The Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotional with long and historic provenance within Christianity, and in modern times has been established as a Solemnity for the universal Church.
The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a celebration that falls 19 days after Pentecost, on a Friday. The liturgical feast was first celebrated in Rennes, France. The liturgy was approved by the local bishop at the behest of St. John Eudes, who celebrated the Mass at the major seminary in Rennes on August 31, 1670. You’ll notice that the first celebration was not situated in the days following Pentecost. St. John Eudes composed a Mass and a set of prayers for outside the Mass (referred to as an “Office”) that were quickly adopted in other places in France.
In 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the whole Church, to be celebrated on the Friday after Corpus Christi.
The Roots of the Devotion
But the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is much older. The beginnings of a devotion of the love of God symbolized by the heart of Jesus are found in the fathers of the Church, including Origen, Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Hippolytus of Rome, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Justin Martyr, and Saint Cyprian. In the 11th century this devotion found a renewal in the writings of Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries. This expression was given form by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century in his famous poem/prayer “O Sacred Head Surrounded.”
Most Sacred heart of Jesus, on the day dedicated to honor you, we pledge ourselves anew to honor and serve you with our whole heart. Help us to live our daily lives in a spirit of true concern for others and deep gratitude to You and to all through whom You love and serve us.
In the midst of all our trials and tribulations, we will remember that You are always with us, as you were with the Apostles when their boat was tossed in to the storm. We renew our faith and confidence in you.
We will never doubt that You are our friend, living within us always, walking beside us when courage fails, enlightening us when doubts cloud our vision of faith, protecting us against the assiduous lies and deceptions of the evil one.
Lord Jesus, bless each and every one of us, our families, our parish, our diocese, our country, and our entire world. Bless our jobs, our undertakings, our entertainments; may they always proceed from your inspiration.
In all that we do and say, may we be only channels of the love of Your Sacred Heart for all the people whom you bring within our reach to receive Your love through us. Comfort those who are sick (Mention Names); those who are suffering in their hearts or mind; those who have burdens and are breaking under them (Mention Name).
These two things, most especially, we ask of you today; to know intimately and love all that your Sacred Heart loves, to imbibe the attitude of Your Sacred Heart and to express them in our lives.
Finally, we pray that our confidence in You may grow more and more genuine, day by day and our devotion to the designs of the Sacred Heart, more and more committed. Amen