Jesus' own large heart is aflame, but never consumed
On June 16, 1675, in an appearance to Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque, Jesus declared that she was to establish in the Church a special day of devotion to His Sacred Heart. It was to be the first Friday after the octave of the Blessed Sacrament, which falls in June. With the help of her confessor, Father de la Colombiere, the Sacred Heart devotion was officially proclaimed by the Church some years later. This year, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is on Friday, June 12.
Jesus had appeared before to Margaret Mary but on June 16, 1675, He revealed that He wanted her to promote a special devotion to His Sacred Heart.
Two other saints who were inspired to promote devotion to the Sacred Heart are St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, who started the Sacred Heart order of teaching nuns, and Sister Josefa Menendez (not officially declared a saint, but whose book, The Way of Divine Love, was approved by Pope Pius XII). Our Lord appeared to Sister Josefa numerous times, revealing His thoughts during the events of His sufferings leading up to His crucifixion.
The words of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary, the words which preceded the request for a special feast day, are words Jesus repeated again and again to Sister Josefa.
1. "Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love. In return, I receive from the greater part [of humanity] only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love” [Holy Communion]. It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of the Blessed Sacrament, be appropriated to a special feast to honor My Heart by receiving Communion on that day, and making reparation for the indignity that It [My Heart] has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of My Love on all who will render It this honor or will obtain My Heart being given this honor."
2. "And you, dear souls, why this coldness and indifference… Do I not know that family cares… household concerns… and the requirements of your position in life… make continual calls upon you?… But cannot you spare a few minutes in which to come and prove your affection and your gratitude?… spare a few moments to visit and receive [in Communion] this Prisoner of Love! Were you weak or ill in body, surely you would find time to see a doctor who would cure you? Come, then, to One Who is able to give both strength and health to your soul, and [One Who] watches for you, calls for you, and longs to see you at His side."
3. "The Blessed Sacrament is the Invention of Love. It [the Blessed Sacrament] is life and fortitude for souls, a remedy for every fault, and viaticum for the last passage from time to eternity. In it, sinners recover life for their souls; tepid souls true warmth, fervent souls tranquility…saintly souls wings to fly toward perfection…pure souls sweet honey…"
4. "Dearly loved souls, come and learn from your Model that the one thing necessary is surrender to God’s will in humble submission and by a supreme act of the will to accomplish the will of God whatever the circumstances may be. Learn from Him that all important action should be preceded and vivified by prayer, for only in prayer can a soul obtain the strength needed in life’s difficulties. In prayer, God will communicate, will counsel and will inspire."
5. "O souls that I love, I [suffered] to teach you not to faint under your burdens. Never count them as useless, even if you are unable to reckon the result. Submit your judgment and leave the divine will free to do with you whatsoever it wills…remain in My peace. I am always with you even when you do not see Me. How many times Jesus told His disciples and the mothers: ‘Let the little children come to Me, for of such is the Kingdom of God.’”
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Have Mercy on us.
Dr. Mary Kay Clark has been the Director of Seton Home Study School for more than 25 years. This article was first published in Seton Magazine and is reprinted here with permission.