Devotion to the Sacred Heart
Jesus reveals the devotion to His Sacred Heart in the Gospels. During the Last Supper, St. John the Beloved rested upon the Heart of Jesus (John 13:23). We find in this moment the essence of devotion to the Sacred Heart: to receive Jesus’ Love and to love Him in return. When we go to His Heart, we are filled with Divine Love. It is then that our hearts are moved to share His Love with others and to console His Heart, to make reparation for those who reject Him. Our Lord, Who came down from heaven to be with us, has a human heart and wants to share a deep friendship with you.
A Brief History of the Devotion
The devotion to the Sacred Heart started in the quiet stillness of Mary’s womb when His little Heart first began to beat. At Bethlehem, St. Joseph and Mother Mary adored His Heart as they held Him in their arms, gently gazing at the Christ Child and pondering the little heartbeat of Emmanuel, “God with us.”
The first written account of this devotion to the Sacred Heart can be found in the Gospels when St. John rested upon His Heart during the Last Supper. In the late 1200’s on the feast of St. John (December 27), St. Gertrude, a Benedictine nun and mystic, had a vision where St. John, appearing with Jesus on His left side, invited her to the right of Jesus to rest her head near the wound in His side so she could hear Christ’s beating heart. She wrote in her book Herald of Divine Love that this filled her with sweetness and joy. She asked St. John why he spoke so little in his Gospel “of the loving secrets of the Heart of Jesus?” St. John answered, “My mission was to write of the Eternal Word…
but the language of the blissful pulsations of the Sacred Heart is reserved for latter times, that the time-worn world, grown cold in the love of God, may be warmed up by hearing of such mysteries.”
About 400 years later, during a time when the world had grown cold and had forgotten the tenderness and mercy of Christ’s love, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary on St. John’s feast in 1673 in Paray-le-Monial, France. He revealed to her His Heart burning with Love for humanity. In the vision, Jesus asked her to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart and instructed her how the devotion should be practiced. The devotion as we know it today is largely based from Jesus’ revelations to St. Margaret Mary.
Jesus reveals His Sacred Heart
to St. Margaret Mary
Side chapel, Sacred Heart of Jesus to St Margaret Mary, St. Joseph’s Chapel, Santa Teresita, Duarte, CA
“Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love; and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love. But what I feel most keenly is that it is hearts which are consecrated to Me, that treat Me thus. Therefore, I ask of you that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special Feast to honor My Heart, by communicating on that day, and making reparation to It by a solemn act, in order to make amends for the indignities which It has received during the time It has been exposed on the altars. I promise you that My Heart shall expand Itself to shed in abundance the influence of Its Divine Love upon those who shall thus honor It, and cause It to be honored.”
The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart
As given by Our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Jesus reveals the tenderness of His Heart and the 12 promises He pledged to those who love Him and honor His Sacred Heart. If you’ve ever thought, “God couldn’t possibly love me, I haven’t earned it,” that’s Jansenist thinking, a heresy that plagued France. The plain truth is – God loves us no matter what! Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary: “Announce it and let it be announced to the whole world, that I set neither limit nor measure to My gifts for those who seek them in My Heart.”
8 Ways to Grow in Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart
Prayerfully read through these 8 beautiful spiritual practices to help you grow in your devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pick one or two to incorporate into your spiritual life. As the Holy Spirit leads you, you may slowly add more over time.
At the beginning of each day, make an offering of your whole day to the Sacred Heart through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world.
I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart:
for the salvation of souls, the reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians,
I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer
and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
Images of the Sacred Heart
|“I will bless every place where a picture of my Heart shall be set up and honored.” – 9th Promise|
When we meditate on an image or statue of the Sacred Heart, our hearts are moved with love and compassion. We allow the flames of His divine love to penetrate our own hearts, and His grace and mercy abound within us. Meditating before an image or statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is another way to deepen your devotion to His Heart.
“The Lord”, St. Margaret Mary shared, “assured me that He takes particular pleasure in being honored under the figure of His Heart of flesh. He wished a picture of it to be publicly exposed, that it might touch the insensible hearts of men; and He promised me that He would pour out abundantly on all that honored it the treasures of grace with which it is filled. Wherever this image shall be exposed, it will bring down all sorts of benedictions.”
(Source: Exposition of the Image or Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
Also, you can learn more about the unique symbolism of the Sacred Heart image and meditate more deeply on the beautiful aspects of the sacred image, the flames, the rays of light, the arrows and the pierced wound, the crown of thorns, and the cross.
Eucharistic Adoration & Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
In the Eucharist, we encounter the Heart of Christ. Making frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is a beautiful expression of love, and it consoles His Heart. Jesus shared with St. Margaret Mary that He wanted her to make a holy hour each Thursday to remember His bitter agony in the Garden of Olives. On that night, He said to his disciples, “My Heart is filled with sorrow to the point of death. Could you not watch one hour with Me?” (Mk 14:34). We can grow in devotion to His Sacred and Eucharistic Heart by going to Eucharistic Adoration, especially by making a holy hour on Thursdays. Adore His Eucharistic Heart, spend time with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.
“I have a burning thirst to be honored by men in the Blessed Sacrament, and I find hardly anyone who strives, according to My desire, to allay this thirst by making Me some return of love.”
– Words of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary
“O Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, and our dear Mother! O all ye holy angels, who, by your adoration in our churches, make up for the little love which your God and our Saviour receives from men, obtain for us the grace to comprehend a little the love of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament.”
– St. Margaret Mary Alacoqe
First Friday Devotion
La [última] comunión de Santa Teresa (The (last) communion of Saint Teresa)Juan Martín Cabezalero, 1669, Museo Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid). Mass officiated by San Pedro de Alcántara is mentioned, attended by Saint Teresa of Jesus, and during which Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua appeared to act as deacon and subdeacon respectively.
Jesus revealed to Saint Margaret Mary His human Heart and the coldness and ingratitude He suffered from many. Growing in a devotion to the Sacred Heart includes going to Confession and receiving Holy Communion often and fervently. We can especially participate in this devotion by attending Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion on the First Friday of each month, making reparation for the sins committed against His Sacred Heart and the Holy Eucharist.
“The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.” – 12th Promise
Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Welcome His Heart into your home. The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a means to express how Jesus is King and Center in the home and in the family. This practice is how these promises can be fulfilled:
“I will establish peace in their homes.” – 2nd Promise
“I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.” -9th Promise
St. Margaret Mary writes to the desire of our Lord: “He will shower them in abundance on every place where an image of this loving heart shall be exposed to be loved and honoured. By this means He will reunite broken families and assist and protect those in any necessity. He will spread the soothing unction of His ardent charity on every religious community in which this divine image is honored.”
(Source: Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home)
If you and your family would like to enthrone your home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, please visit this page:
Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
Prayer taken from manual of prayers of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles.
A prayer to consecrate and entrust yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This prayer can also be said during the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You may want to renew your consecration with your family each year on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.
Lord Jesus Christ, today I renew my dedication to Your Sacred Heart. I remember Your love for me. I pledge my love in return, placing You at the center of my heart and my family. I wish to live my life in union with You and to share in Your mission of love to all. Lord, accept this dedication and keep me always in Your Sacred Heart. Amen
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
A powerful prayer for the month of June. The Carmelite Sisters pray this litany during the month of June at the end of their daily rosary. The litany contains a total of 33 invocations, one for each year of our Lord’s life on earth. A partial indulgence is attached to this litany.
The Litany of the Most Sacred Heart is a way to express love and devotion to the Sacred Heart, His Heart which burns for love of you! Meditate on the various attributes of His Heart and, in doing so, fill your heart with a loving fire and an invigorating strength to trust in Him. This prayer said with love not only inflames our own hearts but also acts as a reparation, a way to console the Heart of Jesus, for the coldness and ingratitude from those who reject His Love. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I implore that I may ever love Thee more and more.
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lord, have mercy,
R. Christ, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us,
R. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, R. have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God, the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, One God,
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, R. have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty,
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven,
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in Whom dwells all the fullness of the divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in Whom the Father is well pleased,
Heart of Jesus, of Whose fullness we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful,
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium,
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses,
Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for sin,
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in You,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, R. spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, R. have mercy on us, O Lord.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, R. make our hearts like to Thine.
Let us pray.
Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Your most beloved Son and upon the praise and satisfaction which He offers You in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Your mercy, do You in Your great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns world without end
Novena to the Sacred Heart
This novena can be prayed at anytime of the year. Traditionally, it is prayed in May or June, nine days before the Solemnity. For additional reflections, visit this page.
Novena to the Sacred Heart
Lord Jesus Christ, today I renew my dedication to your Sacred Heart. I remember your love for me. I pledge my love in return, placing You at the center of my heart and my family. I wish to live my life in union with You and to share in Your mission of love to all. Lord, accept this dedication and keep me always in your Sacred Heart.
(Here make your petition)
Leader: Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, inspire many young hearts to consecrate themselves to You for the service of the Church in the priesthood and religious life.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.
Leader: Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity, draw us ever closer to Yourself and to each other through the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.
Leader: Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You, grant to all our deceased family, relatives and friends, and to the forgotten souls in Purgatory, the joy of eternal life.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.
Leader: Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
All: Make our hearts like unto Thine. Amen.
Reflect: “My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners.” (Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary 723). His Mercy flowing from His Heart cleanses us from our sins. Go to Jesus in the Sacrament of Confession! Let us never be afraid to run to His Merciful Heart. Jesus, I trust in You!
Reflect: Jesus says, “Abide in Me.” If we keep his commandments, we remain in Him. Living out the two great commandments (love of God and love of neighbor) fully is not done through sentimentality, but through concrete actions, aided by God’s grace. In what area of your life is God calling you to love more?
Reflect: Find an image of the Sacred Heart, and spend a few quiet moments meditating on His Heart burning for Love of you! Rest in the blessings and fruit of this meditation, and know that you are loved.
Reflect: “The more often you receive Holy Communion… the more fervent your love of God will become…” (Venerable Mother Luisita). The Lord wants your heart. Will you come to Him more often in Holy Communion, especially on First Fridays?