Category Archives: Sacred Heart of Jesus

Follow the pattern Christ set before us: see in the Heart of Jesus an inexhaustible mercy

Allegory of the Cross TGaddi.jpgConsider, as people redeemed, who it is that hung on the Cross for you; how great and extraordinary he is whose death enlivens the dead and whose passing made heaven and earth groan and the hard stones split.

The Church was to be formed from the side of Christ as he slept on the Cross, and in this way the Scripture was to be fulfilled which reads: “They shall look on him whom they pierced.” To this end, God ordained that a soldier’s lance should open Christ’s sacred side and that blood and water should flow forth. Then, as from a fountain–Christ’s inner-most heart–the price of our salvation would pour down out, giving to the Church’s sacraments the power of conferring grace and of being for those who live in Christ a drink of the living water “that gushes up for eternal life.”
Rise, then, friends of Christ. Be like the dove “that builds her nest in the crevice.” “Like the sparrow that finds a home” there, be watchful; set your mouth to it and “draw water from the fountain of the Savior.” For this is “the spring that emerged from the center of paradise”; dividing into four streams, it enters devout hearts, and waters and fructifies the whole earth.
Run to this fountain of life and light.Be filled with desire, and in your heart’s depths cry to him: “Beauty of the most high God! Pure radiance eternal light! Life shedding your radiance before your throne ever since the light before first began! Eternal and inaccessible, clear, sweet stream from a fountain hidden from mortal eyes! Bottomless depth, topless height, endless breadth, imperturbable purity!”
From this source flows the stream “that gladdens the city of God.” “With exultant praise” let us sing songs to you, for we know from experience that “in you is the fountain of life, and in your light we shall see light.”
From the reflections on The Tree of Life by Saint Bonaventure

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart icon.jpg

Lord Jesus Christ, I want to give myself to you completely.
When I see your Sacred Heart, I reflect upon your love. You came from the Father
taking a human body with a human heart. You taught us to love God with all our
hearts. You suffered and died to save us from sin and death. As you hung on the
cross, your Heart was pierced by a lance. Out of it poured blood and water to
signify the birth of your Church.

You rose from the dead, Jesus, to live forever with your
Father in Heaven. But your Heart is still full of love for us. You still feel
pain when your people reject or ignore your love. You want us all to live
forever with God.

I now consecrate myself to your Sacred Heart, Jesus. You are
the Son of God who I love with all my heart. I offer you my body, my soul, my
mind, and my heart. Receive me, make me holy, make my heart like your Heart,
and guide me in the way of perfect love today and every day of life. Amen.

For more information on the Apostleship of Prayer 

For more devotions on the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Wisdom and knowledge unfold in the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The great feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and with that the opening of the Year of the Priest (June 19), ought to be a time for us to focus on our study and prayer on the mercy and medicine offered to us by the Lord. Why is this feast an apt time for us to focus our energies on the theology of the Sacred Heart? Because as the psalmist says, seek His face; it is a true school of the Lord’s love. I believe, as you might, that the feast of the Sacred Heart is a propitious time to come to understand the wisdom and knowledge of the Divine Heart.

Father Richard Neilson’s 1988 article “The Sacred Heart and the Eucharist” is a good place to start.

What does the Sacred Heart of Jesus mean to you?

I’ve been reading some of the issues of America Magazine, a Jesuit weekly. Frankly, it is a chore to do so. The Jesuits are often too snarky without reason and not all that insightful for my taste. Of course, today I found a rather good article to think about (see the following) regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It was a surprise. Something so “quaint” as the Sacred Heart is rather surprising the pages of America these days even knowing that the precursor to America is The Messenger of the Sacred Heart. (Jesuit Father John J. Wynne changed the name in 1909 to make the magazine more “intelligent.”) Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think the devotion to the Sacred Heart is old-fashioned at all. As the author points out, the Lord communicated His desires to Sister -later Saint–Margaret Mary to make this act of reverence known. It is, therefore, a request of the Lord Himself to spend time in loving adoration of Him. Hence, I think it ought to be promoted regularly and with sensitivity to beauty. There is great respectability in the adoration of the Sacred Heart which needs to be recovered in our daily living. But, is your heart in it? Are you willing to go deeper, perhaps make a consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?


Heart of the Matter

Rediscovering a time-honored devotion


By David M. Knight

America Magazine

November 10, 2008


There was a time when devotion to the Sacred Heart needed no introduction. Not any more. Many people today have never even heard of it. Should we try to revive it or let it die?


Before answering that question, let us recall that at least two popes have written encyclicals presenting this devotion as “no ordinary form of piety” but rather “a summary of all our religion.” These are strong words. Four popes have been calling for a “new evangelization.” What better time to launch a revival of the devotion to the Sacred Heart than during the Year of Paul, which began on June 29, 2008?

The devotion to the Sacred Heart as we know it today began with a vision of Christ given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673 at Paray-le-Monial, France. In that vision the heart of Jesus was visible, on fire with love, pierced by a lance and thorns. Christ’s words were, “See the heart that has loved so much and receives so little in return.” Christ’s desire was to focus people’s attention on his love. He asked that individuals and families display a picture of his Sacred Heart in their home.

The devotion encouraged people to begin each day with a morning offering, to consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart and dedicate themselves to making reparation through prayers and penance for the failure of people to respond to Christ’s love. Devotion to the Sacred Heart encouraged frequent Com-munion and adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, especially during a holy hour before the first Friday of every month, in order to promote “a truly grateful love for Jesus.”


How might each of these elements be practiced today in ways consonant with the progress Catholic spirituality has made since the 17th century?


Sacred Heart4.jpgThe Image


Focusing on the image of the Sacred Heart should recall us to a deeply personal relationship with Jesus Christ as the very center of our spirituality. We need to live and experience our religion, not as a system of laws and practices, but as a spirituality of exciting, personal and even passionate interaction of love and friendship with Jesus. Christianity is a religion of love aroused by an awareness of God’s love for us first. In St. Paul’s words, it is the “love of Christ” that “urges us on.”




The act of consecration fundamental to Christian life is baptism. We need to deepen our understanding of the commitments inherent in the sacrament that made us Christians, until we all say with St. Paul, “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). This is the mystery of our identity as Christians. The image of the Sacred Heart reflects the promise of the Christian identity bestowed by baptism. Contemplating that image should lead us to live as the saving Christ, fired by his love. This means inviting Jesus constantly to act with us, in us and through us to “save” and lift up all of our activities and engagements–at home, at work, in our social and civic life.


Our act of consecration and morning offering are combined in the ongoing affirmation of our baptismal promises: “Lord, I give you my body. Live this day with me, live this day in me, live this day through me.” We extend this by repeating the WIT prayer before everything we do: “Lord, do this with me; do this in me; do this through me.”



Sacred Heart3.JPGReparation to the Sacred Heart is realized in the prayers and penances we offer to Jesus to make up for the failure of people to respond to his love. For ordinary Christians leading busy lives in the world, the most practical form reparation can take is repair work. We need to respond effectively to the landslide loss of faith among those around us, to the distressing defection of Catholics who no longer attend Mass and to the uncritical acceptance of the distorted values of our contemporary culture, including the relativism that Benedict XVI has called the “greatest threat to faith in our day.” We need to recognize and resist the implicit idolatry of so many for whom religion is just a part, and not even the most important part, of their life. Our resistance should be fundamental and radical.


Baptism commits us to such a response. The minister’s words as he anointed us with chrism were, “As Christ was anointed priest, prophet and king, so live always as a member of his body.” This is our job description as Christians: to bear witness as prophets, to minister to everyone with love as priests by baptism, and to take responsibility for the transformation of society as stewards of Christ’s kingship. This is radical reparation.


As prophets we can repair the damage sin has done and is doing to the world by bearing witness to the Gospel through a lifestyle that wins people to faith. If we contemplate the contrast between Christ’s passionate love and the lukewarm response given to it by most believers, the image of Christ’s heart will motivate us to live a lifestyle radically different from the conventional expectations of our society.


Paulus VI PP.jpgPope Paul VI defined witnesses as those who “radiate faith in values that go beyond current values, and hope in something not seen, that one would not dare to imagine. Through this wordless witness, they stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live: Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way?” Witnesses are those whose lifestyle raises eyebrows.


To commit oneself to a life of witness is to change one’s whole standard of morality. We would never ask again just whether something is right or wrong, but whether it bears witness to the values of the Gospel. This is reparation that echoes the teaching of Paul: “If with Christ you died [in baptism]… why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?…. Live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (Col 2:20).


As priests by baptism we say in our hearts to every person we encounter, “This is my body, given for you; my flesh for the life of the world.” The contemplation of Christ’s heart, wounded by the denial of love, leads us to recognize those same wounds now borne by others; it motivates us to make reparation through the healing ministry of love.


It is not just the heart of Christ that is wounded by the absence of love in the world; all of us are. People sin because they are not loved. People sin seeking love. People live mediocre lives because they feel they are only moderately loved. People do not respond to God with passion because they do not believe God loves them with passion. And they do not believe this because they do not experience the passionate love of Jesus reaching out to them in the visible members of his body.


The problem with the world is that the church does not love enough. The heart of Christ is not a vivid presence in today’s world, because it is not sufficiently visible in his body on earth. The Sacred Heart needs to be seen as a living heart, full of love for living people.


When we “presented our bodies” at baptism “as a living sacrifice to God,” we pledged that we would be “sacrificed” to continue the mission of Jesus, both priest and victim. As Christians, we never deal with anyone on a purely professional or impersonal level, ignoring their humanity. Paul saw ministry as the mystery of bringing Christ to birth and to full stature in every member of the human race. Our ministry of reparation must “build up the body of Christ” in love.


As stewards of Christ’s kingship we repair what sin has done to the world. We address the social structures, policies and practices that produce environments that breed destruction and deceit.

Baptism.jpgOur baptismal anointing as sharers in Christ’s kingship makes us responsible for extending the reign of his love over every area and activity of human life on earth. This commits us to leadership, to taking the initiative in promoting the changes we perceive as desirable in family, church, business, politics, social life and neighborhood. If we love Jesus Christ and understand his love for the world, we cannot remain indifferent or passive in the face of false principles and destructive policies that block the “peace and unity of his kingdom.”


Jesus said that in devotion to his heart people will find “all the sanctifying and saving graces needed to draw them back from the abyss of destruction.” John Dear, S.J., has identified this abyss in “The Politics of the Sacred Heart,” (National Catholic Reporter Conversation Café (, 6/19/07):


Today we stand at the brink of unprecedented global destruction, global warming and global violence. This violence pushes us personally and internationally ever closer to the abyss of destruction, but the grace of the Sacred Heart–with all its burning social, economic and political implications–has the power to convert us into people of Gospel nonviolence, pull us back from the brink, and create a new world of peace with justice…. If we were to adopt the image of the Sacred Heart as our image of a nonviolent, peacemaking God, and live not just individually but communally, nationally and globally according to that nonviolent, radiant love, the world would be disarmed.


If we love Jesus Christ and share his love for the world, we will “make reparation” for the sins of the world by working against anything that delays what Paul described as God’s “plan for the fullness of time,” which is to “gather up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth” so that Christ might be “all in all.”




Adoration has always been part of devotion to the Sacred Heart, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. But adoration, in its pure form, is just wordless absorption in the awesome reality of God. In the act of adoring we do not do anything else. But most people cannot sustain this for more than a few minutes at a time. So instead of adoration we pray the Rosary, read Scripture or other books, or say other familiar vocal prayers. These are all good things to do, but they are not what the church understands by adoration.


Before we can practice adoration, we need to know the heart we are to adore. So when we invite others to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we should teach them to prepare themselves for it by learning the mind and heart of Christ. We enter Christ’s heart by letting his words abide in us: by reading and reflecting on Scripture and by making the connection constantly between what we learn and what we live.


True devotion to the Sacred Heart is not simply the repetition of certain acts; it is a profound change in consciousness that we acquire as a result of that repetition. St. Paul exhorts us, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). This is a call to discipleship: a lifelong commitment to studying the mind and heart of Christ.


Why revive devotion to the Sacred Heart?


Devotion to the Sacred Heart is not a particular devotion that needs to be revived. Rather, it is the fundamental center of all Catholic spirituality that needs to be revitalized by a “new evangelization.” If we revive devotion to the Sacred Heart in its authentic identity, we will have revived Christianity in the church. This would be a great way to celebrate the Year of Paul.


Rev. David M. Knight, a priest of the Memphis diocese and the author of more than 20 books, has taught at The Catholic University of America and at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque


Today, October 16, is the liturgical memorial of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation nun who promoted the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the request of the Lord Himself. Saint Margaret Mary’s life was filled with suffering, both physical and from interpersonal issues because of her sisters in the monastery. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, was often overcome by anguish and uncertainty but with the assistance of Saint Claude la Colombière. She was known to have died saying the Holy Name of Jesus.

Many of us heard of the promises the Lord made through Saint Margaret Mary and we may have known or have done many the things the Lord has asked without really knowing where they come from, so for our edification I have included the promises herewith:

The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary for those devoted to His Sacred Heart:

1.      I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2.      I will establish peace in their families.
3.      I will console them in all their troubles.
4.      They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
5.      I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6.      Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
7.      Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8.      Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9.      I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10.    I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
11.     Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
12.    The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of     nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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