June – Month of the Sacred Heart – 3

Combined photograph: Sacred Heart Statue in the South Aisle and two children lighting a candle under the Sacred Heart statue

Devotion to the Sacred Heart is evident in so many Catholic churches (including those in our own parish) where we see a statue of the Sacred Heart and a candle stand, in many cases with red coloured tea lights. We are used to seeing a side altar dedicated to the Sacred Heart (complemented by a side altar dedicated to Our Lady with its blue tea lights). Our main focus is always, of course, the tabernacle containing the Real Presence of Our Lord, but it is also a great comfort to Catholics to observe these familiar side altars when away from home and visiting a Catholic church.

At one time so many Catholic homes treasured in a prominent place a picture of the Sacred Heart (often with a small red light – much admired by the children!) and most of us associate devotion to the Sacred Heart with the French nun, St Margaret Mary Alocoque  (1647-1690). It was her visions which inspired devotion in the form we are familiar with today but the web page  https://www.aquinasandmore.com/blog/june-is-the-month-of-the-sacred-heart/  details the longer history.

In the first ten centuries of the church devotion to God’s love was rendered. Jesus’ wounded side and the blood and water which gushed forth in love were meditated upon. From the eleventh century the focus was the wounded heart of Jesus as the wound of  Divine Love and St Gertrude’s (d. 1302) vision emphasised the need for the world, having grown cold, to rekindle its love for God. Until the sixteenth century the devotion was a private, individual practice. The Jesuits in the seventeenth century developed it further until St Margaret Mary’s vision similar to that of St Gertrude followed by her other visions of the Sacred Heart.

Some main aspects of this devotion which draw us to the wonders of Christ’s love are the novena leading to the Feast of the Sacred Heart (recently celebrated) but which can be said at any time, observance of the first Friday of each month (in normal times available at St Edward’s church) and frequent reception of Holy Communion. The web page also gives links for the Act of Enthronement (which families might particularly benefit from), the Consecration to the Sacred Heart and others. To faithful devotees Jesus promised:

  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.

Online Resources

 During these times spent largely in our own homes you may enjoy seeing beautiful images and hearing some of the prayers on video on You Tube.   Just search “Catholic morning offering to the Sacred Heart”, “Litany of the Sacred Heart” etc.    It’s truly strengthening to realise so many people are tuning in and we are not alone.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in you