On the Friday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Seat and Symbol of His Burning Love for us, Love which moved Him to Die for us, in agony, on the Cross on Good Friday and also moved Him to, at the Last Supper, institute the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which, through Holy Orders and Father’s words and gestures, that once-for-all Sacrifice will be made present in our churches and offered until the end of time. Christ, of course, does not suffer any more; He just wishes us to join ourselves, in our own particular time and place, to His Sacrifice and longs to give Himself to each of us, in Communion.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart is often linked to one Saint, in particular, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque who, round about 1673, was privileged to have Jesus show her His Sacred Heart, lamenting that although He showers unlimited Love on Mankind, so many simply show ingratitude in return. Among the revelations Jesus made was what became known as the Great Promise, namely that those, who on the First Friday of nine months in a row, would receive Communion, would be granted all the Graces they needed to live a life which would bring them safely to Heaven. Of course, as we must recognise, this does not guarantee that one will get to Heaven, come what may. Rather it promises that all the spiritual assistance we need to overcome sin and move closer to God are ours for the asking; we are, of course, expected to make our best efforts to use these helps! Jesus asked for the setting up of this Feast, to make up for Man’s ingratitude.
It is significant that these visions occurred when they did because, at the time, a Heresy, Jansenism, presented God as anything but Loving, Merciful and Forgiving, but rather as someone to be feared, totally at variance with the Church’s Teachings.
In an age when the meaning of the word ‘love’ has been so distorted and debased, this Devotion is another priceless asset to us in our journey to Heaven.
The image above depicts the statue of the Sacred Heart in St. Bartholomew's church
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church