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?
Catholics (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.
During 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.”
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.”
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:
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
- I will establish peace in their families.
- I will comfort them in their trials.
- I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death.
- I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings 6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
- Lukewarm souls will become fervent.
- Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.
- I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
- I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
- The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
- 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
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.Pin It