart Devotion is the greatest source of spiritual and temporal help, graces and blessings for those that truly love the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a never failing source to remedy all our problems and needs as well as a sure method of attaining perfection and salvation.
A true love of Jesus Christ and special respect and veneration for the Blessed Sacrament are the hallmarks of the devotion and all its exercises. This devotion is so pleasing to Jesus that He can refuse nothing to those who practice it. Jesus made this promise to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Order of Visitation, founded in the seventeenth century by St. Francis de Sales, known for humility and selflessness.
The revelations to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque first began on December 27, 1673 when she was kneeling at the grille in the chapel, in which the Lord told her that the love of His heart must spread and manifest itself to men and He would reveal its graces through her. This was the beginning of a series of revelations that continued for eighteen months.
These revelations were rejected by the Mother Superior, resulting in St. Margaret Mary Alacoque being reprimanded, in which she subsequently became very ill, so ill that her survival was in question. From this, the Mother Superior reflected that she might have erred in scorning the nun due to her stories of revelations and vowed that if her life was spared, she would take it as a sign that the visions and messages were truly from God. Upon her recovery the Mother Superior invited a Benedictine and Jesuit priest to listen to her stories, both of which concluded the young nun was delusional. It was not until another Jesuit, Father Claude de la Columbiere who talked with her, was convinced of the genuineness of the revelations. It was this Jesuit father that wrote about the nun and inaugurated this devotion in England.
For many years, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque suffered from despair, self inflicted punishments and contempt from those around her. In 1681, Father Claude returned to the convent and died during the following year. Opposition ceased after an account of Margaret Mary’s visions were read aloud in the refectory from the writings left by Father Claude, who had taken it upon himself to make known to the world the nun’s remarkable experiences. When Margaret Mary turned 43, she fell ill and deteriorated rapidly. She received the Last Sacraments and was quoted as saying, “I need nothing but God and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.” The devotion became popular in France, Poland and spread to other countries. A feast day has been set by the Holy See in recognition of this devotion, a devotion in which the entire month of June is dedicated to.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus sets aside the First Friday of each month as a day to be consecrated to honoring His Sacred Heart. The object of this devotion is to make our Savior Jesus Christ ardently and perfectly loved, and to make reparation for the outrages offered to Him in the past, as well as for those which he daily receives in the Blessed Eucharist. Jesus Christ merits our love at all times, but too often He is despised and outraged in the Sacrament of His love, so people should at all times make reparation to Him.
Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an integral part of this devotion. It is Christ’s desire to have Catholics make reparation for the neglect, indifference and ingratitude of the majority that results in Jesus Christ being left alone, abandoned and forgotten on our altars, never visited to offer consolation for such neglect.
During our First Friday time with Jesus we should adore Him, make a fervent act of love to Jesus in the tabernacle, thank Him for having instituted this Mystery of love, express our sorrow at seeing Him so abandoned, and resolve to visit Him as soon as possible and love Him unceasingly.
Attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is assuredly the best means of honoring and loving the adorable Heart of Jesus. In addition to Mass, the following is also very efficacious in honoring our Savior: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Act of Reparation, the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)’s Sacred Heart Novena.
For those that are new to the Sacred Heart Devotion, it is particularly important to practice this devotion for nine consecutive months. Jesus made a special promise to all those that do this in His twelfth promise,“The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.”
Jesus made another special promise, “I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart shall be exposed and honored...” Jesus made this promise because knowing our humanity, the tendency to use pictures as friendly reminders within our home, Jesus used this human trait to make Himself present in our homes on a daily basis. Christ’s image is a constant reminder of His supreme love for us and by His constant presence, to emphasize the all important relationship we have with Him.
What does all this mean for our families? Our families become the recipients of many graces and blessings if the installation of Christ’s image is accompanied by a formal ceremony, an Enthronement and by a Consecration of the Family to the love of His Sacred Heart. These two acts together will: stabilize and sanctify the family, create a Catholic atmosphere and spirit of piety in the home, bring back the wayward members and help console the members in times of trial and sorrow.
The Sacred Heart Devotion is for men, women, families and young people as well. It is the perfect answer to all the questions that arise from our many trials and tribulations in these troubled times. If you are new or would like to deepen your understanding and devotion to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus, please visit Sacred Heart Devotion.com.