Tag: 12 Sacred Heart of Jesus promises

Where Did Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Come From?

Where Did Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Come From?

Today, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated throughout the world on the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi.

This year on June 23, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But where did that tradition originate?

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.

It was not until 1670, however, that a French priest, Fr. Jean Eudes, celebrated the first Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Around the same time, a pious sister by the name of Margaret Mary Alacoque began to report visions of Jesus. He appeared to her frequently, and in December 1673, he permitted Margaret Mary—as had once allowed St. Gertrude—to rest her head upon his Heart. As she experienced the comfort of his presence, Jesus told her of his great love and explained that he had chosen her to make his love and his goodness known to all.

The following year, in June or July of 1674, Margaret Mary reported that Jesus wanted to be honored under the figure of His Heart of flesh. He asked the faithful to receive Him in the Eucharist frequently, especially on the First Friday of the month, and to observe a Holy Hour of devotion to Him.

And then in 1675, during the octave of Corpus Christi, Margaret Mary received the vision which came to be known as the “great apparition.” Jesus asked that the modern Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated each year on the Friday following Corpus Christi, in reparation for the ingratitude of men for the sacrifice which Christ had made for them.

The devotion became popular after St. Margaret Mary’s death in 1690. However, because the Church is always careful in approving a private apparition or devotion, the feast was not established as an official feast for all of France until 1765.

On May 8, 1873, the devotion to the Sacred Heart was formally approved by Pope Pius IX; and 26 years later – on July 21, 1899 – Pope Leo XIII urgently recommended that all bishops throughout the world observe the feast in their dioceses. Pope Leo approved the following indulgences for the devotion:

  • For performing the devotion publicly or privately, seven years and seven quarantines (the remission of temporal punishment equivalent to what would be granted for forty days of penance) each day;
  • If the devotion is practiced daily in private, or if a person assists at least ten times at a public function, a plenary indulgence (remission of all temporal punishment for sins) on any day in June or between July 1-8 (Decree urbis et orbis, May 30, 1992);
  • The indulgence toties quoties (for the souls in Purgatory) on the thirtieth of June or the last Sunday of June (January 28, 1908) in those churches where the month of June is celebrated solemnly. Pius X (August 8, 1906) urged a daily sermon, or at least for eight days in the form of a mission (January 26, 1908);
  • To those priests who preach the sermons at the solemn functions in June in honor of the Sacred Heart, and to the rectors of the churches where these ceremonies are held, the privilege of the Gregorian Altar on June 30 (Pius X, August 8, 1906).
  • A plenary indulgence for each communion in June, and to those who promote the solemn celebration of the month of June (“Acta Pontificia”, IV, 388, August 8, 1906)

Today, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated throughout the world on the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi.

Promises of the 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 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.

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O most holy heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with 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 blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.

Understanding the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and What it Means

Understanding the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and What it Means

When I was a child, a beautiful picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hung in my parents’ bedroom. A warm, smiling Jesus lovingly pointed to His heart, pierced and crowned with thorns, in an eternal gesture of invitation. Whenever I looked at that picture, I felt good — embraced, loved, cared for — as if the Lord were inviting me to step into His joy and peace. My mother had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart; every First Friday, we would consecrate our lives anew to His love and mercy.

Each summer — usually in June — we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and draw near to the tender mercy and forgiveness of the Lord. Poetically, the heart is a symbol of the human center — our emotions, loves, passions, desires, the force of the will. In his book “The Sacred Heart of the World,” David Richo explains: “Our heart is the soft center of the egoless self and it has one desire: to open. The heart is the capacity to open.… It contains our ability to reach out so it is the antidote to despair.… Contemplation of Jesus’ Heart shows us how deep we really are, how vast our potential for love, how high our aspiration for the light.”

In the Gospels, Jesus’ heart is moved with pity for the crowds (see Mt 9:36) and He tells us that He is gentle and humble of heart (Mt 11:29). The Sacred Heart of Jesus that began beating in the womb of the Blessed Virgin more than 2,000 years ago still beats today in the glorified humanity of the Risen Christ. And it will pulsate forever, pumping out the grace, mercy and life of God to all of humanity. In the Heart of the Lord, we experience the overwhelming mercy of God and His infinite desire to be in relationship with us.

Over the centuries, many Christians developed harsh images of God and Jesus as fearsome judges, distant from human affairs, ready to impose punishment for moral failure. The Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints became the friendly, approachable intercessors who would go to God for us, pleading for sinful and erring souls. Jansenism, particularly prevalent in France in the 16th and 17th centuries, overemphasized the wrath of God, the unworthiness of human nature and fear as a fundamental response to the divine.

Viewed in this context, the apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque manifest a need for a theological correction and a spiritual balance regarding popular perceptions of Christ. Jesus revealed to the saint His heart, burning with love for humanity. Pierced and crucified — offering salvation and mercy — Jesus’ heart longs for us to offer our love and devotion in return. If some distorted forms of spirituality focused only on God’s punishment, the Sacred Heart emphasized mercy. If many believers inordinately feared God, here divine love and joy were manifest. If Jesus had seemed distant and unapproachable before, the Sacred Heart beckons us to enter into the divine furnace of charity.

St. Margaret Mary described her experience of the Lord: “My divine Heart is so passionately fond of the human race and of you, in particular, that it cannot keep back the pent-up flames of its burning charity any longer. They must burst out through you and reveal my Heart to the world, so as to enrich mankind with my treasures.” Following this revelation, Jesus united her heart with His in a fusion of mystical love and joy.

As St. John reminds us, God is love (see 1 Jn 4), the One who empties himself out for others, desiring our eternal salvation, seeking out the lost and carrying the wandering sheep home. The whole Christ event is a mission of mercy, as the Son, in radical obedience to the Father, becomes incarnate in our flesh — preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, healing the sick, forgiving the sinner, feeding the hungry and, ultimately, offering His life on the cross. Every word, action, gesture and attitude of Jesus manifests a perfect, pure and selfless love for each human person. If love means willing the good of the other, completely free of self-interest, we see the perfection of such charity in the burning heart of Christ.

Lest we think that such a love is naive, simplistic or easy, the Sacred Heart shines forth, crowned with thorns, pierced and bleeding. The crucifixion of Christ is the terrifying path through the valley of darkness and evil which God himself walks, embracing everything sinful, broken and dead that ensnares and destroys us. By remaining silent before His persecutors, praying for His killers, loving a dying thief and asking forgiveness for sinners, Jesus shows that the unconditional, infinite and divine love of His heart is the only force that can heal the world of its hatred, sin and rejection of God. By taking upon himself the totality of human evil committed by every person of every time, Christ refracts this overwhelming darkness into the light of the Resurrection.

Radical Act

In this radical act of redemption, the Lord serves like an aikido wrestling artist. Aikido is a form of martial arts in which the goal is to leave one’s opponent disarmed, unhurt and lying on the ground laughing! By absorbing and deflecting the aggressive negative energy of the attacker, the aikido wrestler disarms the other by turning violence into a gentle yet firm force that hurts no one, but stops the aggression. Is this not what Jesus did in His passion and death? He absorbed all the violence, evil, hatred and sin of the world into himself, letting it kill Him and seemingly destroy His vital force of love, healing and peace. But by taking in all of the darkness, Jesus conquered its power in one supreme offering of self to the Father on the altar of the cross. The death and resurrection of Christ is the gentle yet powerful absorption, deflection and transformation of violence into love, sin into grace, hatred into forgiveness and death into life. The triumph of the Sacred Heart is the ultimate victory of love.

In an address to Italian bishops, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once put it this way: “What Jesus preaches in the Sermon on the Mount, He now does; He does not offer violence against violence, as He might have done, but puts an end to violence by transforming it into love. The act of killing, of death, is changed into an act of love.”

Facing the endless and fearful violence of terrorism, mass shootings, abuse of all kinds and a profound disrespect for the sanctity of human life, our contemporary society will only find hope, healing and peace through the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.

What does devotion to the Sacred Heart consist of? How do we understand it today? Formal consecration, a daily offering, celebration of the Eucharist and reconciliation on consecutive First Fridays, displaying and honoring an image of the Sacred Heart all comprise some of the specific practices linked to this profound devotion.

Like any religious consecration, one made to the Sacred Heart is an extension of our baptismal commitment. In the waters of baptism, we put on Christ — anointed with the Holy Spirit to live as a new creation in the life of the Blessed Trinity — to embrace the goodness of the Gospel. Consecrating ourselves to the Sacred Heart is a personal and loving way to renew and live our baptismal vows. We acknowledge Jesus’ sovereignty in our lives, pledging our love back to Him who has so graciously and sacrificially loved us. Every First Friday, when my family verbally renewed our consecration, I was reminded of Jesus’ presence, protection and power in my life. That prayer inspired me to try to treat others as I would treat Christ himself. If you have not already done so, consider consecrating your marriage, family, home and life to the Sacred Heart in a formal way. It makes a big difference.

The daily offering is a simple prayer in which we give God our day: its prayer, work, joy and sufferings. This oblation of the heart renews our consecration and reminds us to live in holy mindfulness that what we do, say, value and embrace should be a worthy return to the Lord who has done so much for us. I remember praying the Morning Offering in grade school; this daily ritual reminded me that what I did in school, at home, on the playground, with family and classmates mattered to God — inspiring me to want to offer my very best.

Coming at a time when the faithful received the Eucharist infrequently, Jesus’ request that we confess our sins and receive Communion every First Friday points to the Eucharist and the sacraments as the fundamental way to encounter the love of the Lord. In the Eucharist, Jesus completely gives himself to us, literally entering into our bodies, souls and lives. We enter into the One that we eat and drink, deeply united to Christ. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we experience the mercy and forgiveness won for us on Calvary — we receive the tender embrace of the Lord and the healing power of the paschal mystery. Through these sacraments, Jesus draws us into His heart and allows us to experience in this life the love and joy of heaven. All of the riches of God’s inner life are manifest in the Heart of Christ and offered to us in the Mass and in confession.

In honoring and displaying images of the Sacred Heart, we invite others to experience Jesus’ love for themselves. The power of visuals is clear — I can still remember every artistic detail of that picture in my parents’ bedroom! We cannot contemplate such a holy and merciful image with indifference or ingratitude. One look at Jesus’ heart should melt us, convert us and inspire us to give our hearts in return.

Sacred Heart devotion is not magic or some automatic ticket to heaven; it is a sacred way for us to encounter the fullness of the Gospel, the good news of God’s saving love poured out for us in Jesus Christ. As we steadily progress in our knowledge and communion with the Lord, we will fall ever more deeply in love with Jesus and live out that transforming and redemptive relationship in every detail of our lives. This devotion unites our minds, hearts and wills in one great act of oblation — a total gift of the self to the One who has first offered himself completely to and for us.

9 Facts About the the Sacred Heart by Aquinas

9 Facts About the the Sacred Heart by Aquinas

St. Peter Damien

1) The devotion to the Sacred Heart is over 900 years old: In the 11th century St. Peter Damien wrote the following: “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. Gertrude the Great - Sacred Heart Visionary

2) There was more than one saint who had visions of the Sacred Heart: In the 1200’s three nuns started the monastery of St. Mary of Helfta. The nuns were St. Mechtild of Magdeburg, St. Mechtild of Hakeborn and St. Gertrude the Great.

3) Doesn’t everyone have visions? St. Margaret Mary started having visions of Jesus, typically crucified, early in her life. She assumed that this was normal for everyone.

4) The Feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated before St. Margaret Mary’s visions: On August 31, 1670 a celebration in honor of the Sacred Heart was celebrated at the seminary in Rennes.

5) St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had multiple visions of the Sacred Heart: From 1673 – 1675. During the visions Christ told St. Margaret that he wanted three specific devotions done to honor His Sacred Heart – frequent communion, receiving Communion at Mass on the first Friday of the month and regular holy hours.

6) The Jesuits were involved: St. Margaret Mary’s confessor was St. Claude de Colombiere. In 1675 Jesus asked St. Margaret to tell Fr. Colombiere about her visions and entrusted the propagation of the devotion to the Sacred Heart to the Sisters of the Visitation and the Society of Jesus. Fr. Colombiere asked St. Margaret to write an account of the visions, consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart and spent the rest of his life spreading information about the devotion in France and England.

7) The Church didn’t move quickly: While the Church official granted St. Margaret’s order, the Visitandines, permission to celebrate a Mass in honor of the Five Wounds of Christ in 1697, it wasn’t until 1856 that Pope Pius IX made the Feast of the Sacred Heart a universal celebration. In 1899 Pope Leo XIII consecrated all mankind to the Sacred Heart.

8) The devotions to the Sacred Heart and the Divine Mercy are closely linked: During his homily at the first universally celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday, Bl. Pope John Paul II said

Divine Mercy

“Let us relive this moment with great spiritual intensity. Today the Lord also shows us His glorious wounds and His Heart, an inexhaustible source of light and truth, of love and forgiveness.

His “Sacred Heart” has given men everything: redemption, salvation, sanctification. Saint Faustina Kowalska saw coming from this Heart that was overflowing with generous love, two rays of light which illuminated the world.

The two rays, [according to what Jesus Himself told her], denote blood and water (Diary, 299). The blood recalls the sacrifice of Golgotha and the mystery of the Eucharist; the water, according to the rich symbolism of the Evangelist John, makes us think of Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Spirit (See Jn 3:5; 4:14).

Through the mystery of this wounded Heart, the restorative tide of God’s merciful love continues to spread over the men and women of our time. Here alone can those who long for true and lasting happiness find its secret.”

Sacred Heart Gifts

9) Jesus was very serious about the mercy He offered through devotion to His Sacred Heart: Jesus made several promises to St. Margaret Mary for those who received communion in a state of grace on nine consecutive first Fridays but the most important one was

“I promise the Grace of final perseverance. They will not die in My disgrace, but will receive the Sacraments (if necessary), and My Heart will be sure shelter for them in that extreme moment.”



8 Astonishing Facts about the Sacred Heart You Never Knew

8 Astonishing Facts about the Sacred Heart You Never Knew

June is the month of the year that the Catholic Church dedicates to Sacred Heart of Jesus. But just what does a devotion to the Sacred Heart mean? Here are eight facts to get your month started right.

1. A devotion to the Sacred Heart includes twelve promises

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Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus comes with twelve promises. These include everything from a quick ascent to perfection all the way to a blessing upon every place where an image of Christ’s Sacred Heart is exposed.

2. The Sacred Heart is “part of the mainline of our faith.”

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Father William G. Most writes for EWTN and said, “Without that Divine Love we would not exist at all, nor would we have been redeemed. For to love is to will good to another for the other’s sake.” God will and loves us into existence with his Sacred Heart, so devotion to the heart of Christ is intertwined within our faith as Catholics.

3. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is a devotion like no other.

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Devotion to the Sacred Heart is different than a devotion to your patron saint, guardian angel or favorite martyr. In fact, as Father Most points out, to honor the love of God is the very heart of our faith.

4. The entire world is dedicated to the Sacred Heart.

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In 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the entire world to the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He said, “For we, in dedicating ourselves, not only recognize and accept His rule explicitly and freely, but we actually testify that if that which we give were ours, we would most willingly give it, and we ask Him to graciously accept from us that very thing, even though it is already His.”

5. The Sacred Heart beat inside the chest of St. Lutgarde

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In the 1200s, St. Lutgarde was visited in a vision by Christ Himself. During the vision, Christ offered St. Lugarde whatever she wished. She requested a simple gift: to understand the Latin language better so that she could worship Christ in a more full way. The grace of learning was given to her, but St. Lutgarde returned to Christ feeling empty and requested a gift exchange of sorts. Christ asked what He could replace the gift with and St. Lutgarde requested Christ’s heart. So Christ reached into Lutgarde’s chest, removed her heart and replaced it with His own Sacred Heart.

6. The Mass of the Sacred Heart has been around since 1353.

sacredheart6

Pope Innocent VI instituted a Mass that honored the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1353 AD. The most recent affirmation of this devotion came from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, when in 2006, he re-affirmed the devotion in a letter to Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach,
Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

7. You can consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart

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St. Margaret Mary Alacoque received visions of the Sacred Heart. She also was inspired to write the prayer of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which one can pray to dedicate their life to the heart of Christ.

8. Saint Pope John Paul II calls the devotion necessary.

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Saint Pope John Paul II spoke extensively during his papacy about the importance of the new evangelization in the life of the Catholic Church. He wrote: “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