Friday, May 30, 2008

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

"I have come to cast a fire on the earth: what will I, but that it be kindled?" (Luke 12:49)

During the first millennium of Christianity, many saints wrote with unction of the pierced side of Our Lord, from which flowed "blood and water" (John 19:34), symbolizing the sacraments of the Church. It was not until the later ages, "when the charity of many [had] grown cold" (Matthew 24:12), that Our Lord chose to reveal the hidden treasures of His Sacred Heart. The gnostic excesses of the Manicheans, the upheavals of the Protestant revolt, and the chilling exaggerations of Jansenism required as an antidote the gradual but compelling manifestations of the love and mercy of the Heart of God.

It was in the thirteenth century that mystic souls such as St. Bonaventure, St. Mechtilde, and St. Gertrude began to write explicitly about devotion to the Sacred Heart, focusing on the infinite love which pursues and surrounds us.

St. Gertrude the Great relates that in one of her many visions St. John the Evangelist said to her:
To these latter times was reserved the grace of hearing the eloquent voice of the Heart of Jesus. At this voice the time-worn world will renew its youth, be roused from its lethargy, and again be inflamed with the warmth of Divine Love. ( Love, Peace and Joy by the Reverend André Prévot)
Our Lord told St. Mechtilde:
In this wound of love, so great that it embraces Heaven and earth, unite thy love to My Divine Love, that it may be perfect; and even as iron glowing with fire becomes, as it were, one with it, so let your love be transformed and absorbed into Mine. (Ibid.)
In the early 1600's, St John Eudes and St Francis de Sales, among others, promoted the cult of the Sacred Heart. However, it was the famous apparitions of Jesus Christ to St. Margaret Mary in the 1670's and 80's that led to the widespread, public homage of the Savior's heart. Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary His desire for the establishment of a feast in honor of His Heart, to be held on the Friday after the Corpus Christi octave, as a day of reparation. He promised special graces to those who receive Holy Communion in a spirit of reparation and penitence on the First Friday of nine consecutive months.

Jesus further requested that France, the eldest daughter of the Church, be consecrated by her king to the Sacred Heart, in order to spare the kingdom from future cataclysmic events. For several reasons, the consecration was not performed until France was in the throes of a bloody and anti-Christian revolution. In 1791, the imprisoned King Louis XVI secretly made the consecration. However, it seems the formal, public consecration of France has never taken place.

In 1856, Pope Pius IX placed the feast of the Sacred Heart on the universal calendar. Meanwhile, the storm of modernism, communism, socialism, and secular humanism broke upon the Church and the world. Our Lord said to St. Margaret Mary in 1689: "It will take time, but I will reign despite Satan and his supporters." (The Sign of Her Heart by John Haffert)

While we prayerfully await the public acknowledgment of Christ the King by the nations, let us imitate the Carmelite saints in making Jesus the King of our hearts, immersing ourselves into the unfathomable mystery of His love. In the words of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus:
If I to see Thy glory would aspire
Then I must know Thy crucible of flame

Thy burning love, Heart of my God, I claim.

Then when my soul wings upward like a dove,

Called from the earth to heaven's home of light,

May it go forth in one pure act of love,

Plunge to Thy Heart in one unswerving flight.

(Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours)
And let us pray for priests.

(Artwork courtesy of Vultus Christi) Share


Anonymous said...


When I first read Trianon, I remember closing the book and thinking for a long time all the many fruits which came from that secret consecration to the Sacred Heart which King Louis had done right before his death. Think of the many, many contemporary Saints to have come out of France, and teh many devotions: St Terese, the Little Flower and her "Little Way"; St Catherine Laboure and her devotion to the Miraculous Metal; St Bernadette adn her devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes; even St Louis de Montfort, whose True Devotion to Mary was found hidden in a monastery which had been burned out during the rampages against the Church during the French Revolution. And the list goes on. I think it is quite apparent that the Lord did indeed accept the King's efforts consecrating his country, the seed sown, which he then watered with his own blood.

I am sure there are special graces this day, that the two feasts come together--that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Joan of Arc's feast day.


Ann Murray said...

A very interesting, enjoyable and informative post which I pondered on while out a walk this fine May evening.
I like too what Georgette says about the special graces on a day such as this - special I'm sure - and many.

elena maria vidal said...

Great points, Georgette.

Thank you, Veritas.

xavier said...

Maria Elena:
Interesting. I always thought that the cult of the Sacred heart was a devotion started by St Antoni Maria Claret in the 1850s. Curiously in a booklet on Catolic culture and knowledge, it pointed out that the cult was very popular in Catalunya from 1850s-1930 just like in Quebec.

I was struck at how both regions share many similarities and the cult highlighted universal Catholic culture