In the Catholic Church, the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This great feast in the Church is always celebrated on the octave day of Corpus Christi, the feast which celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ. Corpus Christi falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday (which itself falls on the Sunday after Pentecost), which means the feast of the Sacred Heart falls nineteen days after Pentecost Sunday. The following day is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so these two devotions to the hearts of Jesus and Mary are side-by-side on the liturgical calendar.
Devotion to Jesus’ Sacred Heart is perhaps the most popular in the Church today, and it had its beginning in 17th century France. In 1672, Christ appeared to a French Visitation nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Over a series of visits, Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary the importance of devotion to His Sacred Heart. He asked that His heart, wounded on the cross and continually wounded by ingratitude of men for his sacrifice for them, be venerated and adored as an embodiment of His Divine mercy and love.
Jesus especially asked that all people go to Confession and receive Holy Communion often, especially on the First Friday of each month, and that reparation be made for sins committed against His Sacred Heart and the Holy Eucharist. He also requested that the Church observe a feast day specifically for the purpose of this reparation. In 1856, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart was officially added to the liturgical calendar.
You can have a devotion to the Sacred Heart by doing as Our Lord asked, by receiving Holy Communion frequently (especially on the first Friday of each month), monthly confession, veneration of an image of His Sacred Heart, and prayers and sacrifices offered out of love for Him and for the conversion of sinners.
Jesus also gave us, through St. Margaret Mary, special promises for those who keep a loving devotion to the attribute of His infinite love for mankind as represented in His Most Sacred Heart. Below are the 12 incredible promises of Jesus to those who have a true devotion to His Sacred Heart:
12 PROMISES OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their homes.
3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.
12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
NOVENA PRAYER TO THE SACRED HEART
To be prayed on nine consecutive days
Divine Jesus, You have said, “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” Behold me kneeling at Your feet, filled with a lively faith and confidence in the promises dictated by Your Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary. I come to ask this favor: (Mention your request).
To whom can I turn if not to You, Whose Heart is the source of all graces and merits? Where should I seek if not in the treasure which contains all the riches of Your kindness and mercy? Where should I knock if not at the door through which God gives Himself to us and through which we go to God? I have recourse to You, Heart of Jesus. In You I find consolation when afflicted, protection when persecuted, strength when burdened with trials, and light in doubt and darkness.
Dear Jesus, I firmly believe that You can grant me the grace I implore, even though it should require a miracle. You have only to will it and my prayer will be granted. I admit that I am most unworthy of Your favors, but this is not a reason for me to be discouraged. You are the God of mercy, and You will not refuse a contrite heart. Cast upon me a look of mercy, I beg of You, and Your kind Heart will find in my miseries and weakness a reason for granting my prayer.
Sacred Heart, whatever may be Your decision with regard to my request, I will never stop adoring, loving, praising, and serving You. My Jesus, be pleased to accept this my act of perfect resignation to the decrees of Your adorable Heart, which I sincerely desire may be fulfilled in and by me and all Your creatures forever.
Grant me the grace for which I humbly implore You through the Immaculate Heart of Your most sorrowful Mother. You entrusted me to her as her child, and her prayers are all-powerful with You.
By Mary Thierfelder