Why Is Jesus’ Heart So Sacred?

Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 27 is an important day. Can you guess what it is? Hint: it doesn’t have to do with the World Cup or the end of school year and the start of summer vacation. What is it? It’s the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As a Catholic, you’ve seen the image of Jesus depicted in many ways–kneeling in prayer, surrounded by children, as a child in the arms of St. Anthony, and dying on the cross. One of the most recognizable images is the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s the image of Jesus with His heart exposed, surrounded by thorns, with flames and a cross emerging from the top. This image of Jesus is striking and powerful. In honor of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let’s take a look at the meaning of this image. What does it symbolize? Why do we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Also, who was Margaret Mary Alacoque and what was her connection to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

What Does the Sacred Heart Symbolize?

Sacred HeartCatholics (and people in general) are visual people. Jesus knows this about us that’s why in addition to using parables to give us messages, He uses images to convey His messages. Seeing an image of the Heart of Jesus with thorns and the cross and flames certainly grabs our attention and speaks to us. He is saying, look at My Heart and see what I am feeling. The thorns around His heart are a representation of our sins and how our sinning pierces His heart. The flames and the cross serve as a reminder of the suffering He endured for our salvation and of His burning love for us. The dripping blood represents the blood Jesus shed for our salvation. That’s a pretty powerful message!

When Did This Devotion Become Popular?

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was believed to have started in the 11th century, but the devotion didn’t spread until Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun, began to receive multiple apparitions from Jesus starting in 1673. On December 27, 1673, Jesus appeared to Margaret Mary as she knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus told her of His great love for mankind and expressed His desire for her to make known His great love to all. Margaret Mary wrote that Jesus revealed to her, “the marvels of His love and the inexplicable secrets of His Sacred Heart.”

Jesus continued to appear to Margaret Mary and made revelations to her until 1675. It wasn’t until 1856, that Pope Pius IX decreed that the feast should be regularly celebrated throughout the world.

Second Revelation

Mary Margaret Sacred HeartDuring Jesus’ second apparition in 1674, He revealed His Divine Heart to Margaret Mary, and as Margaret Mary described, “presented it to me in a throne of flames, more resplendent than a sun, transparent as crystal, with this adorable wound. And it was surrounded with a crown of thorns, signifying the punctures made in it by our sins, and a cross above signifying that from the first instant of His Incarnation…the cross was implanted into it and from the first moment it was filled with all the sorrow to be inflicted on it by the humiliations, poverty, pain, and scorn His sacred humanity was to endure throughout His life and during His sacred passion.”

Third Revelation

During the third apparition Margaret Mary saw a vision of Jesus with his five wounds “shining like suns,” as He then showed her His heart on fire with love for mankind. He revealed His dismay and sadness that His unyielding love is often ignored and even treated with indifference. He asked Margaret Mary to make up for this thanklessness of so many by receiving Holy Communion often, and particularly on the first Friday of each month. Jesus expressed to Margaret Mary, “Behold this heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to the point of spending itself and being consumed to prove its love to them. And in return, I receive from most men only ingratitude because of their irreverence and sacrileges and the coldness and scorn they have for me in this Sacrament of love… “I will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; my Divine Heart becoming their assured refuge in that hour.”

Fourth Revelation

During the fourth apparition, which became known as the “great apparition,” Jesus instructed Margaret Mary that the Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated each year on the Friday following Corpus Christi, in reparation for the coldness many have towards Jesus’ infinite love and compassion.

Promises Jesus Made to Margaret Mary Alacoque

For those who celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and receive Communion on nine consecutive first Fridays, Jesus made the following 12 promises:

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life. 

  2. I will establish peace in their families.
  3. I will comfort them in their trials.
  4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death.
  5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings
6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
  6. Lukewarm souls will become fervent.
  7. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.
  8. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
  9. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  10. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
  11. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

How You Can Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Your Home?

If you haven’t become devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, make the commitment to start this June 27. In addition to receiving Communion on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and on each first Friday, consider placing a picture or statue in your home as a daily reminder of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Summertime is popular for weddings, and what better way for a newly married couple to start their journey together than with the:

Sacred Heart of Jesus House Blessing Prayer Framed Print

A House Blessing Prayer Framed Print
Hanging in their home? Attending a graduation this summer? Give the gift of faith. There are many options, including the:

Scapular Pendant

Scapular Pendant

Sacred Heart of Jesus Ruby Glass Rosary

Sacred Heart of Jesus Ruby Glass Rosary

When is the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

Mark your calendar or set a reminder on your smartphone that June 27 is a day to remember all that Jesus has sacrificed for you and of His great, unending love.

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Author: Laura Magnifico

Laura A. Magnifico is a freelance copywriter from Connecticut. She was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school from kindergarten through high school. As an adult, she continues to practice her faith and enjoys writing on Catholic topics.

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6 Comments

  1. I am an Anglican but I like the idea of the sacred heart of Christ.

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    • We said the rosary every night and had a portrait of Jesus hanging in the kitchen just like every other Irish home. What is very interesting to me now is how relevant this image is in the present time. The heart, in the ancient traditions, has always been the seat of joy and love-emotional intelligence, so to speak. The dead hand of the intellect is not a friend of this humane energy as we can see from the fraudulent workings of the modern vision- everything is a machine without a soul. The soul resides within the heart.

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  2. I had a vision of the sacred heart during my morning prayers. Not being a very devout catholic, nor knowledgeable of my family catholic tradition, I looked up its significance. I guess I’m comforted by the knowledge that I, as we all, are the central focus of divine love. I am likewise, so honored.

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    • I also had a vision of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on October 19, 2016. It was very powerful and humbling, and produced ardent Love.
      Where were you when you had your vision? I was at the church service that celebrates the Holy Communion. I had just thanked God for having this Holy legacy of the last supper still here, and still celebrated.

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      • Hi Pat! I have a cousin by the name of Pat Miller, she lives in Wisc. as I also do. I too have had a few visions of our dear Lord and Savior, He is also my Friend, what a Friend I have in Jesus. My 2nd to the last vision was of Jesus throwing a large blanket and it covered me completely, Praise God what a blessing. I told Him that we not only have a Savior but we have a Comforter! and another thing I knew at the time that this blanket covered our whole family of which we have 114 at present. we have 13 children and 47 grand children and 28 great grandchildren. My Dear wife and I have been married 66 years this coming June. Praise God and we are still in Love because of His Great Love!
        Pat may the Dear Lord continue to bless you and keep you.

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  3. I had a dream, I think it was a dream but i thought i had woken up, I saw the Sacred Heart surrounded by thorns .Just beside it I saw an image of Jesus face .I had started praying the novena of surrrender to Jesus a few days before and have a great sense of peace.

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