Devotion to the Sacred Heart

 Some thoughts about the
Devotion to the Sacred Heart[1]
8th June 2018

 sacred heart 2 

 An Associate shares some thoughts on Devotion to the Sacred Heart

The  devotion to the Sacred Heart  is one of our most important ways of getting to know Jesus, the human being and second person of the Trinitarian God. The heart is the core of our being, the center of our emotions and desires. It can be considered the center of all spirituality, the place of all love. That is why the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we celebrate 19 days after Pentecost, is such an important one for many Roman Catholics.

Summarizing the Catechism:-

Devotion to the Sacred Heart calls for a fundamental attitude of conversion and reparation, of love and gratitude, of commitment and of dedication to Jesus, and his saving work of salvation.

We are encouraged to participate in this devotion by focusing on Religious Images, reading and reflecting on Scripture, connecting with the mysteries of our faith, and on the importance of the love of God and Neighbor.

As a child growing up in our family home, like most catholic families, we had a picture of the Sacred heart hanging prominently in our house. It showed the Post Easter Jesus with a heart crowned with thorns, radiating light, a hand raised in blessing and a face with a gentle and compassionate expression. It was an image that helped draw me to prayer. The heart of Jesus is, for Pope Francis, the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy. It represents the center and the source from which the whole of humanity has been given life.

Within the Bible the human heart is mentioned almost 300 times. In essence it says: the heart is that spiritual part of us where our emotions and desires dwell. What is beautiful about this is that there are so many references to the heart of Jesus. Many of them speak of the heartfelt compassion of this human yet divine being. Jesus encourages us to go to him when we are feeling heavily burdened; he will give us rest. He wants us to learn from him because he is "meek and humble of heart' (Mt 11:28-29). When Jesus meets a woman in Nain, as she is about to bury her son, he is moved by great compassion for her (Lk 7:13). This 'compassion' is God's love for humanity. It is mercy in all its fullness. It is not sentimental but the attitude of God who is in contact with our vulnerability, our suffering, our anguish and our pain. The mercy of God in this instance raises the son from the dead. This mercy stems from a merciful heart, a heart that always waits for us, ready to heal our inner wounds, to forgive our sins...all of them. In a world where there is so much pain and suffering, sin and division, a God with a merciful heart is worth spending time with, worth being devoted to.

This devotion to the Sacred Heart has been fostered by The Society of the Sacred Heart, founded in Paris in 1800 by Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat[2]. The Society’s charism, or particular call in the Church, is to discover and to communicate the love of Jesus.

From very early times there has been an ever deepening understanding of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As we strive to appreciate the great mystery it contains, we grow more fully in our desire to live this mercy, this compassion, this love of God in our relationships.

In our families and neighbours and the wider world all need to experience the love which flows from the heart of God. In Jesus, God has opened a heart where love is ever faithful and true. We who experience this in the Eucharist, in our prayer, in the sacramental life of the church, are given the grace to let this love flow from us so that everyone can come to know the mercy and the compassion of Jesus. We are invited to enter in so that we may experience it in all its fullness.

The Society of the Sacred Heart is adapting to changing circumstances to enable it to fulfil its purpose. The movement named “Associates of the Society of the Sacred Heart”[3] is a response to the on-going changes in the needs of both lay people and sisters. It is a mutual support for the development of both spirituality and ministry in an increasingly materialistic world.

 Reflective Questions:-

1. With the decline in the number of Consecrated Religious Sisters, the Religious might ask themselves what do they see is the future role of the Associates.

 2. With the faithful attendance of Associates at their monthly meetings, the Associates might ask themselves what do they see is the future role of the Sisters?

 3. How can the Sisters and Associates work together to increase their support for each other in the development of both spirituality and ministry in an increasingly materialistic world.

 One of the famous quotes of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat:

"Be humble, be simple, and bring joy to others."



[1] This Article has been adapted from Sarah Adams essay ‘My heart goes on and on…Devotion to the Sacred Heart’ published in the Reality Magazine, June 2018, Redemptorist-Communications, Ireland. 


[3] This article has been prepared by Noel Moran, an “Associate  of the Society of the

Sacred Heart”, based in Killiney, Co Dublin, Ireland.