From Treasury of Novenas
Devotion to the Sacred Heart, as we know it, began about the year 1672. On repeated occasions, Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun, in France, and during these apparitions he explained to her the devotion to his sacred heart as he wanted people to practice it. He asked to be honored in the symbol of his heart of flesh; he asked for acts of reparation, for frequent communion, communion on the first Friday of the month, and the keeping of the holy hour.
When the Catholic Church approved the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she did not base her action only on the visions of Saint Margaret Mary. The church approved the devotion on its own merits.
There is only one person in Jesus, and that person was at the same time God and man. His heart, too, is divine – it is the heart of God.
There are two things that must always be found together in the Devotion to the Sacred Heart: Christ’s heart of flesh and Christ’s love for us. True devotion to the sacred heart means devotion to the divine heart of Christ insofar as his heart represents and recalls his love for us.
In honoring the heart of Christ, our homage lingers on the person of Jesus in the fullness of his love. This love of Christ for us was the moving force of all he did and suffered for us – in Nazareth, on the cross, in giving himself in the blessed sacrament, in his teaching and healing, in his praying and working. When we speak of the sacred heart, we mean Jesus showing us his heart, Jesus all love for us and all lovable.
Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God’s infinite love. The human nature which the Son of God took upon himself was filled with love and kindness that has never found an equal. He is the perfect model of love of God and neighbor.
Every day of his life was filled with repeated proofs of “Christ’s love that surpasses all knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:19) Jesus handed down for all time the fundamental feature of his character: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Matthew 11:29) He invited all, refusing none, surprising friends and rivals by his unconditional generosity.
The meaning of love in the life of Jesus was especially evident in his sufferings. Out of love for his father he willed to undergo the death of the cross. “The world must come to understand that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31)
The love that Jesus bore toward us also urged him to undergo the death of the cross. At the last supper, he said, “No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
What enhances Christ’s love is the sovereign liberty with which he offered himself. He said, “This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it away from me. I lay it down of my own free will. And as I have the right to lay it down, I have the power to take it up again. This command I have received from my father.” (John 10:170-18)
Jesus loved people because they belonged to his father. Before he died he prayed, “It is for them I pray. I do not pray for the world, but for those you gave me because they are yours.” (John 17:9) He did mankind much good for God’s sake, seeing in every person a child of God and the image of his father.
He loved people for his own sake, because they were really so much in need of help, and because he wished to win them over to his teaching by his innumerable favors.
When we see Jesus lavishly offering inexhaustible treasures of compassion and mercy, we are able to conceive something of the immensity of that ocean of divine kindness and love from which the sacred heart draws these treasures for us.
The heart of Jesus never ceases to love us in Heaven. He sanctifies us through the sacraments. These are inexhaustible fountains of grace and holiness which have their source in the boundless ocean of the sacred heart of Jesus.
The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on the Friday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost.
Most holy heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer myself to you.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and obedient to your will. Grant, dear Jesus, that I may live in you and for you. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions; give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Love of the Heart of Jesus, inflame my heart.
Charity of the Heart of Jesus, flow into my heart.
Strength of the Heart of Jesus, support my heart.
Mercy of the Heart of Jesus, pardon my heart.
Patience of the Heart of Jesus, grow not weary of my heart.
Kingdom of the Heart of Jesus, be in my heart.
Wisdom of the Heart of Jesus, teach my heart.
Will of the Heart of Jesus, guide my heart.
Zeal of the Heart of Jesus, consume my heart.
Immaculate Virgin Mary, pray for me to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.