June 4: The Beginnings of the Particular Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Audio to Today’s Meditation

Despite His own great proofs attesting His love for us, the Divine Heart was not sufficiently known, honored and loved, and so the Heart of God had somehow to remind and clearly express how much He loves us. It can truly be said that then this Heart, unable to restrain Himself any longer in love, revealed therefore all His treasure.

At Paray-le-Monial in the seventeenth century there occurred the revelation of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to the whole world. The Visitation nun, St. Margaret Mary, became the instrument of Providence in this revelation of God’s mystery. She found a special guide in her confessor, Father Claude de la Colombiere who likewise became an ardent apostle of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through the revelations imparted to this ordinary and simple, cloistered nun, as well as in the difficulties and sufferings she had to undergo, the Lord Jesus gave proof that He often undertakes great things by means of those who, humanly speaking, are considered insignificant.

Speaking about the particular devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Joseph Sebastian tells us: “The third revelation took place on June 16, 1675, the Sunday during the Octave of Corpus Christi…The Lord…said to her: “Behold this Heart that has so loved men that It spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume Itself to prove Its love to them. And in return, I receive from the greater part of men nothing but ingratitude through their contempt, irreverence, sacrileges and coldness with which they treat Me in the Sacrament of Love…Therefore I ask of you that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be dedicated as a feast in honor of My Heart, … I promise you that my Heart will open Itself wide to pour forth lavishly the influence of Its Divine love on all who will render and procure for It this honor.”

St. Margaret Mary endeavored zealously to bring about the establishment of this separate feast to honor the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. She devoted herself to the honor of the Divine Heart each Friday, particularly on the First Friday of every month. On that day, she undertook to receive Holy Communion with special love so as to show gratitude to the Lord for His immeasurable love.

In 1688, the Holy See permitted bishops to introduce the devotion to the Heart of Jesus in their dioceses. In 1765, although Pope Clement XIII did grant permission for the celebration of a separate feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this was imparted however only to Poland, to the Arch-Confraternity of the Heart of Jesus in Rome, and to churches and dioceses that expressly requested it. A century later, Pope Blessed Pius IX established the feast of the Heart of Jesus for the universal Church, and Pope Leo XIII elevated this to the dignity of a feast of the first class. St. Joseph Sebastian exhorts us: “Let us then strive to honor this day. What is best is that we would, beginning right from morning, offer all our concerns to the Heart of Jesus; we participate in the Holy Mass, receive Holy Communion in reparation, and recite the act of apology and offering to this Heart. We may make the Stations of the Cross, pray in adoration before the Most Holy Sacrament, read a passage from the Sacred Scriptures, or perform a charitable act –all this out of love for the Lord Jesus.”

Litany to the Sacred Heart

Meditation for June 4
Heart of Jesus, Hear! Sung by the Sacred Heart Sisters

Behold This Heart By Fr. Joseph Gill
Litany to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

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