In the past few weeks, I have devoted this column to creating awareness and revitalizing Catholic devotions in our parish. Devotions, as you know have deep and powerful roots in Catholic spirituality and they are heavily loaded with heavenly graces. Millions of people over the ages have found spiritual strength and growth by making various devotions part of their prayer routine. In this week’s column, I would like to focus on a tremendously powerful devotion—The Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the most well-known and most widely practiced Catholic devotions of all times. This devotion centers on the physical Heart of Jesus as a symbol of God's boundless and passionate love for humanity. On December 27th, 1673, Jesus, in an apparition to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque told her that His Divine Heart is so passionately inflamed with love for humanity. He charged her to spread this devotion so that people may receive and be enriched with it’s precious treasures of sanctifying and salutary graces that are necessary to guard us against the abyss of ruin.” In 1675, during the octave of Corpus Christi, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque received a vision which came to be known as the “great apparition” in which Jesus asked that His Sacred Heart be celebrated each year on the Friday following Corpus Christi, in reparation for the ingratitude of men for the sacrifice which He had made for them. In 1856, Pope Pius IX made the feast of the Sacred Heart into a universal celebration to be celebrated on the 19th day after Pentecost, the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi as Christ had requested. In 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and every Pope, ever since, has exhorted the faithful to turn to the Sacred Heart for needed graces.
During the Angelus on June 5th 2005, Pope Benedict XV had this to say: “In biblical language, “heart” indicates the center of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell. In the Heart of the Redeemer we adore God’s love for humanity, His will for universal salvation, His infinite mercy. Practicing devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life”. I don’t know where life is with you at this moment, but I can tell you that no matter where it is and what it may be, bringing it t