Uncover the beauty of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion rooted in divine love and atonement for sins. Meditate on this sacred image to kindle fervent love in lukewarm souls.

True Devotion And The Image Of The Sacred Heart

There is no devotion more sweet than the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for the object of this devotion is Love itself. This holy devotion was instituted by Our Lord Himself as a means of reparation and atonement for man’s incalculable sins. Meditation upon the image of the Sacred Heart is effective in stirring to fervor the love of lukewarm souls.

In order the better to realize the infinite love of the Son of God as manifested in the Incarnation, in His Passion and in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar, we need a visible representation of this love. Our Divine Saviour attached many graces and blessings to the veneration of the image of His adorable Heart.

Among the revelations which Jesus made to St. Margaret Mary concerning the various practices whereby He desires to be honored by men, one referred to the veneration of an image of His Sacred Heart. We may, therefore, say with truth that the representation of the Divine Heart was desired by our Saviour Himself. Let us hear the confidante of these marvelous revelations describe the vision during which were disclosed to her the essential outlines on which the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus should be portrayed:

“One day, on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, after having received from my Divine Saviour a favor similar to that bestowed upon the Beloved Disciple, of reposing on the bosom of Our Lord, the Divine Heart was represented to me on a throne of fire and flames, shedding on every side rays brighter than the sun and transparent as crystal. The Wound which He had received upon the Cross appeared there visibly; a crown of thorns encircled the adorable Heart, and It was surmounted by a cross.

“These instruments of His Passion signified, as my Divine Master gave me to understand, that it was His unbounded love for man which had been the source of all His sufferings. From the first moment of His Incarnation all these torments had been planted in His Heart. From that moment He accepted all the pains and humiliations which His Sacred Humanity was to suffer during the whole course of His mortal life, and even the outrages to which His love for man would expose Him till the end of time in the Blessed Sacrament. He revealed to me afterwards that it was the great desire of disclosing to mankind His Heart, and of giving them in these ‘latter times’ this last proof of His love, that induced Him to propose to them an object and a means so calculated to win their love. He opens to them His Sacred Heart with all the treasures of love, mercy and graces of sanctification and salvation which It contains.”

Promises To Those Who Venerate The Image Of The Sacred Heart

Our Divine Saviour assured St. Margaret Mary that He takes a singular pleasure in being honored under the representation of a heart of flesh, in order thereby to touch the insensible hearts of men.

As motives for venerating the image of His Sacred Heart, Our Lord proposes two in particular: first, the blessings and graces connected therewith; secondly, the foundation of hope in the distress of “latter times.”

“For this,” continues St. Margaret Mary, “He promised to pour into the hearts of all who would venerate His image the fullness of gifts with which His Sacred Heart abounds, saying that wherever this image would be exposed for special veneration, it would draw down upon the place every kind of blessing.” Furthermore, He promised that all who would contribute to afford Him this joy would be blessed with graces of sanctification and salvation in superabundant measure. St. Margaret Mary wrote to a superior who caused the first picture of the Sacred Heart to be drawn: “For this service Our Lord will engrave your name in His Heart ineffaceably; the other rewards I am not permitted to reveal to you.”

Flames Issuing From The Heart Of Jesus

The sentiments which a picture of the Sacred Heart should incite in our souls may easily be inferred from the symbols with which our blessed Lord Himself wished to surround this image. First, the flames bursting forth and enveloping It show the vehement love wherewith It has loved and continually loves us. Our Lord exclaimed to St. Margaret Mary, “Behold this Heart that has loved men so much!” In order to conquer our indifference and to leave no excuse for ignorance, He discloses to us His Divine Heart, His longing desire being to inflame us with a grateful return of love. “Son, give Me thy heart!” is His pleading invitation to all.

From us the Heart of Jesus desires a practical love. Love is devotedness; it is a sacrificing of self. The world has grown cold and torpid in the love of God. For Jesus, there is no room anymore. To rekindle our souls, to light up anew the flames of charity, Our Lord shows to the world His love-glowing Heart as a reminder of the greatness of His love. Truly, only the most heartless can resist such pleading.

Whenever we behold a picture of the Sacred Heart, let us make an act of love, saying with heart and lips: “O my Jesus, I love Thee, I give Thee my heart; give me Thy holy love!” A single act of love is of immeasurable merit. A single sigh of fervent love merits more than can be obtained through laborious work. St. Aloysius, by interior acts of love, rose in a short time to an astonishing degree of sanctity. Nothing dispels Satan more quickly when he tempts us than an efficacious act of love. Hence, St. Francis de Sales advises us to make acts of love in times of temptation.

The Heart Of Jesus Encircled With The Crown Of Thorns

The crown of thorns encircling the Heart of Jesus typifies the injuries inflicted upon It by the ingratitude wherewith men requite His love. Nothing is more painful to a loving heart than to see its love despised. The greater the tokens of love received, the baser the ingratitude. From the crib to the Cross, what more could our compassionate Redeemer have done for us? Ah, His amiable Heart has loved us to excess, and as a supreme manifestation of His love and burning desire to remain with us, He instituted the wonderful Sacrament of the Altar. The Heart of Jesus wishes to become the food of our soul.

But alas, precisely in this Sacrament of Love, the most painful wounds are inflicted on His Sacred Heart! Hear His sorrowful complaint to the confidante of His Eucharistic sufferings: “Behold the Heart that has loved men so much that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify to them Its love. But in return I receive from the greater part of mankind only ingratitude, by reason of the contempt, irreverence, sacrilege and coldness shown Me in this Sacrament of Love. And what I feel still more painfully is that hearts consecrated to Me treat Me thus!”

Our Lord revealed the devotion to His Sacred Heart especially to obtain reparation and atonement. For this reason He appeared in the Sacred Host to St. Margaret Mary and united this devotion most intimately with devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Those who venerate the Sacred Heart of Jesus should have great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. Our Lord desires especially the Communion of Reparation. Without reparation, devotion to His Sacred Heart would not be complete.

This article is taken from a chapter in Devotion to the Sacred Heart by TAN Books Editors which is available from TAN Books



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