June – Month of the Sacred Heart – 1

Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The heart symbolically represents the source of love and the month of June in the Catholic Church is traditionally devoted to the Sacred Heart.  Devotion to the Sacred Heart highlights Jesus’ long suffering of heart, His compassion, and unrelenting love for humanity.  During this month we are encouraged to contemplate His enormous love for us and seek to respond more deeply with our own love for Him. This may not be easy – the journey from the head to the heart (from faith as purely an intellectual process to also being an emotional, personal relationship with the Lord) can be a long and difficult one.

In reality, we are on that journey throughout our life. Pope St John Paul II described baptism (even in adulthood) as the point of departure, not arrival. He said: “By loving your neighbour and becoming concerned about your neighbour, you make progress on your journey. Where is your journey if not to the Lord God – to Him whom we love with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind.  We have not yet reached the Lord but we have our neighbour with us so then support him with whom you are travelling so that you may come to Him with whom you long to dwell.”

Our current situation gives us so many opportunities to support those with whom we are travelling and to make real for them the loving, beating heart of our saviour. It may be the tolerance and patience we have to exercise towards those with whom we live during the current restrictions when our freedom is still so curtailed – our home busy and cramped, trying to work from home whilst helping our children with schoolwork. It may be the love and understanding with which we have to respond to the short temper of our spouse, son or daughter who is stressed, strained, exhausted at work and fearful of bringing illness home to us. It may be our little acts of love for those who are experiencing excruciating loneliness, fear or boredom. For all of us, it’s continuing to delve deeply into our hearts to respond in faith and love when we wonder where the beating heart of the Lord is in the midst of our turmoil.

Our situations are many and varied but the heart of the Lord beats personally for each of us. Jesus is ever ready to take us to His heart so that we can rest our weary head on His breast as St John did – to lay down our burdens, worries, failures, disappointments, fears, frustrations etc. and hear just how strongly His heart beats for us. We can trust His words “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.  Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30).  When we rest on the Lord we can always be sure that He will respond with His most tender care and concern from a heart bursting with love for us.

There are many aspects of devotion to the Sacred Heart and the following web pages may be of interest:

gives the history of devotion to the Sacred Heart, various prayers and the connection between how “Christ’s Sacred Heart of love is expressed most profoundly in the Blessed Sacrament”.

  • http://archive.wf-f.org/SacredHeart.html This is an archive page from the Women for Faith and Family website which also gives the history of devotion to the Sacred Heart along with some of what twentieth century popes have said about it, readings for the feast of the Sacred Heart and suggestions for family activities.

The feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus takes place nineteen days after Pentecost Sunday so this year falls on June 19th.  In preparation for that we hope to take a look at the suggestions for family activities in next week’s newsletter with other aspects of the devotion to follow.

In the meantime, and following on from Pentecost Sunday, here’s a prayer to the Holy Spirit which many will be familiar with and which may help us to move ever closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.   Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work too may be holy.   Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.   Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, that I may preserve all that is holy.   Guard me then O Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.   O Holy Spirit, I humbly implore you, be with me always so that in all things I may act only under the influence of your holy inspirations.   Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us.