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Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 9, 2024

Now that we are in the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I thought it might be helpful if we take a moment to look at the history of the feast and how this came to be a month dedicated to that attribute of our Savior.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart itself extends back to the first centuries of the Church and sees particular growth in the early Middle Ages, and much of the popularity it received in the last centuries is the fruit of the revelations St. Margaret Mary Alacoque received for 18 months beginning in 1673. Of these apparitions the most wellknown took place while she was praying before the Eucharist. At that time Jesus appeared to her and showed her His Sacred Heart. He complained that, in return for His boundless charity, He received from ungrateful men nothing but outrages. He then ordered her to work for the institution of a new feast on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi, by which due honor should be paid to His Heart and that reparation be done for the outrages committed against Him by sinners in the Sacrament of His love.

One very interesting parallel to our own times is the real-world consequences brought about by failure to follow the instructions of heaven.

A seldom mentioned aspect of the revelations of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary is that in 1689 Jesus asked that the King of France, Louis XIV, consecrate himself and his realm to the Sacred Heart and that he adorn his flags and coat of arms with the image of His Heart. He was promised as a result to be victorious over his enemies and those of the Holy Church. Sadly, this request of the Sacred Heart went unfulfilled by him and by his son Louis XV and for more than 100 years after the revelation to St. Margaret Mary of Our Lord’s special request of the French King, it was continuously disregarded. Louis XVI made a private consecration of himself and the realm to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1792, but it was too late. The French revolution was in full swing and he and his family were already prisoners of the revolutionaries and the Terror reigned in Paris. Louis XVI made this consecration privately as a prisoner in his own palace. The wishes of the Lord were not fulfilled, and evil caused unbelievable destruction and death and perpetuated the errors of the French Revolution from which France and the world at large have never recovered. Juxtapose that with Fatima. Our Lady said that there would be wars and the errors of communism would continue to spread unless the world was consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, the popes refused to do so until 1984 and one only need look at the factual evidence of the truth of Mary’s words by the events of the years between her warning in 1917 and it finally being accomplished in 1984.

So, getting back to the feast of the Sacred Heart and the month of the Sacred Heart. Pope Pius IX instituted the feast on the calendar for the universal Church in the year 1856, and since that time, the entire month became a time devoted to the Sacred Heart. In the year 1899, Pope Leo XIII solemnly consecrated all mankind to the Sacred Heart and shortly after this act of devotion the apparitions at Fatima begin with Christ sending His Mother to warn us and give us the opportunity and tools to fight against the next great evil in the world.

In closing, let us not fail to avail ourselves of the great blessings available to those who in this special way draw near to the open heart of our Savior. Let us hear the words of our Good Lord “Behold this Heart, which has loved so much but has received nothing but coldness, indifference, and ingratitude in return” and offer Him that which so many others refuse to give – our love and our time which we can spend with Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Cor Jesu, Miserere nobis!

God love you, Fr. Anthony

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