Announcing the NOVENA to the SACRED HEART
BEGINS Wednesday, 19 June
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
By Ven Servant of God John A Hardon SJ (1914-2000)
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is as old as Christianity. When the side of Christ was pierced on Calvary, there immediately flowed out blood and water. The Church has interpreted this to mean, the outpouring of grace through the Church, which began the moment that Christ expired on the Cross.
Over the centuries, the gratitude of the faithful for this manifestation of divine love has centred on the physical Heart of Jesus as the symbol of God’s love for man. We may, therefore, say, that devotion to the Sacred Heart is really devotion to the love of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
When God became man, it was God – who is love – who became man. In the languages of all nations, the heart is identified with love. Consequently, our devotion to the Heart of Jesus is directed to the love of Jesus in different ways.
We love Him as our God, who has loved us from all eternity and out of selfless love brought us into existence and destined us to possess Him for all eternity.
We love Him as our God Incarnate, who loved us so much that He assumed our human nature and by His bodily death redeemed us from the eternal death we deserved for our sins.
We love Him as our Redeemer who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where He is preparing a place for us. Where He is, our God united with His human body and soul, we hope to be in His blessed company.
We love Him as our Eucharistic Lord who is on earth in His humanity, in the Blessed Sacrament. He offers Himself in the Mass through which He now communicates the graces He won for us on the Cross. By His Real Presence, He invites us to offer Him our adoring love and ask Him to work the miracles He performed during His visible stay in Palestine.
To be emphasised is the unique character of devotion to the Sacred Heart. It is nothing less than a synthesis of Catholic Christianity in its loving response to the unspeakable love of God for the sons and daughters of the human family.
For the sake of convenience, we may divide the terms “Sacred Heart” and “Devotion” into two parts:
Sacred Heart stands for the love of God, which means the love that is God, the love that God has shown for us from the dawn of creation until now and the love that God will continue to pour out on us into the endless reaches of eternity.
Devotion stands for our grateful return of love for love, which is shown in loving sacrifice by the total surrender of our wills to the mysterious and demanding will of God, in loving imitation of Jesus Christ, whose virtues as man, are so many manifestations of His divine attributes as God, in loving worship of Mary’s Son, who is present with His living, pulsating human Heart in the Blessed Sacrament, in loving petition for the graces that we and others, need to serve Him faithfully, here on earth and enjoy Him in the life that will never end.
A simple but very effective way of growing in devotion to the Sacred Heart, is to recite daily the very old morning offering, used for centuries within the Catholic heart:
through the Most Pure Heart of Mary
and in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world today,
I offer You all my prayers,
works, joys and sufferings of this day,
for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
I offer them for
the salvation of souls,
the reparation of sins,
the intentions of all our bishops, priests,
apostles of prayer
and our Holy Father, the Pope.
Among the promises made by our Lord to St Margaret Mary, was the assurance that, “Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be blotted out.”