Deacon Corner: The Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on June 11


Sacred Heart of Jesus stained glass windowOn Friday, June 11, we celebrate The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotional with a long and historic background within Christianity, and in modern times has been established as a Solemnity for the universal Church.

The Solemnity was first celebrated with a Mass in France in 1670. In 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart for the whole Church.

But the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is much older. The beginnings of a devotion of the love of God symbolized by the heart of Jesus are found in the fathers of the Church, including Origen, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Hippolytus of Rome, St. Irenaeus, St. Justin Martyr, and St. Cyprian. In the 11th century this devotion found a renewal in the writings of Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries. In the 13th century, the Franciscan St. Bonaventure’s work, “With You is the Source of Life”, began to point to the heart as the fountain from which God’s love poured into our lives.

In the late 17th century, the devotion was renewed and adopted elsewhere, especially following the revelations to St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque. The saint, a cloistered nun of the Visitation Order, received several private revelations of the Sacred Heart, the first on December 27, 1673, and the final one 18 months later. 

With You is the Source of Life — St. Bonaventure

"Beloved brethren, since it had been ordained by a merciful Providence that the Church should be formed from the side of the crucified Christ and that the words of the Scriptures be fulfilled: They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced — a soldier armed with a lance opened the sacred Breast. The Blood mingled with water, which was shed from that pierced side, was the price of our salvation. Flowing from the hidden fount of the Sacred Heart, it gave to the sacraments their power of conferring the life of grace, and to those already living in Christ a draught of the living fount, gushing forth unto life eternal.

"Arise, therefore, O soul friendly to Christ! Cease not your vigil; bring close your lips, that you may draw waters from out the Savior's fountain. Oh, how good and how pleasant it is to dwell in this most Sacred Heart. Your Heart, dearest Jesus, is the great treasure, the precious jewel which we will find in the dug field of Your sacred Body. Who is there who would throw away this jewel? Rather would I throw away all my own jewels, my thoughts and my affections, and cast my cares upon Your Sacred Heart, which will nourish me without fail. I beg of You, sweet Jesus my God, place my prayer among those that You will answer. Draw me wholly into Your Heart. For unto this end Your side was pierced, that an entrance would lie open to us. Unto this end Your Heart was wounded, that detached from worldly tumult, we would be able to dwell in it.

"But above all, Your Heart was wounded so that a visible scar would enable us to see the invisible wound of Your love. For how could the ardor of Your love be better shown than by this, that not only Your Body but even Your very Heart was pierced with a lance? Truly the wounds of the flesh showed forth the wounds of the spirit. Who is there who would not love One so loving? My dearly beloved, let us pray that the Sacred Heart may deign to wound our heart still so hard, still so impenitent, and bind it with the sweet bonds of His love."


Tags: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Solemnity

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