FRIDAY, JUNE 27: Catholics prayerfully reflect on the depth of divine love in today’s feast, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Many Catholics began preparation for today’s feast by starting a Novena to the Sacred Heart on Corpus Christi. Though general devotion to the Sacred Heart has been popular since the 11th century, specific devotions came into being after the revelation of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun of the 17th century whose visions of Christ revealed the depths of his love and the promises made to those who consecrate themselves and make reparations to his Sacred Heart.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was responding to critics of the church in her era, appealing to the faithful to focus their devotions on the overwhelming love of Christ. Since St. Margaret Mary’s revelation, devotion to the Sacred Heart has expanded around the world. (Wikipedia has details.) Pope Pius IX instituted an obligatory feast for the Sacred Heart for the entire Catholic Church in 1856. Since 2002, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus has also been the Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests.
FROM ST. FAUSTINA
TO POPE BENEDICT
In the diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska, a religious sister in the 20th century, description is found of a divine appearance, revealing to her the depths of his mercy. Years later, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in this way: “In biblical language, ‘heart’ indicates the centre of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell. In the Heart of the Redeemer we adore God’s love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy.” It is suggested that Catholics adore the Sacred Heart by adoring the Eucharist, in which Jesus Christ is present. (Learn more from Catholic Culture.)