There are many prayers and novenas dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: for many Christians, and Catholics in particular, it symbolises the Divine Love of God for mankind. Throughout the centuries, many saints, such as St. Catherine of Siena, or St. Francis de Sales have meditated and written their thoughts on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Praying to the Sacred Heart is like contributing to build the “civilization of Love.”
What exactly are the origins of the devotion to Sacred Heart, and how to practice it?
“Not only does this mystery of God's love for us constitute the content of the worship of and devotion to the Heart of Jesus, but in the same way it is likewise the content of all true spirituality and Christian devotion. It is consequently important to stress that the basis of the devotion is as old as Christianity itself.
Indeed, it is only possible to be Christian by fixing our gaze on the Cross of our Redeemer, "on him whom they have pierced" (Jn 19: 37; cf. Zc 12: 10).” - Benedict XVI
In 1673, in the commune called Paray-le-Monial, France, Jesus appeared to Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque on the Feast day of St. John Apostle. John was “the Disciple whom Jesus loved” who laid his head on Jesus’ chest during the Last Supper.
On the day of His apparition, Jesus revealed to Margaret Mary the details of the devotion of the Sacred Heart, and unveiled His plan for her future: "I desire that you serve Me as an instrument to draw hearts to my love." He described His “Divine Heart is so full of love for all,” that, sadly, received so little love in return.
St. John Paul II stresses the importance of the devotion of the Sacred Heart for conversion. During her visions, Jesus exposed His flaming Heart to Margaret Mary, and shared with her his love she could feel its power: her own little heart was set ablaze and burned in the immense furnace of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Thus, the devotion of the Sacred Heart is one of love. More precisely, it is the cult of love, the soul of all Christianity.
Since then, the Sacred Heart Sanctuary in Paray-le-Monial has become a place of pilgrimage and spiritual retreats.
Following the visions in Paray-le-Monial, many dioceses in France and other parts of the world began to celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart on “the first Friday after the Octave of the Body and Blood of Christ,” as Jesus requested in His apparitions. But the visions and the observance of a Feast Day of the Sacred Heart was only officially recognized in 1765: after receiving many demands from bishops, priests and statesmen, Pope Clement XIII finally implemented the celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The month of June was also established as the month of the Sacred Heart, and now the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on the third Friday after Pentecost.
Born on July 22nd, 1647, Margaret Mary passed away in Paray-le-Monial on October 17, 1690. She had dreams of offering her life to God early in her life. She entered the Order of Visitation in 1671.
She was beatified in 1864, and canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
“Afterward, he asked me for my heart, which I begged him to take. He did, and put it in his own adorable Heart. Inside it, He made me see my heart as a little atom which was consumed in that burning furnace. After he drew it out like an ardent flame in the shape of a heart, he put it back in its place, saying to me: ‘Behold, my beloved, a precious pledge of my love, which will enclose in your side a little spark of its bright flames, to serve you as a heart and consume you until the last moment ... I have a burning thirst to be honored by men in the Blessed Sacrament, and I find almost no one who strives, according to my desire, to quench my thirst, returning my love.”
There are many representations depicting Christ exposing His Sacred Heart. The image of the Sacred Heart, pierced by a cross represents the suffering inflicted on Christ, that He endured for our Salvation: this image notably often features a crown of thorns encircling the heart.
The picture of the Sacred Heart, shining within the chest of Jesus Christ represents His burning love for mankind. “He assured me that He took special pleasure in being honoured under the representation of the Heart of flesh, and that He desired such representations to become public, so that the hard hearts of men might thereby be touched. He promised me that He would pour forth the gifts of His love abundantly on all those who should honour His Heart and that wherever the image of His Heart should be exposed for special veneration.” (Margaret Mary).
You too can honor the Divine Heart of Jesus, who so ardently wishes to love and save us! There exist many prayers to the Sacred Heart: you can find comfort in Him during difficult times, or simply offer yourself to Him by reciting an act of consecration or an act of reparation.
During the month of June, dedicated to the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (or whenever you want), you can pray
A novena, inspired by Padre Pio’s beautiful “efficacious prayer” to The Sacred Heart
“Eternal Father, I offer You the Heart of Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, as He offered Himself In sacrifice for me.
Please receive this offering I make to You, Like also all the desires, all the feelings, all the affections, all the movements, all the actions of this Sacred Heart. They are mine, since He immolated Himself for me, and in the future I shall only desire Him.
Please receive them in atonement for my sins, and in thanksgiving for Your goodness. Please receive them, and grant me through its merits, all the graces that I need, and especially the grace of my final perseverance.
Please receive them as many acts of love, adoration, praise that I offer to Your divine Majesty, since it is through the Heart of Jesus that You may be honoured and glorified with dignity.”
“O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore You, I love You, and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer You this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to Your will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in You and for You. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Rest your head on Jesus' heart like Margaret Mary Alacoque, and offer your heart to the furnace of love by joining a community to pray the novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
Discover the many prayer communities on Hozana to help you grow your bond with the Lord every day, and entrust yourself to the love of Jesus Christ.
Discover the spirituality of Padre Pio with a beautiful prayer community to practice his meditation.