The Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Jul 1, 2019
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:19
This past Friday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This devotion to the Sacred Heart has a long history in the Church, beginning in the 11th century. This Solemnity falls nineteen days after Pentecost, and is always celebrated on the first Friday after Corpus Christi.
The origins of this devotion are rooted in the history of pious Christians meditating on the five wounds of Christ, which He suffered during His Passion. The point of this devotion is to know and grow deeper in the trust of the Lord’s love for us and to remind us of the sacred humanity of Jesus. The humanity of Jesus gives us a connection to Him, a deeper connection where we can relate and give our own human sufferings to those of Jesus. We don’t hear it said much anymore (or when we do, oftentimes it’s in a sarcastic way), but when we’re hurting we’re told to “offer it up to Jesus”. We don’t do this in an empty way. We don’t just offer them up and forget about it. We offer them up by meditating on the merciful, loving heart of Jesus. We offer them to His Heart and the rest of His human body that suffered on the Cross for us. Jesus came into the world and came to suffer for us in His humanity, as well as divinity, out of love for us, a love deeper and more powerful than anything we could ever imagine on earth. Jesus wants us to know this, and reminds us of these beautiful things by revealing them to human beings: the saints.
Two great saints related to the Sacred Heart are Saint Gertrude the Great and Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. Saint Gertrude was a German Benedictine nun, a great scholar and mystic. At age 25 she began to have visions of Jesus related to His Sacred Heart. She went on to have these visions until the day she died.
Jesus also appeared to the great saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675 during the octave of Corpus Christi. Our Lord made it clear He wanted the Sacred Heart celebrated the Friday after Corpus Christi, in reparation for the ingratitude toward the sacrifice Christ made for them.
Our Lord Jesus Christ desires that we should, for sanctifying ourselves, glorify His all-loving heart, for it was His heart that suffered the most in His sacred humanity. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Jesus also told Saint Margaret Mary to make His love known through the devotion of First Fridays, which in many places still goes on today. We celebrate the First Friday Mass in our own parish every month, along with the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick in our Adoration Chapel. The first Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart has a healing component to it as well. Out of the Sacred Heart pierced on the Cross come the sacraments of the Church, most especially the Holy Eucharist and Baptism, as well as Confession. By His wounds we are healed.
They shall look on Him whom they have pierced. John 19:37
In 1670, Father Jean Eudes was the first person to celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart. By 1765 the Feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated in the Church but wasn’t officially approved until May 8, 1873 by Pope Pius IX.
We the Christians are the true Israel which springs from Christ, for we are carved out of His heart as from a rock. Saint Justin Martyr
May God continue to bless you and your families,
Father Aidan, OSB