REFLECTIONS ON
THE SACRED HEART
OF JESUS

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AS A PODCAST HERE

(Please note: this webpage is based on a compilation of four pages from our site that we've linked below.)

Would you like to have a heart-to heart encounter with our Lord? Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are a wonderful part of a devotion to His Sacred Heart that goes back centuries, practiced by such luminaries in our faith as St. Gertrude, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis De Sales, and St. John Eudes. 

This devotion stems in part to church approved private revelations our Lord gave St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French Nun and mystic in the 17th century, in which He made known to her His desire for us to show love and devotion to His Sacred Heart.

He conveyed His wishes for this to St. Margaret Mary in a number of apparitions concerning this devotion  from 1673-75. She became a driving force behind spreading it publicly in the manner we know today.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a powerful way of drawing closer to our Lord by joining our hearts to His Sacred Heart in a spirit of love, trust, adoration, and most importantly, reparation for the many sins and insults He has endured.

In honoring Jesus’ Sacred Heart we acknowledge just how much He loves each and every one of us. Indeed, He loved you enough to die for you on the Cross at Calvary!

Jesus complained to St. Margaret Mary of the coldness and ingratitude he received just from Christians alone, much less from the rest of humanity, considering all He did in opening up the gates of heaven for us in His Passion so that we might have Eternal Life! 

Interestingly enough, Jesus provided us with a remedy for the spiritual lassitude He lamented in what has been called His Great Promise, a special devotion to His Sacred Heart he revealed to St. Margaret Mary that involves faithful Catholics taking Communion in a state of grace onnine consecutive First Fridays of each month.

These promises were revealed in one of many private revelations that Jesus gave St. Margaret Mary. Our Lord promised the following:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.

2. I will establish peace in their families.

3. I will comfort them in their trials.

4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death.

5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent.

8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.

9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.

12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Speaking of Fridays, the Church also has a Feast day marking the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus that falls 19 days after Pentecost, on a Friday almost always in June. During the month of June the church focuses with loving reverence on the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

For those of you on a hectic schedule, there are short prayers to the Sacred Heart that can help you to receive comfort and strength from Jesus with just a few words, such as these taken from a previous webpage and podcast:

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere.

Sweet Heart of my Jesus, grant that I may always love You more.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Your love for me.

Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my love.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I give myself to You through Mary.

Sweetest Jesus, hide me in Your Sacred Heart. Do not permit me to be separated from You. Defend me from the evil foe.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your kingdom come!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, let me love You and make you loved.

Heart of Jesus, burning with love for us, set our hearts on fire with love of You.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like Yours.

I’d also like to offer this short prayer of reparation to our Lord below that that you can say before communion as it becomes available again once more, God willing, in what I hope and pray is the aftermath of this horrible Coronavirus pandemic. It is easy to memorize. 

Jesus expressed to St. Margaret Mary His ardent desire for us to get closer to Him through His Sacred Heart by receiving Holy Communion. He is most present to us then, as the Eucharist encompasses our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity!

My dearest Lord Jesus, I will now receive this Holy Communion for love of Thee, in atonement for all the coldness and for all the sins whereby mankind has ever offended Thee in the Sacrament of Thy Love. Amen.

While Communion is a prime aspect of this devotion, honoring our Lord in his Sacred Heart in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament is also quite important.

Jesus showed St. Margaret Mary His Sacred Heart on fire for love of us, such as in this depiction shown above, with a cross above it and thorns around it reminding us of His Passion and His great love being unrequited by much of humanity.

This wonderful well-known image of His Sacred Heart is often depicted with the fire of His love for us emanating from two flames protruding at the top of His Sacred Heart. Our Lord clearly wishes us to identify the intensity of His love for us with His burning heart. 

There are symbols of His Passion in the Sacred Heart as well, both in the Cross which surmounts it and the thorns which surround it. The thorns symbolize Christ’s sorrow over all the ingratitude He’s been shown by mankind over His Passion. (Remember also that His Sacred Heart was pierced with a lance upon His death on the cross.)

And yet this image conveys Christ’s triumph as well. The cross is a symbol of His victory over sin and death. We also see rays of light emanating from His Heart suggesting rays of love for fallen humanity, a love just waiting to be requited by our repentance of sins and trust in Him to see us through good times and bad!

Clearly our Lord sees the human heart as vital not just for the body (in sustaining our lives) but also, equally importantly, if not more so, for the soul! Jesus clearly thinks of the heart as being a driving force, if not the driving force, of our will and our capacity to love Him and each other. 

There are numerous references in the Gospels to Jesus' seeing the heart as the true mirror of the soul, the x-ray of our intentions, as it were. As He states in the Sermon on the Mount “where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be” (Matt 6:21).

Thus, as mentioned earlier, it is quite fitting that Jesus sought to have a special feast day established to His Sacred Heart. When St. Margaret Mary was before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament one day, He showed her His Divine Heart, saying: “Behold this Heart which has so loved men, that it has spared nothing, even to the exhausting and wearing itself out, to manifest to them its love; and in recompense, I receive for the most part only ingratitude, contempt, irreverence, sacrilege, and the indifference which they show Me in this Sacrament of love.”

Our Lord then asked for that special feast day also mentioned earlier, to honor His Sacred Heart in communion“by devout acts of reparation and satisfaction” for these indignities. He continued: “I promise that My Heart shall expand in order to shed abundantly the influence of its Divine love on all those who shall thus render it honor.” 

In this regard, it’s a good idea as well to have a picture of Our Lord showing His Sacred Heart, such as the one above, in your home. This can help give you His strength and support. So can saying a short prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, such as one of the ones I recited earlier, in the midst of a busy day.

This devotion can increase our capacity for love, and not just for Jesus by any means! Pope Leo XIII, who consecrated the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899, called the Sacred Heart of Jesus “a symbol and clear image of Jesus Christ's infinite love, a love which impels us to love one another.” 

Or as Pope John Paul II put it in broader terms, "The heart-to-heart with Jesus broadens the human heart on a global scale."

Jesus clearly wishes devotion to His Sacred Heart to enkindle in us, as we say in the Prayer to the Holy Spirit, the fire of His love! As we often see in scripture, He was not one to express himself in a tepid or indifferent manner.

For example Christ says in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 12:49) “I have come to cast fire on the earth”, a fire of blazing love and zeal for Him and His Gospel message. Such fervor could be quite engaging. As the two disciples asked themselves after seeing our Lord on the road to Emmaus: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking on the road and explaining to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)

Clearly there’s nothing lukewarm about Christ’s love! As both God and man, Jesus has a heart just like ours, capable of feeling love, joy and sadness just as we can, but on a much grander scale, of course!

God doesn’t just love. He is love! (1 John 4:8) He sees each of our souls as if they were High Definition images with nothing hidden. 

And He desires our love just as intensely! Christ sees us in HD and loves us in HD! We can requite our love for Him through partaking of his graces in the sacraments, as they become more available, and through prayer, fasting, and following His commandments. 

If this sounds like too tall an order as you deal with life’s daily struggles and vexations, especially nowadays, remember that our Lord wants to help you cope with them as needed as much as possible.

Talk to Jesus as you would a friend in prayer or in your own words. Tell Him you love Him. Ask for His help in doing His will. Express your gratitude for His blessings. Or tell Him about all your frustrations over everything going wrong in your life or in this crazy world! Vent to Him, he can handle it. Just don’t turn away from Him, especially now.

Mother Teresa once said that God did not call her to be successful, but rather faithful. That applies to all of us as well! The main thing is to keep in touch with Him and keep trying to live in His love! 

St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that while one might find the courage to sacrifice his life for a good person, Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Rom 5:7-8). And keep in mind as well that He would have made that same sacrifice just for you alone! 

Speaking of sinners, in line with our focus on Jesus’ Sacred Heart, our Lord once told Sister Josefa Menendez, a Spanish nun in the 1920’s, that, as He put it, “My heart cannot contain the ardor with which It longs to impart Itself, and deliver Itself over, and remain always with sinners [all of us]. How I long for them to open their hearts to Me, to enclose Me in them, and that the fire that consumes Mine should fortify and enkindle theirs!”

In both public and church approved private revelations we get a sense of the intensity of God’s love for us. Jesus told his apostles in His Last Supper Discourse to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34 and 15:12).

And as his life was ebbing away on the cross he said “I thirst” (John 19:28), a cry that theologians over the centuries have interpreted to signify more than just a physical thirst but a profoundly spiritual one for souls, including yours and mine in what St. Alphonsus Liguori called “His ardent desire to save all mankind”!

Never forget that you were born with a God-given soul, one that our Lord values and loves no matter what your circumstances are in this life! It is also prime real estate in the battle between Christ and Satan. And Jesus doesn't want to see you lost to Him in Hell forever

In this regard, just as a reminder, despite what atheists and materialistic so-called freethinkers might claim, there is indeed an afterlife, and each of us will either spend it the unspeakable joy of Heaven or misery in Hell, depending on how we’ve responded to God’s graces in this life. 

Admittedly, many of us are in the throes of various spiritual and emotional trials, especially these days! Mother Teresa herself felt both a dryness and emptiness in serving God at various times throughout her life.

That is by no means uncommon, both for religious and the laity alike. Our prayers don’t get answered. Trouble seems to be brewing all around us. There are pressures at work, or with the family or such, that are just too much to bear!  

God allows us to undergo these trials to strengthen our souls, or to cleanse them of sinful habits or inclinations. Yet, as hard as it may be to believe at times, He is very much there with us through these struggles and wishes us to help Him bring whatever good we can out of them, as well as out of evil in general. 

We are living in increasingly difficult and perilous times, both for our faith and for the world at large, and there’s probably a link between those two! It certainly feels these days as if we’re living in the times our Lord predicted when men’s hearts would grow cold (Matt 24:12). However, that could have been said during any number of brutal epochs in human history. 

Yet always remember Satan doesn’t have the last word. He didn’t at Calvary and he won’t now or ever. Stay close to Jesus in prayer and in partaking of His sacraments, even when, perhaps especially when, it seems he’s nowhere to be found, as often seems to be the case these days with so many churches closed or only slowly reopening in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Trust that though He may not seem to hear you or your prayers, God has not abandoned you either, far from it!

Each of us must try to help our Lord be a light that the darkness cannot and will not overcome (John 1:5)! As St. Margaret Mary herself once wrote: “The adorable Heart of Jesus wills to establish Its reign of love in every heart, so as to overthrow that [reign] of Satan….In spite of all opposition, this divine Heart will eventually triumph. Satan with all his adherents will be confounded. Happy will they be who have been the means of establishing His [our Lord’s] empire.”

For those times that you're feeling particularly anxious or troubled or even worthless these days, imagine the warmth and light of Jesus' Sacred Heart on fire for your love. Let our Lord give you encouragement to love Him more, and to share His love with others. That way they can see Jesus working through you!

As St. Margaret Mary once wrote "Should you find yourself overwhelmed by fear, cast yourself into the abyss of the unshaken confidence of the Sacred Heart, and there your fear will give place to love. If you find yourself frail and weak, lapsing into faults at every moment, go to the Sacred Heart and draw from It the strength that will invigorate and revive you."

And remember, in spite of all the trials and tribulations these days, God is still in charge. As we pray in the Nicene Creed at Mass "He [Jesus] will come again in Glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end". And considering His commandments are laws of love, you're not just on the winning side in the battle against sin and Satan, you're on the loving side as well!

God Bless,

Christopher Castagnoli
for www.ourcatholicprayers.com


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