|The Sacred Heart of Jesus|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church|
|Feast||19 days after Pentecost (Friday)|
|Attributes||Burning bloodied heart, surmounted with cross and thorns|
|Patronage||Apostleship of Prayer|
The devotion to the Sacred Heart (also known as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacratissimi Cordis Iesu in Latin) is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ's physical heart as the representation of His divine love for humanity.
This devotion is predominantly used in the Roman Catholic Church and among some high-church Anglicans and Lutherans. The devotion is especially concerned with what the Church deems to be the love and compassion of the heart of Christ towards humanity, and its long suffering. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675, and later, in the 19th century, from the mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart Droste zu Vischering, a religious of the Good Shepherd, who requested, in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism.
- Description 1
History of Devotion 2
Early devotion 2.1
- Saint Lutgarde 2.1.1
- Saint Mechtilde 2.1.2
- Saint Gertrude 2.1.3
- Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque 2.2
- Estelle Faguette 2.3
- Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart 2.4
- Early devotion 2.1
Papal approval 3
- Worship and devotion 3.1
- Alliance with the Immaculate Heart 4
- Institution Names 5
Sacred Heart imagery 6
- In Eastern Catholicism 6.1
Promises of the Sacred Heart 7
- Promises made to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque 7.1
- Promises made to Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart 7.2
- Scapular of the Sacred Heart 8
- Criticisms 9
- Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 10
- See also 11
- References 12
- Sources 13
- External links 14
The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus' death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.
History of Devotion
Historically the devotion to the Sacred Heart is an outgrowth of devotion to what is believed to be Christ's sacred humanity. There is nothing to indicate that, during the first ten centuries of Christianity, any worship was rendered to the wounded Heart of Jesus.
The revival of religious life and the zealous activity of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Saint Francis of Assisi in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, together with the enthusiasm of the Crusaders returning from the Holy Land, gave a rise to devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ and particularly to practices in honour of the Sacred Wounds.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart developed out of the devotion to the Holy Wounds, in particular to the Sacred Wound in the side of Jesus. The first indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart are found in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The devotion arose in the fervent atmosphere of the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries, in the world of Bernardine thought, although it is impossible to say with certainty what were its first texts or who were its first devotees.
Saint Bernard (d.1153) said that the piercing of Christ's side revealed his goodness and the charity of his heart for us. The earliest known hymn to the Sacred Heart, "Summi Regis Cor Aveto" is believed to have been written by the Norbertine, Blessed Herman Joseph (d.1241) of Cologne, Germany. This hymn begins: "I hail Thee kingly Heart most high."
From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, the devotion was propagated but it did not seem to have developed in itself. It was everywhere practised by individuals and by different religious congregations, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Carthusians. Among the Franciscans the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has its champions in Saint Bonaventure (d. 1274) in his Vitis Mystica ("Mystic Vine"), B. John de la Verna and the Franciscan Tertiary Saint Jean Eudes (1602–1680). Bonaventure wrote: "Who is there who would not love this wounded heart? Who would not love in return Him, who loves so much?” It was, nevertheless, a private, individual devotion of the mystical order. Nothing of a general movement had been inaugurated, except for similarities found in the devotion to the Five Holy Wounds by the Franciscans, in which the wound in Jesus's heart figured most prominently.
In the sixteenth century, the devotion passed from the domain of mysticism into that of Christian asceticism. It was established as a devotion with prayers already formulated and special exercises, found in the writings of Lanspergius (d. 1539) of the Carthusians of Cologne; the Benedictine Louis de Blois (d. 1566), Abbot of Liessies in Hainaut, John of Avila (d. 1569) and Francis de Sales (d. 1622).
The historical record from that time shows an early bringing to light of the devotion. Ascetic writers spoke of it, especially those of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was everywhere in evidence, largely due to the Franciscan devotion to the Five Wounds and to the Jesuits placing the image on the title-page of their books and the walls of their churches.
The first to establish the theological basis for the devotion was Polish Jesuit Kasper Drużbicki (1590-1662) in his book Meta cordium - Cor Jesu (The goal of hearts - Heart of Jesus). Not much later Jean Eudes wrote an Office, and promoted a feast for it. Père Eudes was the apostle of the Heart of Mary, but in his devotion to the Immaculate Heart there was a share for the Heart of Jesus. Little by little, the devotion to the two Hearts became distinct, and on August 31, 1670, the first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated in the Grand Seminary of Rennes. Coutances followed suit on October 20, a day with which the Eudist feast was from then on to be connected. The feast soon spread to other dioceses, and the devotion was likewise adopted in various religious communities. It gradually came into contact with the devotion begun by Margaret Mary Alacoque at Paray-le-Monial, and the two merged.
According to Thomas Merton, Saint Lutgarde (d.1246), a Cistercian mystic of Aywieres, Belgium was one of the great precursors of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A contemporary of St. Francis, she "... entered upon the mystical life with a vision of the pierced Heart of the Saviour, and had concluded her mystical espousals with the Incarnate Word by an exchange of hearts with Him." Sources say that Christ came in a visitation to Lutgarde, offering her whatever gift of grace she should desire; she asked for a better grasp of Latin, that she might better understand the word of God and sing his praise. Christ granted her request and Lutgarde’s mind was flooded with the riches of psalms, antiphons, readings and responsories. However, a painful emptiness persisted. She returned to Christ, asking to return His gift, and wondering if she might, just possibly, exchange it for another. “And for what would you exchange it?” Christ asked. “Lord, said Lutgarde, I would exchange it for your Heart.” Christ then reached into Lutgarde and, removing her heart, replaced it with His own, at the same time hiding her heart within His breast.
Saint Mechtilde of Helfta (d.1298) became an ardent devotee and promoter of Jesus’ heart after it was the subject of many of her visions. The idea of hearing the heartbeat of God was very important to medieval saints who nurtured devotion to the Sacred Heart. Mechtilde reported that Jesus appeared to her in a vision and commanded her to love Him ardently, and to honor his sacred heart in the Blessed Sacrament as much as possible. He gave her his heart as a pledge of his love, as a place of refuge during her life and as her consolation at the hour of her death. From this time Mechtilde had an extraordinary devotion for the Sacred Heart, and said that if she had to write down all the favors and all the blessings which she had received by means of this devotion, a large book would not contain them.
Saint Gertrude the Great was an early devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Book 2 of the Herald of Divine Love vividly describes Gertrude's visions, which show a considerable elaboration on the hitherto ill-defined veneration of Christ's heart. St Bernard articulated this in his commentary on the Song of Songs. The women of Helfta—Gertrude foremost, who surely knew Bernard's commentary, and to a somewhat lesser extent the two Mechthilds—experienced this devotion centrally in their mystical visions.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the form it is known today was Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690), a nun of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, who claimed to have received apparitions of Jesus Christ, the first on 27 December 1673, the feast of Saint John the Evangelist, and the final one 18 months later, revealing the form of the devotion, the chief features being reception of Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month, Eucharistic adoration during a "Holy hour" on Thursdays, and the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. She said that in her vision she was instructed to spend an hour every Thursday night to meditate on Jesus' Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- In probably June or July, 1674, Sister Margaret Mary claimed that Jesus requested to be honored under the figure of his heart, also saying that, when he appeared radiant with love, he asked for a devotion of expiatory love: frequent reception of Communion, especially on the first Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy hour.
- During the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, probably on June 16, the vision known as the "great apparition" reportedly took place, where Jesus said, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude ...", and asked Margaret Mary for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, bidding her consult her confessor Father Claude de la Colombière, then superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray.
Father de la Colombière directed Sister Margaret Mary to write an account of the apparition, which he discreetly circulated France and England. After his death on February 15, 1682, his journal of spiritual retreats was found to contain a copy in his handwriting of the account that he had requested of Margaret Mary, together with a few reflections on the usefulness of the devotion. This journal, including the account; an "offering" to the Sacred Heart, in which the devotion was explained, was published at Lyons in 1684. The little book was widely read, especially at Paray. Margaret Mary reported feeling "dreadful confusion" over the book's contents, but resolved to make the best of it, approving of the book for the spreading of her cherished devotion. Besides the Visitandines, priests, religious, and laymen espoused the devotion, particularly the Capuchins. The reported apparitions served as a catalyst for the promotion of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Jesuit Father Croiset wrote a book called The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Fr. Joseph de Gallifet, also a Jesuit, promoted the devotion. The mission of propagating the new devotion was especially confided to the religious of the Visitation and to the priests of the Society of Jesus.
On the night of 14 February 1876, as she lay in Pellevoisin dying of pulmonary tuberculosis, Estelle Faguette, a domestic servant, reportedly saw the Virgin Mary. Four days later, during the fifth apparition, Estelle seemed to be healed instantaneously. Altogether she said she experienced fifteen apparitions in the course of 1876. On 9 September the apparition drew attention to a small piece of white cloth, a scapular, resting over her chest. Estelle had seen it there before, as plain white cloth, but on this day it bore the red image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The following day the lady appeared again, saying she had come to encourage people to pray.
The final and culminating vision took place on Friday 8 December 1876, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
- You will go yourself to the prelate and will present to him this copy that you have made. Tell him to do everything within his power to help you, and that nothing would be more pleasing to me than to see this livery on each of my children. They should all strive to make reparation for the outrages my Son is subjected to in the sacrament of His love. See the graces that will be poured forth on those who will wear it with confidence and help you to spread this devotion.
Immediately following this last apparition, Estelle sought and was granted an audience with the Archbishop of Bourges, Monsignor de La Tour d'Auvergne. By 12 December 1876 she had received his permission to make and distribute copies of the Scapular of the Sacred Heart.:109
Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart
Another source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was Sister Mary of the Divine Heart (1863–1899), the countess of Droste zu Vischering and nun from the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, who reported to have received several interior locutions and visions of Jesus Christ. The first interior locution Maria Droste zu Vischering reported was during her youth spent with the family in the Castle of Darfeld, near Munster, Germany, and the last vision and private revelation was reported during her presence as Mother Superior in the Convent of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Porto, Portugal.
Based on the messages she said she received in her revelations of Christ, on June 10, 1898, her confessor at the Good Shepherd monastery wrote to Pope Leo XIII stating that Sister Mary of the Divine Heart had received a message from Christ, requesting the pope to consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart. The pope initially attached no credence to it and took no action. However, on January 6, 1899 she sent another letter, asking that in addition to the consecration, the first Fridays of the month be observed in honor of the Sacred Heart.
Her second letter included:
One might find it strange that Our Lord should ask for this consecration of the entire world and not content Himself with [that of] the Catholic Church. But His desire to reign, to be loved and glorified, and to set ablaze all hearts with His love and His mercy is so ardent that He wants Your Holiness to offer Him the hearts of all those who belong to Him by Baptism to facilitate their return to the true Church, and the hearts of those who have not yet received spiritual life by Holy Baptism, but for whom He has given His life and His Blood, and who are equally called to be one day children of the Holy Church, to hasten by this means their spiritual birth.
In the letter she also referred to the recent illness of the pope and stated that Christ had assured her that Pope Leo XIII would live until he had performed the consecration to the Sacred Heart. Theologian Laurent Volken states that this had an emotional impact on Leo XIII, despite the theological issues concerning the consecration of non-Christians.
Sister Mary of the Divine Heart died in her monastery in Portugal when the Church was singing the first vespers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 8, 1899. The following day, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In 1353 Pope Innocent VI instituted a Mass honoring the mystery of the Sacred Heart.
After the death of Margaret Mary Alacoque on October 17, 1690, a short account of her life was published by Father Croiset in 1691, as an appendix to his book "De la Dévotion au Sacré Cœur". In 1693 the Holy See imparted indulgences to the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart and, in 1697, granted the feast to the Visitandines with the Mass of the Five Wounds, but refused a feast common to all, with special Mass and Office. The devotion spread, particularly in religious communities. The Marseilles plague in 1720 furnished perhaps the first occasion for a solemn consecration and public worship outside of religious communities. Other cities of southern Europe followed the example of Marseilles. In 1726 Rome was again asked for a feast with a Mass and Office of its own; this was refused in 1729, but granted in 1765. In that year, at the request of the queen, the feast was received quasi-officially by the episcopate of France. In 1856, at the urgent entreaties of the French bishops, Pope Pius IX extended the feast to the Roman Catholic Church under the rite of double major. In 1889 it was raised by the Roman Catholic Church to the double rite of first class.
After Pope Leo XIII received several letters from Sister Mary of the Divine Heart asking him to consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he commissioned a group of theologians to examine the petition on the basis of revelation and sacred tradition. The outcome of this investigation was positive, and so in the encyclical letter Annum sacrum (on May 25, 1899) he decreed that the consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should take place on June 11, 1899. The encyclical letter also encouraged the entire Roman Catholic episcopate to promote the First Friday Devotions, established June as the Month of the Sacred Heart, and included the Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart.
Pope Pius X decreed that the consecration of the human race performed by Leo XIII be renewed each year. Pius XI in his encyclical letter Miserentissimus Redemptor (on May 8, 1928) affirmed the Church's position with respect to Saint Margaret Mary's visions of Jesus Christ by stating that Jesus had "manifested Himself" to Saint Margaret and had "promised her that all those who rendered this honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces." The encyclical refers to the conversation between Jesus and Saint Margaret Mary several times and reaffirmed the importance of consecration and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Pius IX's institution of the Feast, instructed the entire Roman Catholic Church at length on the devotion to the Sacred Heart in his encyclical letter Haurietis aquas (on May 15, 1956). On May 15, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, on the 50th Anniversary of the encyclical Haurietis aquas. In his letter to Father Kolvenbach, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the importance of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Worship and devotion
The Roman Catholic acts of consecration, reparation and devotion were introduced when the feast of the Sacred Heart was declared. In his papal bull Auctorem fidei, Pope Pius VI praised devotion to the Sacred Heart. Finally, by order of Leo XIII, in his encyclical Annum sacrum (May 25, 1899), as well as on June 11, he consecrated every human to the Sacred Heart. The idea of this act, which Leo XIII called "the great act" of his pontificate, had been proposed to him by a nun of the Good Shepherd from Oporto (Portugal) who said that she had supernaturally received it from Jesus. Since c. 1850, groups, congregations, and States have consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart. In 1873, by petition of president Gabriel García Moreno, Ecuador was the first country in the world to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart.
Peter Coudrin of France founded the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary on December 24, 1800. A religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, the order carried out missionary work in Hawaii.
Mother Clelia Merloni from Forlì (Italy) founded the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Viareggio, Italy, May 30, 1894.
Worship of the Sacred Heart mainly consists of several hymns, the Salutation of the Sacred Heart, and the Litany of the Sacred Heart. It is common in Roman Catholic services and occasionally is to be found in Anglican services.
The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic ceremony in which a priest or head of a household consecrates the members of the household to the Sacred Heart. An image of the Sacred Heart that has been blessed, either a statue or a picture, is then placed in the home as a reminder. The practice of the Enthronement is based upon Pius XII's declaration that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is "the foundation on which to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families, and nations..."
In the Roman Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart has been closely associated with Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ. In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI stated: "the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus". The Golden Arrow Prayer directly refers to the Sacred Heart.
Alliance with the Immaculate Heart
- Devotion to the Sacred Heart of JesusJohn Croiset.
- , Sisters of CarmelHeart of Jesus, Symbol of Love.
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- Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
- Annum sacrum
- Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Divine Mercy
- Immaculate Heart of Mary
V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, united substantially to the Word of God.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts.
Heart of Jesus, in whom art all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon Thee.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses.
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities.
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.
Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end.
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Eastern Orthodox Christians disapprove the actual worship of the physical heart of Jesus as being a form of naturalism and Nestorianism; The Feast of the Sacred Heart has however been inserted in certain Calendars of Western Rite Orthodoxy. Pope Pius XII's encyclical Haurietis aquas, in response to these criticisms, said that the Sacred Heart is venerated as belonging to the Divine Person of the Eternal Word and as 'a symbolic image of his love and a witness of our redemption'.
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|Sacred Heart of Jesus|
Following the claims by Estelle Faguette that the Virgin Mary had appeared to her in 1876 and requested a scapular of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a scapular of the proposed design was approved by the Congregation of Rites in 1900. It bears the representation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side, and that of the Virgin Mary under the title of Mother of Mercy on the other side.
The devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus also involve the Scapular of the Sacred Heart. Prior to the existence of a formal Roman Catholic devotional scapular, Margaret Mary Alacoque made and distributed badges bearing an image of the Heart of Jesus. In 1872 Pope Pius IX granted an indulgence for the badge.
Scapular of the Sacred Heart
Blessed Sister Mary of the Divine Heart's body, entombed for public veneration in the Church-Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Ermesinde, was found incorrupt at its first exhumation.
Blessed Sister Mary of the Divine Heart Droste zu Vischering said that in her mystical experiences Jesus Christ inspired her to built a shrine dedicated to His Sacred Heart. The imposing Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (also referred as Church of the Good Shepherd or Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) was built between July 14, 1957 and April 21, 1966, in the civil parish of Ermesinde in north Portugal, and consecrated to the Heart of Christ in fulfillment of the vow made by the nun. According to the writings of Sister Mary of the Divine Heart, Jesus had made this promise: "I will make it a place of graces. I will distribute copiously graces to all who live in this house [the Convent], those who live here now, those who will live here after, and even to the people of their relations". Jesus also promised her: "Know this, My daughter, that by the charity of My Heart I desire to pour out floods of graces through your heart over the hearts of others. This is why people will come to you with confidence; it will not be your personal qualities which will attract them, but Me. No one, even the most hardened sinner, will leave your presence without having received, in one way or another, consolation, relief, or a special grace.»
Promises made to Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will give peace in their families.
- I will console them in all their troubles.
- I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
- I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
- Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
- Tepid souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
- I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
- I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
- Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
- In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.
Margaret Mary Alacoque said that in her apparitions Jesus promised these blessings to those who practice devotion to his Sacred Heart. The list was tabulated in 1863. In 1882 an American businessman spread the tabular form of the twelve promises throughout the world, in 238 languages. In 1890 Cardinal Adolph Perraud deplored this circulation of the promises in tabular form, which he said were different from the words and the meaning of the expressions used by Saint Margaret Mary, and wanted the promises to be published in their original words.
Promises made to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Promises of the Sacred Heart
Devotion to the Sacred Heart may be found in some Eastern Catholic Churches, but is a contentious issue. Those who favour purity of rite are opposed to the devotion, while those who are in favour of the devotion cite it as a point of commonality with their Latin Catholic brethren.
In Eastern Catholicism
Religious imagery depicting the Sacred Heart is frequently featured in Roman Catholic, and sometimes Anglican and Lutheran homes. Sometimes images display beneath them a list of family members, indicating that the entire family is entrusted to the protection of Jesus in the Sacred Heart, from whom blessings on the home and the family members are sought. The prayer "O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee" is often used. One particular image has been used as part of a set, along with an image of the Virgin Mary. In that image, Mary too was shown pointing to her Immaculate Heart. The dual images reflect an eternal binding of the two hearts.
The Sacred Heart has also been involved in and depicted in apparitions such as those to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830, and appears on the Miraculous Medal. On the Miraculous Medal, the Sacred Heart is crowned with thorns. The Immaculate Heart of Mary also appears on the medal, next to the Sacred Heart, but is pierced by a sword, rather than being crowned with thorns. The M on the medal signifies the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross when Jesus was being crucified.
Sacred Heart imagery
Sacred Heart is a name used for many Roman Catholic institutions, including schools, colleges, and hospitals in many countries. It is also the name of many Roman Catholic parishes, religious orders, and stores selling Roman Catholic religious goods.
- For a list of institutions named Sacred Heart, see Sacred Heart
Popes supported the individual and joint devotions to the hearts through the centuries. In the 1956 encyclical Haurietis aquas, Pope Pius XII encouraged the joint devotion to the hearts. In the 1979 encyclical Redemptor hominis Pope John Paul II explained the theme of unity of Mary's Immaculate Heart with the Sacred Heart. In his Angelus address on September 15, 1985 John Paul II coined the term The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and in 1986 addressed the international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the devotions grew, both jointly and individually through the efforts of figures such as Saint Louis de Montfort who promoted Catholic Mariology and Saint Catherine Labouré's Miraculous Medal depicting the Heart of Jesus thorn-crowned and the Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. The devotions, and the associated prayers, continued into the twentieth century, e.g. in the Immaculata prayer of Saint Maximillian Kolbe and in the reported messages of Our Lady of Fatima saying that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be honored together with the Heart of Mary.