Last month, Catholics celebrated St. Mary, the Mother of the Lord. This month long devotion is very popular in Catholic circles, as is the devotion to the Rosary for the month of October. (In my church, a statue of Our Blessed Lady stood near the sanctuary for each mass.) The Church has established a particular devotion for every month of the year. While the May devotion to Mary is universally popular, many people tend to neglect June’s devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
When we ponder the Sacred Heart of the Savior, we learn more clearly the love He bears the human race. The Sacred Heart is depicted as being covered in thorns and immersed in flames with a cross at the top. The thorns represent the insults and offenses directed at the Lord, particularly against the Holy Eucharist by which Our Lord wishes to remain present to us until the end of time. That the cross and the thorns are surrounded by fire indicates that neither the most evil event in human history, the Crucifixion of Christ, nor the sins we daily commit can extinguish the Love of God for mankind.
How greatly must the sight of the Sacred Heart move us to want to return that love! Devotion to the Sacred Heart was the first devotion yours truly took up. I believe that it began as early as fourth grade, my first year in a Catholic school. (Unlike my brother and sister, the first four years of my schooling were in public school.) Marian devotions formed an important part of the school’s piety. Several days were set aside each year for the recitation of the Rosary, and I felt as though Our Lord were not honored enough–despite monthly masses, masses on holy days of obligation, and Eucharistic adoration once or twice a year. So, I took up devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through praying certain prayers and the Rosary of the Sacred Heart daily. Oddly enough, this act of rebellion against Marian piety led back to Mary! It is hard to love the Sacred Heart of God without also loving the Immaculate Heart of His Mother.
There are many excellent reasons for pursuing a devotion to the Sacred Heart. Our Lord says, “Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls,” (Matt. 11:29). When we undertake a devotion, we place ourselves under the authority of the one we devote ourselves to. In placing the yoke of Christ upon ourselves, our hearts become meek and humble like His and we also gain the virtues of patience and peace. The cardinal sins of pride and anger weaken their hold on us, while reason and charity characterize more of our interactions with other people.
There are twelve promises our Lord made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the saint who carried out Our Lord’s wish to popularize this devotion, for those who are devoted to the Sacred Heart:
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will establish peace in their homes.
- I will comfort them in all of their afflictions.
- I will be their secure refuge in life and above all in death.
- I will bestow abundant blessings on all of their undertakings.
- Sinners will find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
- Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
- I will bless every place in which an image of My Heart is exposed and honored,
- I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
- Those who promote this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart.
- I promise you in the excess mercy of My Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving the sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
With such extraordinary promises, who would not take up this devotion? Those touching my state in life have certainly proved true. One day, I hope to attempt the Nine Fridays devotion. This first Friday happened to be a day off, so I went to hear Mass. Other ways of showing devotion to the Sacred Heart consist in praying to Our Lord through His Heart, praying the Rosary or Chaplet of the Sacred Heart, and consecrating oneself to the Sacred Heart.
I hope that my dear readers will use June to become closer to the Heart of Jesus. Going through my old posts, I’ve realized that the Sacred Heart comes up quite a few times when I discuss anime:
I hope that you enjoy one or more of these posts. Happy Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!