“The Divine Heart is an ocean full of all good things, wherein poor souls can cast all their needs; it is an ocean full of joy to drown all our sadness, on ocean of humility to drown our folly, an ocean of mercy to those in distress, an ocean of love in which to submerge our poverty” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is, primarily, a devotion to Christ’s love for us, mediated through the image of his physical heart. Christians have always celebrated Christ’s great love for mankind, and, in this way, it is possible to say that a devotion to the Sacred Heart has always existed. The Sacred Heart is a way of elucidating and demonstrating God’s love in a physical way that humans can understand. A mother, for instance, might tell her child, “I love you with my whole heart,” but that would not be an accurate measure of her true affection for the child, rather it is a metaphor that the child can understand. And this is, more or less, the reason for the devotion to the Sacred Heart; Jesus’ heart is a symbol for the immensity and depth of God’s love for mankind. The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary seems to naturally follow from the devotion to the Sacred Heart. The Immaculate Heart is a representation of all of the purity and perfection that exists within Mary’s being.
This particular devotion became much more prevalent after Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque between the years 1673-1675. In these visions Christ delivered to her the twelve promises to those who are devoted to his Sacred Heart. The devotion spread rapidly, and on June 11th 1899, Pope Leo XIII officially dedicated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The act of enthroning the Sacred Heart in one’s home, which many families in our area have recently performed, stems from the promise Our Lord made to St. Margaret Mary: stating, “I will bless every home in which an image of my heart is exposed and honored.” Many families, as well as single people, practice this devotion in hopes of gaining the grace and peace mentioned in the other Promises. The enthronement of the Sacred Heart is, however, first and foremost a physical sign that Christ’s love is the center of the home, as well as the hearts of those who dwell within its walls.
As Pope Pius XI said, “Is not a summary of all our religion, and moreover a guide to the perfect life contained in this one devotion? Indeed, it more easily leads our minds to know Christ the Lord more intimately and more effectively turns our hearts to love him more ardently and to imitate him more perfectly.”
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!