Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, Heart of Jesus Tabernacle of the Most High, Heart of Jesus , burning Furnace of charity, Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts, Heart of Jesus patient and abounding in mercy, Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mary, Heart of Jesus, Salvation of all those who hope in you, Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints—- all of these most sublime expressions are gleaned from one of the most famous of all Litanies, the “Litany of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus”.
Of all the Catholic devotions, devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, related intimately to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, ranks as one of the highest on the list of honor, devotion, and praise!
May is for Mary; October is the month of the Rosary; July, we honor the most Precious Blood of Jesus; November, in a special way, we pray for the deceased—the souls in Purgatory. However, June is the month, set apart for devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; and the 3rd Friday in June is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; the Saturday following, is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The charism of the Dominicans is to spread devotion to the most Holy Rosary; the Jesuits have as one of their charisms, to make known and loved the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
What might be specific ways that we personally can enhance and foster our love and devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus? There are many symbols that point indirectly to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is still alive and pulsating—-of this, we will be speaking! The symbol, of course, points to the Reality!
1. STATUES OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. As Catholics, we draw close to the reality through the proper use of sacramentals. A statue is not the reality, but it surely points to the reality. Contemplating a beautiful, graphic, realistic statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus can lift our minds and hearts to the Reality of Jesus. Artistic beauty depicted of Jesus, in His symbol of love, can move our minds and hearts to love Him all the more.
2. ENTHRONEMENT OF THE IMAGE/PICTURE OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS. Many blessings are promised to the families that invite Jesus into their homes to be their King and the center of their family life. A renewed effort must be undertaken to teach families, to prepare families to consecrate their children, lives, and salvation to the Most Sacred heart of Jesus.
3. OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE. By honoring an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, indirectly we are honoring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Why, you might ask? The reason is the following: Our Lady of Guadalupe is pregnant— the black ribbon points to that in Mexican culture; therefore, the most Sacred heart of Jesus was beating in the womb of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe. By honoring the unborn Jesus, we honor all life, which is sacred, from the moment of conception until natural death!
4. THE CROSS/CRUCIFIX— with the Body of Christ. By contemplating the Body of Christ hanging from the cross, we also contemplate the wound in His Sacred side, from which flowed Blood and Water, from His wounded and opened Sacred Heart. (Jn. 19)
5. THE IMAGE OF JESUS AND ST. MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE. This artistic representation depicts Jesus, who appeared to this French nun in Paray le Monial, and revealed His desire that His Sacred Heart be honored, venerated and acts of Reparation be done to atone for sin and indifference. Thanks to St. Margaret Mary and St. Claude de La Colombiere, the devotion to the Most Sacred heart of Jesus was accepted by the church and become a classical devotion for more than three hundred years.
6. FIRST FRIDAY DEVOTIONS. Jesus asked that He be honored in a special way on “The First Friday of the month” and for 9 consecutive months. If done, Jesus promised extraordinary graces.
7. THURSDAY NIGHT HOLY HOUR. Jesus also encouraged this to be done in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament. This brings us back to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus longed for company in His bitter agony. “Could you not spend an hour with me”?
8. BLESSED SACRAMENT/TABERNACLE. The image of the Most Sacred Heart is a beautiful symbol of Jesus’ great love for us expressed in His loving Heart. However, truly present in every Tabernacle of the world, in the consecrated Hosts, Jesus is truly present in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The “Total Christ” is truly present; therefore, His most Sacred Heart is truly present in every Tabernacle. For that reason Pope John Paul II called the Tabernacle the living/pulsating Heart-beat of the Church. We should all be drawn to this source of love and mercy like a magnet. “Come to me all of you who are weary and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am meek and humble of Heart; you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. “ (Mt. 11:28-30).
9. MASS/HOLY COMMUNION AND THE SACRED HEART. Of course, the greatest action we can do underneath heaven , showing immense faith, love, devotion, and confidence in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is to attend Holy Mass, participate fully, actively and consciously, and then to receive Holy Communion. By receiving Holy Communion, we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With this, of course, we receive His Most Sacred Heart. If you like, by way of analogy, we have a “HEART TRANSPLANT!” Jesus takes our heart and he gives us His own. What an extraordinary exchange. His Sacred Heart is always compatible with ours; only need own factor: LOVE FROM OUR HEART! Authentic devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus will always draw us to Holy Mass, Holy Eucharist, and Holy Communion!
10. THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY. It would be incomplete to honor and adore the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, if we neglected devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Indeed the Immaculate Heart of Mary formed the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in her most pure womb for nine months! For that reason, the Liturgical Feast days of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are back to back. The Heart of Mary always leads us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus!