An Introduction To The Sacred Heart

Second only to the Crucifixion, the Sacred Heart of Jesus perfectly exemplifies the sacrificial love Jesus has for each of us.

Once a widespread devotion, the Devotion to the Sacred Heart has powerful symbolism, beautiful prayers, and amazing promises.

This page is meant to give a quick introduction to the Sacred Heart, we hope you learn something new, and help grow your connection to Christ through devotion to his Sacred Heart.

ORIGINS

Devotion to the Sacred Heart began in the 1100s. The creator of the devotion is unknown but is believed to have stemmed from earlier devotions to the Sacred Wounds of Christ. The Devotion to the Sacred Heart grew in popularity in the 13th and 14th centuries, especially in religious orders.

St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan Bishop was connected to promoting the Sacred Heart. He is quoted as saying:

“Who is there who would not love this wounded heart? Who would not love in return Him, who loves so much?”

The Sacred Heart grew in popularity, but it was a private, unstructured devotion. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was a French nun who received visions of Jesus in 1673 and 1675 desiring a formal devotion to his Sacred Heart. This formal devotion requires the reception of Communion on the first Friday of every month.

During the apparition of Jesus, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque heard these words from Our Lord:

“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;”

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Image: Stained glass, depiction of Christ appearing to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and showing her His Sacred Heart | St. Francis Xavier Basilica, Vincennes, IN

PROMISES GIVEN TO ST. MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE

During the apparition of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Jesus said he would provide the following to those who practiced devotion to his Sacred Heart.

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
  2. I will give peace in their families.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
  5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
  9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
  10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
  11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
  12. 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 Friday, 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.

HOW TO PRACTICE THE DEVOTION

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The Nine First Fridays:

  • Go To Mass on the First Friday of the month.
  • Receive Communion on the First Friday of the month.
  • Attend Confession if you need to before you receive communion. Not sure if you need to go? Talk to your priest.
  • Attend Mass and receive communion for nine first Fridays in a row.

Developing a devotion to the Sacred Heart is a wonderful, pious act. We encourage you to do the nine first Fridays, there are other ways to practice devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  • Purchase an image or statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and place it in one of the rooms in your home where it will be visible to many, or where you go to pray frequently.
  • Do a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursday nights.
  • Pray for those who are far from God right now.
  • Pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

PERSONAL TESTIMONY FROM FR. STASH DAILEY

Devotion to the Sacred Heart can lead to surprising changes in anyone’s life who has true faith. Hear about the subtle power of the Sacred Heart in people’s lives, and learn how you can enthrone the Sacred Heart in your own home.

To learn more about the Sacred Heart, or to spread devotion to it, visit welcomehisheart.com, a ministry whose mission focuses on Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Stay tuned, because this month, Fr. Stash Dailey of Welcome His Heart will be a guest on Big City Catholics, discussing the Sacred Heart with Bishop Brennan.

REFLECTIONS

Contemplate the image of the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart depicts a pierced heart, surrounded by the Crown of Thorns, with a cross on top, and is set aflame. The wound symbolizes when Christ’s heart was pierced with a lance, pouring out salvation to the world. The cross and crown of thorns symbolize the Passion of Jesus. The flames symbolize his burning love and desire for each of us.

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More things to reflect on:

  • Were you ever far from God? This is the heart that brought you back.
  • Imagine who might have been praying for you if you were far from God at one point.
  • The wounds to the heart of Christ are an afterthought. His desire for you is greater than every trial in his Passion.
  • If this is the true heart of God, what ideas do I have of God in that don’t reflect this loving heart?
  • Why would I be afraid of God when I am his greatest desire?
  • How can I love others like God?
  • Who needs to know they are loved this deeply right now?
  • How can I remember that God loves all the people around me as much as he does?

The entire month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Parishes are celebrating the Feast of the Sacred Heart this month, but don’t stop after the feast is over. The Sacred Heart is a beautiful devotion that helps us understand and grow in love.

May God Bless you this June.