St Francis Q&A

Friday, June 19, 2009

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

1) Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are invited!!

2) Please pray for the seven men to be ordained priests tomorrow for the Archdiocese of Washington, one of whom will probably be assigned to St Andrew’s for a time.

The following is from Butler’s “Lives of the Saints” for today’s solemn feast of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:

The Roman Breviary tells us that this Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the result of a steady growth in man’s devotion to the love of the Redeemer. From early days, the Fathers and Doctors and Saints of the Church have celebrated the merciful love that brought Christ to earth as our saviour. They called the wound in the side of Christ the “open treasury of all graces”.

With the Middle Ages the humanity of Christ became the object of a tender piety on the part of many contemplative souls who venerated the Heart of Christ wounded with love for men. Hardly an order or religious group existed where this love did not have devoted witnesses. Then, as heresies tried to divert faith from the Eucharist, the devotion to the Sacred Heart began to be manifested publicly. St. John Eudes is considered the author of the liturgical cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

God Himself, however, established this devotion in a definite form when He appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation Nun, in the latter part of the seventeenth century. Our Lord then showed her the riches and desires of His heart and complained that He received nothing but ingratitude from men. He ordered her to have established a feast in honor of His Sacred Heart on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi. In this way, the insults and injuries offered His Heart might be expiated. There were great obstacles to be overcome in carrying out the plans but finally in 1765, Pope Clement XIII approved. Then, like a mighty river sweeping to the sea the devotion grew. Pope Leo XIII dedicated the human race to the Sacred Heart, and Pope Pius XI raised the Feast to the rite of the first class, with an octave, and ordered an act of reparation to be recited in all the churches of the world.

In the private revelations made to St. Margaret Mary, Our Lord made many promises in favor of those who honored His Heart. Among these is one which has given rise to the devotion of the First Friday Communions. In favor of those who received Holy Communion on nine successive First Fridays, the Savior promises “I will be their assured refuge in their last moments.”

Reflection. – The spirit of expiation or atonement has always played a chief part in the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Let us then add to the acts of praise and satisfaction which Christ in the name of sinners has presented to God, our own acts of praise and satisfaction. In this way we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart, which is being wounded continually by the sins of thankless men.


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