Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The feast was requested in reparation for the ingratitude for the sacrifice that Christ made for us. This feast day also means we can eat meat today (Canon 1251), which is another reason to rejoice.
I have a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The image of Jesus and his Sacred Heart was on my fridge during my childhood. In college, the Sacred Heart helped me discern marriage as my vocation in life. After college, I prayed to the Sacred Heart to let me lose my want of marriage and for me to bear fruit during my single period. By Christmas, I did. I was completely happy and content as a single person. As blessings befall, I met my to-be husband Will a week or so later.
I prayed a Sacred Heart novena before Will and I started dating: for Will to show initiative, and for me to be content in whatever happened in the course of our relationship. In those months leading up to our engagement, it was the first relationship I felt free to love and be loved; I also felt comfortable enough that, even though we loved each other, if it did not work out, I could have broken up with him with a knowing heart. We talked about it, even, as we talked towards marriage. It was Christ alone who put such peace in my heart.
The modern devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was led by Sr. Marguerite Marie Alacoque, a French nun and mystic who lived from 1647 to 1690. She had visions of Christ and increased devotion to the Sacred Heart. If people keep this devotion, our Lord told Sr. Marguerite Marie, he promises 12 things:
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.
“And He [Christ] showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure Him all the honour and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which His heart is the source.”
— from Revelations of Our Lord to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque
Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart in 1899. The Sacred Heart novena starts, “O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of [mention the purpose of your prayer]”
Then, your intention(s), followed by an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, and ends, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you. Amen.”
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is my go-to prayer for all of the ups and down in our marriage, and I feel so grateful for the ability to stay close to his heart when I feel the winds push hard against my life.
Thank you, Jesus! Your Sacred Heart continues to change my heart.