How often have we heard that God is Love? It is not surprising then that a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus would become popular. The devotion was evident in the early church by writings of St. Justin Martyr and in the seventh century with Pope Gregory the Great. The devotion became more popular after a vision by St. Gertrude the Great. However, it became widespread after a series of visions received by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque instructing her to spread this devotion.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on the second Friday after Pentecost by the Catholic Church. It was recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is the patron saint of polio victims. She was born in 1647 in Burgundy, France. She was bedridden for five years as a child with rheumatic fever. She had a devotion to the Eucharist. Refusing marriage, she entered the Visitation convent. St. Margaret Mary was a visionary. She had a series of visions of Christ which instructed her to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When she shared her visions, she met great resistance. However, eventually the devotion was officially approved. We celebrate the feast day of St. Margaret Mary on Oct. 17. In one of her visions Jesus gave her twelve promises to those devoted to His Sacred Heart.
The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary for those Devoted to His Sacred Heart:
I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
I will establish peace in their families.
I will console them in all their troubles.
They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
Tepid souls shall become fervent.
Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.
- From Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Vision of Jesus
The devotion to the Sacred Heart includes contemplation on the wounds of Christ, especially his side pierced by a sword and the graces which flow from the Heart of Jesus, healing and forgiving souls. The wound in the heart of Jesus symbolized the wound of love: He was "pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins." (Is 53:5)
From the time of St. Margaret Mary the devotion to the Sacred Heart has steadily grown. Many prayers have been written in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The following prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can inspire us and deepen our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
O Sacred Heart of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.
I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death.
I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope for all from Thine infinite goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee.
Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee. I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite goodness, grant that my name be engraved on Thy Heart for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants. Amen.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
O Adorable Heart of Jesus, the tenderest, the most amiable, the most generous of all hearts!
Penetrated with gratitude at the sight of Thy benefits, I come to consecrate myself wholly and unreservedly to Thee! I wish to devote all my energies to propating Thy worship and winning, if possible, all hearts to Thee.
Receive my heart this day, O Jesus. Or rather take it, change it, purify it, to render it worthy of Thee; make it humble, gentle, patient, faithful, and generous like Thine, by inflaming it with the fire of Thy love. Hide it in Thy Divine Heart with all hearts that love Thee and are consecrated to Thee; never permit me to take my heart from Thee again. Let me rather die than grieve Thy Adorable Heart.
Thou knows, O Heart of Jesus, that the desire of my heart is to love Thee always, to be wholly Thine in life and in death, in time and in eternity.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I Place My Trust in Thee
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in thee. Whatever may befall me, Lord, though dark the hour may be;
In all my woes; in all my joys, though nought but grief I see, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in thee.
When those I loved have passed away, and I am so distressed, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I fly to thee for rest!
In all my trials, great or small, my confidence shall be unshaken as I cry, dear Lord, I place my trust in thee.
This is my one sweet prayer dear Lord, my faith, my trust, my love. But most of all in that last hour, when death points up above,
O sweet savior, may thy face smile on my soul set free. Oh may I cry with rapturous love...I've placed my trust in thee!
Prayer to Sacred Heart
Most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I love You. With a lively sorrow for my sins I offer You this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, and pure, and perfectly obedient to Your Will.
Good Jesus, grant that I may live in You and for You. Protect me in the midst of danger and comfort me in my afflictions. Bestow on me health of body, assistance in temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.
Act of Love to the Sacred Heart
How great, O my Jesus, is the extent of Thine excessive charity! Thou hast prepared for me, of Thy most precious Body and Blood, a divine banquet, where Thou gives me Thyself without reserve. What has urged Thee to this excess of love? Nothing but Thine own most loving Heart.
O adorable Heart of my Jesus, furnace of Divine Love, receive my soul into the wound of Thy most Sacred Passion, that in this school of charity I may learn to make a return of love to that God Who has given me such wonderful proofs of His love.
Memorare to the Sacred Heart
Remember, O most sweet Jesus, that no one who has had recourse to Thy Sacred Heart, implored its help, or sought its mercy was ever abandoned.
Encouraged with confidence, O tenderest of hearts, we present ourselves before Thee, crushed beneath the weight of our sins.
In our misery, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, despise not our simple prayers, but mercifully grant our requests. Amen.
Prayer to the Sacred Heart for the souls in purgatory
O most gentle Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on the souls of Thy departed servants. Be not severe in Thy judgments, but let some drops of Thy Precious Blood fall upon the devouring flames. And do, O Merciful Savior, send Thy holy angels to conduct them to a place of refreshment, light, and peace. Amen