|“I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none:||and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.”|
The duty of honorable satisfaction or reparation must be rendered to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
(Pope Pius XI)
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It is interesting to note that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was essentially unknown until the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The reason for these 1,000 years of shrouded silence regarding the Sacred Heart is explained in the revelations of St. Gertrude the Great (1256 – 1302).
On the feast of St. John the Evangelist, St. Gertrude was granted in vision the grace to rest her head near the wound in Our Saviour’s side. St. John was also present during this vision, to whom St. Gertrude addressed the following:
"Well-beloved of the Lord, did these harmonious beatings which rejoice my soul also rejoice thine when thou didst repose during the Last Supper on the bosom of the Savior?"
"Yes, I heard them, and my soul was penetrated with their sweetness even to its very center."
"Why, then, hast thou spoken so little in thy Gospel of the loving secrets of the Heart of Jesus?"
"My mission was to write of the Eternal Word. . . but the language of the blissful pulsations of the Sacred Heart is reserved for latter times, that the time-worn world, grown cold in the love of God, may be warmed up by hearing of such mysteries."
But the revealing of this devotion in a public manner was not to come about during the life of St. Gertrude. Rather, it belonged to St. John Eudes (1602 – 1680), who as the apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, joined with it devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for as he taught: “you must never separate what God has so perfectly united” i.e., the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It was through the instrumentality of St. John Eudes that for the first time a proper feast honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus became part of Catholic liturgy.
Nevertheless, the Saint who was especially chosen by God to be the instrument of promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647 – 1690). Our Lord appeared to her frequently, and like St. Gertrude, one day in 1673, allowed her to rest her head upon His breast and spoke to her:
“My divine Heart is so wrought with love for men and especial for you, that it can no longer contain the flame of the fire of its love but must spread this flame through you and manifest itself to men to enrich them with its precious treasures.”
Two years later Our Lord again appeared to her and told her:
"Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing but has been poured out totally and consumed as proof of its love; and for gratitude I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their acts of irreverence and sacrilege and by the coldness and the contempt they have for me in this Sacrament of love. But what touches me closest is that the very hearts which are consecrated to me act thus. Because of that I ask of you that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be dedicated to a special feast to give honor to my Heart, by receiving Communion that day and making reparation for the indignity offered to It during the time It has been exposed on the altar. I promise you that my Heart will expand and spread abundantly the influences of its divine Love upon those who pay It this honor and those who procure that It shall be paid."
Our Lord further told St. Margaret Mary to consult the holy Father de la Colombière, who like her, became instrumental in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Many popes have strongly encouraged and bountifully various devotions to the Sacred Heart, but especially two particular devotions pointed out by Our Divine Lord Himself as most pleasing to Him; namely, that on the first Friday of every month, 1) to receive Holy Communion and 2) to make a Holy Hour, both in the spirit of reparation, which “has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” (Pope Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor)
May all true Catholics heed this request of Our Divine Lord and hasten to make reparation so for many sins committed against Him. Let us not be deserving of this reproach:
“I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.” (Psalm 68:21).
The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Litany of the Sacred Heart of JesusLord, have mercy on us,