The Sacred Heart of Jesus: The treasure of tenderness and mercy

June 7, 2024 at 5:47 a.m.
Sacred Heart, Mount Holly. Facebook photo
Sacred Heart, Mount Holly. Facebook photo

By Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

A message from Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., on the The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Our Holy Father Pope Francis has announced at his General Audience on June 5, 2024 that he is preparing a document on the Sacred Heart for release next September. He expressed his intention “to say something meaningful to a world that seems to have lost its heart.”

The heart as a symbol of love dates back to ancient times and the writings of philosophers. In the Middle Ages (12th to early 14th centuries), the heart appeared in popular artwork of the time, gradually finding a place in many religious representations associated with Christ. In the Renaissance period (late 14th to 17th centuries), depictions of references to the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” became commonplace.

Today, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the most popular Catholic traditions. It is rooted in Christ’s human incarnation as well as the fullness of his love for humankind. The “Heart” of Jesus – True God and True Man – represents his Divine and Human compassion and mercy.

In 1353, Pope Innocent VI created a Mass honoring the Sacred Heart. In 1670, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, with a Mass and Divine Office, was established in France by Father later St. John Eudes (1601-1680). Three years later, French Sister later St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) reported visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to her superior shortly after Christmas, telling her that Jesus allowed her to rest her hand upon his beating heart.

In the course of these visions, Jesus told Sister Margaret Mary how his Sacred Heart should be honored with prayer, Eucharistic Adoration and reception of Holy Communion of the First Friday of each month. Additionally, acts of consecration, reparation for sin and devotion to the Sacred Heart were prescribed. The feast day, raised to the rank of Solemnity, is celebrated 19 Days after Pentecost, always on Friday. Representing Divine love for all humanity, the month of June is annually dedicated to the Sacred Heart. This year, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on Friday, June 7.

Let us pray. Jesus, gentle and humble of heart. Touch our hearts and make them like your own. Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts. Amen.


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A message from Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., on the The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Our Holy Father Pope Francis has announced at his General Audience on June 5, 2024 that he is preparing a document on the Sacred Heart for release next September. He expressed his intention “to say something meaningful to a world that seems to have lost its heart.”

The heart as a symbol of love dates back to ancient times and the writings of philosophers. In the Middle Ages (12th to early 14th centuries), the heart appeared in popular artwork of the time, gradually finding a place in many religious representations associated with Christ. In the Renaissance period (late 14th to 17th centuries), depictions of references to the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” became commonplace.

Today, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the most popular Catholic traditions. It is rooted in Christ’s human incarnation as well as the fullness of his love for humankind. The “Heart” of Jesus – True God and True Man – represents his Divine and Human compassion and mercy.

In 1353, Pope Innocent VI created a Mass honoring the Sacred Heart. In 1670, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, with a Mass and Divine Office, was established in France by Father later St. John Eudes (1601-1680). Three years later, French Sister later St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) reported visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to her superior shortly after Christmas, telling her that Jesus allowed her to rest her hand upon his beating heart.

In the course of these visions, Jesus told Sister Margaret Mary how his Sacred Heart should be honored with prayer, Eucharistic Adoration and reception of Holy Communion of the First Friday of each month. Additionally, acts of consecration, reparation for sin and devotion to the Sacred Heart were prescribed. The feast day, raised to the rank of Solemnity, is celebrated 19 Days after Pentecost, always on Friday. Representing Divine love for all humanity, the month of June is annually dedicated to the Sacred Heart. This year, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on Friday, June 7.

Let us pray. Jesus, gentle and humble of heart. Touch our hearts and make them like your own. Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts. Amen.

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