There is a deep longing in the human heart for enduring love,
and because God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8), this deep longing is
really a longing for God. God alone can ultimately fulfill
this longing of the human heart because He Himself created us
with this innermost desire for Him, although so often we do
not consciously realize its true source.
No doubt, you and I have heard this truth expressed many
times. But, in point of fact, do we really allow ourselves to
be caught up into the wonder and power of this reality, which
is not crafted by human imagination or ingenuity but which
has been inserted into our innermost being by God Himself?
Knowing how difficult it is for us to understand and to
accept this amazing reality - almost too good to be true -
God is relentless in the many ways by which He tangibly
reveals this absolute truth, especially in ways which we can
more easily grasp. One very tangible and humanly
understandable way is the image of the Heart of Jesus, the
symbol of God's ever-faithful love.
"Behold This Heart"
A few years ago, I was privileged to accompany a group of
pilgrims to various shrines of France. Among these was
Paray-le-Monial, a city in the southeastern part of France
and known worldwide as the site of the apparitions of the
Sacred Heart to a cloistered Visitation nun, Saint Margaret
Mary Alacoque. While there, I was able to visit and to pray
in the Visitation convent, where Saint Margaret Mary lived;
the Basilica of the Sacred Heart; and the chapel where Saint
Claude La Colombière, S.J., Saint Margaret Mary's
confessor who helped her promote devotion to the Sacred
Heart, is buried.
The well-known appearances of the Lord Jesus in which He
revealed His Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary began on the
night of December 27, 1673. In this first appearance, the
Lord spoke of the immensity of His love for all people and
showed her His Heart, "like a sun, ablaze with a dazzling
light," as Saint Margaret Mary was later to record it (Emile
Bougard, The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Rockford,
Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, 1990, p. 166). In this
same appearance, Jesus mourned the world's ingratitude,
indifference and coldness and asked Saint Margaret Mary for a
Communion of reparation on the first Friday of each month.
In 1674, although the exact date is uncertain, Jesus again
appeared to Saint Margaret Mary. Later, she wrote down what
she heard and saw: "The divine Heart was represented to me as
upon a throne of fire and flames. It shed rays on every side
brighter than the sun and transparent as crystal. The wound
which he received on the cross appeared there visibly. A
crown of thorns encircled the divine Heart, and it was
surmounted by a cross" (Bougard, p. 229). Once more, Jesus
spoke of His burning and pure love for humanity.
The third and most famous apparition took place in June 1675.
As Saint Margaret Mary knelt before the Blessed Sacrament,
Jesus exposed His Sacred Heart again and spoke these words to
her: "Behold this Heart which has loved mankind so much that
it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming
itself, in order to testify its love." Christ then asked that
the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be set apart as
a special feast day in honor of His Sacred Heart - "a day on
which to receive me in Holy Communion and make a solemn act
of reparation for the indignities I have received in the
Blessed Sacrament while exposed on the altars of the world."
The Lord then said, "I promise you, too, that I shall open my
Heart to all who honor me in this way, and who get others to
do the same; they will feel in all its fullness the power of
my love" (Bougard, p. 176).
By the time of Saint Margaret Mary's death on October 17,
1690, devotion to the Sacred Heart was well established in
the Visitation community and the areas surrounding
Paray-le-Monial. Over the succeeding centuries, thanks also
to the efforts of Saint Claude La Colombière and the
Society of Jesus, devotion to the Sacred Heart spread
throughout the world, culminating in the consecration of the
whole human race to the Sacred Heart by Pope Leo XIII in
Reflecting upon the message and the meaning of the
apparitions of Our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary, we can see
that through the symbol of His Heart, Jesus Christ desired
(and still desires) to show us the depth of His divine love -
a love that is faithful, a love that is redemptive, a love
that is merciful; in short, a love that seeks out each one of
us and calls us to a vital communion with Him. In his
encyclical letter devoted to the Sacred Heart, entitled
Haurietis Aquas (May 15, 1956), Pope Pius XII put it this
Christ our Lord, exposing His Sacred Heart,
wished in a quite extraordinary way to invite the minds of
men to a contemplation of, and a devotion to, the mystery of
God's merciful love for the human race. In this special
manifestation Christ pointed to His Heart, with definite and
repeated words, as the symbol by which men should be
attracted to a knowledge and recognition of His love; and at
the same time
He established it as a sign or pledge of mercy and grace for
the needs of the Church of our times" (#97).
"There Flowed Out Blood and Water" (Jn. 19:34)
The image of the Heart of Christ as a "sign or pledge of
mercy and grace" was vividly brought to the consciousness of
the Church in the early part of the twentieth century. On
February 22, 1931, Our Lord appeared to a young Polish nun,
Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, of the Congregation of Sisters
of Our Lady of Mercy. Saint Faustina tells us in her diary
for that date: "In the evening, when I was in my cell, I
became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment.
One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the
garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the
breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other
pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was
overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while
Jesus said to me, 'Paint an image according to the pattern
you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'"
Some time later, Our Lord again spoke to her: "The pale ray
stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray
stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two
rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at
that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on
the Cross....Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their
shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him."
Not only did Saint Faustina see these rays of mercy from the
area of the Heart of Jesus as depicted in the now-familiar
image of the merciful Savior, but on a number of occasions
she saw these same two rays emanating from the Eucharist (cf.
Diary, 336, 344, 370, 420, 441, 657, 1046) and from His
Sacred Heart (cf. Diary, 177, 414, 1559, 1565, 1796).
Saint Faustina died on October 5, 1938; yet, even before her
death, devotion to the Divine Mercy had begun to spread. For
a time, though, from 1959 until 1978, the devotion to the
Divine Mercy was suppressed and Saint Faustina's writings
were placed on the Church's Index of Forbidden Books. The
Index itself was abolished in 1966, and in 1978, the
suppression of the Divine Mercy devotion was lifted. From
that time on, the message conveyed to Saint Faustina by the
Lord Jesus has inspired countless souls to trust in Jesus and
in His merciful love, symbolized once more by His pierced
Heart, from which there flows out blood and water - the blood
recalling the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the
Eucharist; the water, according to the symbolism present in
the Gospel of Saint John, representing not only Baptism but
also the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 3:5; 4:14; 7:37-39).
Taken together, then, the revelations granted to Saint
Margaret Mary and to Saint Faustina are a powerful reminder
of how deeply and how intensely the Lord loves us. His Heart,
burning with charity and overflowing with mercy, stands
before us as both a sign and an invitation: a sign of the
loving esteem which God has for us, and an invitation to
remain in His love (cf. Jn. 15:9).
"But the Lord Looks on the Heart" (1 Sam. 16:7)
All of us, most likely, have heard (and maybe even used)
expressions that refer to the heart: "She's so kind-hearted";
"This comes from the heart"; "Take heart!" The image of the
heart suggests something that is most intimate, most personal
to an individual. Indeed, the term "heart" often stands for
the whole person: thoughts, feelings, the core of one's inner
life and personality, the spiritual center of one's entire
being. The heart is the source of one's deepest motivation,
decisions, memories and desires. We use the word "heart" to
signify, not just the physical organ, but a person's
disposition: the way one looks at other people, at life
itself, and at everything that exists. For this reason, in
the Sacred Scriptures we find the heart spoken of as the
place where a person encounters God, the place in which God
dwells and in which He works to bring about conversion (a
"change of heart"), enlightenment and new life.
The human heart can know great happiness and thanksgiving,
but it can also become hard and cold, closed off to others
and to everything outside of itself. A person's heart can be
filled with a variety of conflicting emotions: love, joy,
hatred, generosity, pride, anger, trust, sorrow, and so much
more. Thus, the Book of Proverbs advises us, "Keep your heart
with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life"
(Prov. 4:23). In the Gospels, Jesus would later say, "For
where your treasure is, there also will your heart be" (Mt.
6:21; Lk. 12:34).
No one but God is able to look into a person's heart, and it
is in the heart that one's relationship with God and with
others is centered. If our hearts are set upon the Lord, if
we are intent each day on walking in the ways of God and
loving Him by keeping His commandments (cf. Jn. 15:10), then
we will have the privilege and grace of being known as
friends of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn. 15:14). On the other hand,
if our hearts are far from the Lord, if we have allowed the
love we ought to have for God and neighbor to die out in our
hearts or become cold and distant, then we need to ask the
Lord to change our hearts and make them like His own.
According to the Scriptures, God alone can grant us the grace
of conversion; God alone can write His will upon our hearts
(cf. Jer. 31:35) and replace hardened hearts with hearts of
flesh (cf. Ezek. 36:26). God can open our hearts to listen
(cf. Acts 16:14) and strengthen our hearts in holiness (cf. 1
Thess. 3:13) through the power of His Spirit dwelling in them
(cf. 2 Cor. 1:22).
"My Heart Is Moved with Pity" (Mt. 15:32)
If our human hearts can at times be changeable and
vacillating, the heart of God - the core of His Trinitarian
life and being - is always steadfast and faithful. Throughout
the Scriptures, God reveals Himself as the one whose love for
His people never fails. Despite the tragedy of sin (beginning
with the sin of our first parents and continuing throughout
human history), God never rejects those He has chosen to be
His own. This unconditional love of God for all humanity is
manifested most clearly in the fact that He has sent His Son
to be our Redeemer. Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God's
love; He taught, healed, forgave and ultimately laid down His
life in an act of loving obedience so that human beings might
be set free from sin and death and receive the gift of
eternal life. The infinite, divine love that filled the Heart
of Jesus is poured out upon all humanity to show the
universality of God's love. It is this love that has been
"poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 5:5)
in order that we can imitate the self-giving love of the
Throughout the Gospels, we encounter numerous examples of the
compassion which Jesus, the Son of God, had for those who
were sick, poor, sorrowful, hungry and thirsty, desperate and
in need. In fact, Jesus identified Himself with those who
were the weakest and most vulnerable in society (cf. Mt.
25:31-46). His divine Heart went out to all who sought the
reassurance that God had not abandoned them, that He was
still faithful to His covenantal love, that He would be their
Good Shepherd (cf. Jn. 10:14) Who would lead His people to
"green pastures" (cf. Ps. 23:2) - that is, to a place of
refreshment, light and peace (cf. Roman Missal, Eucharistic
Prayer I [the Roman Canon]).
One of the most striking and moving passages in the New
Testament, which reveals the tender and compassionate love of
God made visible in His Divine Son, comes from the Gospel of
Saint Matthew: "At the sight of the crowd Jesus' heart was
moved with pity for them because they were troubled and
abandoned"(Mt. 9:36 a).
The Sacred Heart of our Lord was moved with pity at the sight
of the crowds that came to Him in first century Galilee. He
had compassion at the sight of the burdens and wounds that
the people carried. The word "troubled" in this passage from
the Gospel is a translation of the original Greek word
eskulmenoi, which is figurative language originating in a
word that denotes skin lacerations or, more literally and
graphically, refers to being skinned alive. This dramatic
vocabulary does not indicate the physical condition of the
people; rather it expresses the profound pain that afflicted
them. Our Lord gazed with deep insight and love into each of
their hearts as they came to Him. He saw their history of
hurt, self-inflicted wounds, self-loathing, and relationships
in family and life that caused deep pain and alienation. He
saw them helpless, "abandoned," under the burden of these
wounds, and this moved His Heart. Still today our Lord Jesus
gazes upon each of us. He knows our every fiber and He sees
our very darkest moments and wounds. Jesus sees all and looks
upon us with deep loving compassion for our lacerated souls.
For we too have the same interior wounds that burdened those
people two thousand years ago.
Our Lord's compassion of Heart for us is not just a
sentiment, but an active loving response that heals. As often
as Jesus gazes on the people with pity, He heals them (cf.
Mt. 14:2). Healing is of the essence of redemption and
salvation. Our Lord does not save us in an external way like
someone would grab another person and boost them up to a
higher place. He transforms interiorly. As part of this
transformation, Jesus heals our wounds of failed and
disordered loves with His own true intimate steadfast love.
As we gaze upon His Sacred Heart, Jesus invites us to come to
Him with our heavy burdens and wounds to receive rest and
healing. In His wounded Heart, we experience ourselves as
loved and our burdens shared. We see its wound and crown of
thorns and we know that He has taken up and suffered our
pain. We look upon the flames that pour from the top of His
Heart with the Cross in their midst, and we recognize that He
has conquered our pain and can truly heal us.
Ironically, as we noted earlier, because of our wounded
hearts, we have a hard time approaching our Lord with such
intimacy and confidence. We think deep down that we do not
deserve it. We know what we have done and what people could
think of us and we are convinced on a deep and sometimes
pre-reflective level that this love for us cannot possibly be
so. It is the very wounds that cry out for healing that
paradoxically keep us from the One Who will heal. In response
to this, we ask our Lord to break the deadening cycle of pain
and inward retreat. We pray for the courage to risk
abandoning and opening ourselves to Him. We approach our
Lord's Heart voicing our fears and reservations and asking
Him to brush them aside so that we may be with Him and made
whole. Part of the essence of the healing devotion to the
Sacred Heart is believing in and accepting an intimate and
amazing love that we could never earn or deserve, and living
in the light and joy of that love. In this confidence we have
the holy audacity to look at ourselves unflinchingly and
bring all of our wounds and failures to the Sacred Heart of
It was on the Cross that the love contained in the Heart of
the Savior was most fully displayed. In the midst of His
sufferings, Jesus experienced what had been prophesied in the
psalms: "My heart has become like wax, melting away within my
breast" (Ps. 22:15), and, "Insult has broken my heart, and I
am weak, I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for
comforters, and I found none" (Ps. 69:21). Do not these words
- ancient in Israel's history - recall for us the lament
Jesus expressed to Saint Margaret Mary: that so many have
grown indifferent to Jesus' burning love for us?
In His Heart, Jesus always did the will of His Father (cf.
Jn. 6:38; Mt. 26:39; Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:42; Jn. 4:34), and
because of this loving obedience, the Father heard His cry
from the Cross and raised Him from the dead (cf. Heb. 5:7).
At the moment of His death (which was simultaneously the
moment of His glory), the soldier's lance pierced the Heart
of the Lord, releasing the saving water and the redeeming
blood that sprang from His deepest core. This was to be an
everlasting sign, as Jesus revealed to Saint Faustina, that
life-giving graces would pour out into the hearts of all who
put their trust in Him. Do we not see, once again, in this
sign, the constant and infinite love of Christ, expressed as
His mercy for us and for all who are in need of it?
"The Lord Set His Heart on You" (Dt. 7:7)
The revelations of Christ's Heart which He granted to Saint
Margaret Mary and to Saint Faustina assure us of this great
Scriptural truth: the Lord has indeed set His Heart on us
(cf. Dt. 7:7), that is, He has chosen and called us to be His
own, He has given us a share in His love and life, He has
shown us His mercy time and time again. The Heart of the
Lord, then, is a powerful image that expresses His love for
us and invites our love for Him in return. By opening His
Heart to us, Christ has revealed that divine love and mercy
are, if we can put it this way, God's first and last word to
During His earthly life and mission, Jesus told His
disciples, "Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart"
(Mt. 11:29). From Our Lord's day down to our own, His
followers have sought to imitate His virtues by remaining
close to His Heart. We learn from Christ Jesus when we
cultivate and put into practice such simple and unspectacular
virtues like patience, kindness, gentleness, simplicity,
humility, purity, gratitude and the like. We learn from
Christ Jesus when we desire and work for justice and peace in
our world, when we strive to promote and defend the dignity
of every human person throughout all the stages of the life
spectrum - from conception until natural death. We form our
hearts to be like the Heart of Christ when we pray (both
privately and publicly in the Church's liturgy, particularly
at Sunday Mass), when we receive His forgiveness in the
Sacrament of Penance and then extend that forgiveness to
others, and when we fulfill faithfully the responsibilities
of our state in life. Truly, the Lord has set His Heart upon
us, but He also wants us to set our hearts upon Him. As Saint
Francis de Sales once beautifully wrote:
Belong totally to God. Think of him and he will think
of you. He has drawn you to himself so that you may be
his; he will take care of you. Do not be afraid
weary, listless heart rest against the sacred, loving breast
of this Savior who, by his providence is a father to his
and by his gentle, tender love is a mother to them (Oeuvres
Saint François de Sales, Édition
complète, 27 vols. [Annecy: J. Niérat et al.,
1892-1964], 26: 350).
"Heart Speaks unto Heart"
In his homily for the beatification of John Henry Cardinal
Newman, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI referred to
Newman's motto, Cor ad cor loquitur ("Heart speaks unto
heart"), as providing "an insight into his understanding of
the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the
profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate
communion with the Heart of God" (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily
at the Mass of Beatification of Venerable Cardinal John Henry
Newman, September 19, 2010). Blessed John Henry Newman's
motto expresses, with different words, the truth Saint
Augustine set forth in his Confessions: "
made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it
rests in you" (Saint Augustine, Confessions, 1, 1, 1: PL 32,
As we observed earlier, from the very beginning of our human
existence, God does not cease to speak to our hearts, He does
not cease drawing us to Himself. The Heart of Christ
continues to beat with love for every one of us, and every
one of us, in turn, seeks communion with His Heart. Whether
we acknowledge it or not, nothing less than, nothing other
than, God Himself will ever truly satisfy the longings of our
We must admit, though, that we can become distracted from
seeking that "intimate communion with the Heart of God" of
which Pope Benedict spoke. Human weakness, sin, illness,
failure, pain - all these can turn our hearts inward and
cause us to rely more on ourselves rather than upon the
strength, grace, mercy and enduring love that comes from the
Heart of Christ. At such times, I find it consoling to
remember that whenever Jesus appeared after His resurrection
- whether it was to His Apostles or to other chosen souls in
the history of the Church - the risen Lord always bears with
Him the wounds which He suffered during His Passion. Though
Christ is raised and lives now in glory, He still retains His
wounds. God does not take away suffering, pain or failure
from our lives, but He does invite us to unite our hearts
with His own. In that union, our sufferings can become
redemptive, our failures can help us to grow and to offer
help to others who struggle. Our pain can give us deeper
compassion so that we can strive to heal rather than to
wound. When we unite our hearts to the Heart of Christ, we
will know that our suffering is never wasted, that our pain
is never meaningless, that our hurts can be transformed. The
Heart of Christ bears the marks of the Passion in order that
we might know that Jesus is not indifferent to our
sufferings; instead, because His Heart and His Body keep the
wounds of the Passion, we know that Christ Jesus lives in
solidarity with us, He knows our human condition, and He
becomes, for each of us, the source of hope that ultimately
our lives will be transformed - so long as we open our hearts
"That Christ May Dwell in Your Hearts" (Eph. 3:17)
Writing to the Christians at Ephesus, Saint Paul prayed that
"Christ may dwell in your hearts" and in this way that they
might come "to know the love of Christ that surpasses
knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of
God" (Eph. 3:17, 19). Saint Paul's desire for his readers was
that they would recognize and respond to the profound depths
of God's love for them by uniting their hearts with that of
What Saint Paul sought for the Ephesians remains true for us
today. The more we enter into the Heart of Christ, the more
we discover the richness of His merciful love and the more
His divine life fills our own. We might ask, though, how can
we allow Christ to dwell in our hearts? How can we be devoted
to the Heart of Christ in order to receive grace, mercy and
life from Him? There are many answers that could be offered,
but I would like to suggest a few practical ways by which to
honor the Heart of Christ, both personally and communally.
First, we can offer our prayers, works, joys and sufferings
of each day to the Heart of the Lord. Perhaps the best time
to do so is in the morning, before our day begins, and then
we can renew this offering during the course of the day with
a short prayer, such as, "Heart of Jesus, help me to love you
more and more" or, "Heart of Jesus, draw me closer to you."
Second, we can honor the Heart of Christ by our attendance at
daily Mass or at least whenever possible during the week. In
the Mass, we recognize the Eucharist as the great gift of
Jesus' Heart, which He has left us as the sacrament of His
Real Presence and the memorial of His redemptive sacrifice.
We can also make visits to the Blessed Sacrament outside of
the Mass in order to deepen our appreciation for Christ's
loving gift. We should try to make a special effort to
participate in the Mass on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart
(the first Friday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost).
Third, we can make a formal act of consecration to the Heart
of Jesus. I intend to consecrate the whole diocese to the
Heart of Christ on this year's Solemnity of Christ the King
(November 20, 2011) at our Cathedral; I will be inviting each
parish to join me in this act of consecration on the same
day. Such an act of consecration is a communal
acknowledgement that just as the Lord Jesus came to us and
gave Himself for the salvation of each person, so we give
ourselves back to Him, asking Him to rule in our hearts every
In addition to the consecration of the diocese, I invite
families to make a family act of consecration, together with
an enthronement of the Sacred Heart - that is, the placement
of an image of the Sacred Heart in a prominent place in the
home - as a reminder that Christ should be the center of the
family, the domestic church. In addition, the Lord promised
that where the image of His Heart is honored, He would bring
peace to the home, unite families, bless them with all the
graces necessary for their state in life and be a secure
refuge in life and death.
Families might also choose to place an image of the Divine
Mercy (the depiction of Himself that Jesus revealed to Saint
Faustina) in their homes as a visible reminder of the
merciful love of the Lord that flows from His Heart. Jesus
also made a promise to Saint Faustina connected with this
image: "I promise that the soul that will venerate this image
will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies
already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I
myself will defend it as My own glory" (Diary, 48).
Still another way to honor the Heart of Christ is to
cultivate a spirit of reparation through prayer and good
works. Reparation is an act whereby we seek to make amends,
to make up for our own sins and the sins of others. Directed
to the Heart of Christ, reparation involves an offering of
love we make to the Lord for offenses committed against Him.
For example, praying for others, practicing the spiritual and
corporal works of mercy, accepting some unpleasant task,
bearing our daily crosses with patience, going out of our way
to say something kind and encouraging to someone we seldom
bother to speak to - all of these can be acts of reparation
if we offer them in love to the Heart of Jesus. We repent for
how we have hurt others or excluded them from our love. We
repent our greed, anger, desire for retaliation, dishonesty,
indifference, and so on. We make amends for these lapses from
grace, we ask forgiveness and resolve to change our way of
living so that it aligns more perfectly with the Heart of
Jesus. A particularly effective form of reparation is to
attend Mass on the First Friday of each month for nine
consecutive months and make a Communion of reparation, as
Jesus requested of Saint Margaret Mary, in order to thank the
Lord for the loving sacrifice of His life and render Him
worship and praise in place of those who do not acknowledge
what Christ Jesus has done for us. Praying the chaplet of
Divine Mercy or contemplating the Passion of the Lord at
three o'clock in the afternoon, as Jesus revealed to Saint
Faustina, can also be acts of reparation whereby we implore
the Lord's mercy for others, as well as for ourselves.
All of these spiritual practices are, of course, only
suggestions. Yet they are firmly rooted in Sacred Scripture
and in the Tradition of the Church, and they have been
recommended down through the centuries by Popes, saints and
spiritual writers. Whatever we may do to express our devotion
to the Heart of Christ will aid, nourish and sustain our
growth in holiness, which is the fundamental vocation of
every Christian (cf. The Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic
Constitution on the Church [Lumen Gentium], nos. 11, 40).
Conclusion: "Heart of Jesus, our hope, our life and our
"In the Heart of Jesus, the center of Christianity is set
before us. It expresses everything, all that is genuinely new
and revolutionary in the New Covenant. This Heart calls to
our heart. It invites us to step forth out of the futile
attempt of self-preservation and, by joining in the task of
love, by handing ourselves over to him and with him, to
discover the fullness of love which alone is eternity and
which alone sustains the world" (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger,
Behold the Pierced One , trans. Graham Harrison, San
Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986, p. 69).
It is no wonder that we know the Heart of the Lord to be a
fountain of life, a fire of love, strength against evil, an
ocean of mercy. Yet there is a reality that is even more
wonderful: in the depth of His Heart, God treasures us. He
who created us, who redeemed us, and who sanctifies us has
opened His Heart so that from it we may "draw water in joy
from the springs of salvation" (Roman Missal, Preface of the
Sacred Heart). As Saint Francis de Sales once proclaimed:
We cannot imagine what it will mean to us,
how we shall feel, as we gaze through the wound
in His pierced side at the vision of our Master's Heart -
the Heart that calls for love and adoration;
the Heart on fire with love for us; the Heart in which
we shall read our names - inscribed, all of them in letters
There it is, the ultimate consolation: our Lord loves us so
we have an indelible place in His Heart
(Saint Francis de Sales, Sermon on the Second Sunday in Lent,
February 20, 1622).
Yes, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we have an
indelible place in the Heart of Christ! Let us pray that
through our devotion to His Heart, we will respond to the
love of Jesus Christ and share that love with all whom we
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my
prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union
with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I
offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the
salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of
all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our
bishops, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy
Father this month.
An Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart (by Saint Margaret
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my
person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that
my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving,
honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to
belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love,
renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee. I
take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love,
the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the
remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all
the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of
my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification
before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I
have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and
malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of
Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in
me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure
love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be
separated from Thee. I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite
Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for
in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live
and die as one of Thy devoted servants. Amen.
An Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart for Parishes
Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, we consecrate to you
our persons and our lives. We give you our actions, our
desires, our troubles, our joys and our sufferings. We give
you our families, our friends, and our parish community. In
the future we wish to live only to honor and love you and
bring you glory. It will always be our heart's desire to love
you more and more, and to make you known, loved and served by
others. We know this, O Sacred Heart of Jesus! You are the
faithful friend, the heart's intimate friend. You never
abandon us. We trust ourselves to you! Above all give us
charity. Bind our hearts together in the faith community of
[Parish Name]. May our names one day be written forever in
the Book of the Living with the just who reign with you in
the life of everlasting happiness. Amen.
Jesus, gentle and humble of heart - make our hearts like unto
Litany of the Sacred Heart
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the
Virgin Mother, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the word of God, have
mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven, have mercy
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts, have mercy on
Heart of Jesus, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in Whom dwells all the fullness of the
Godhead, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in Whom the Father is well pleased, have
mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of Whose fullness we have all received, have
mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, rich unto all who call upon Thee, have mercy
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses, have mercy on
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches, have mercy on
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have
mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee, have mercy on
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us,
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously
hear us, O Lord,
Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.
Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy
well-beloved Son and upon the praise and satisfaction which
He offers unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in
Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy,
in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and
reigns with Thee, world without end. Amen.
Prayer Taken from the Spiritual Notes of Saint Claude La
Colombière (London, 1678)
My Jesus, let me live in Thy Heart and pour all my bitterness
into it where it will be utterly
consumed. Sheltered in Thy Heart I shall not fear impatience.
There I will practice silence, resignation to Thy will, and
constancy. I will thank Thee daily for my crosses and ask Thy
pardon for those who offend me. I will try to acquire
patience. I know it is not the work of a day, but it is
enough for me to be sure that it can be attained by effort. O
my sweet Jesus, do Thou pray for me as Thou didst pray for
Thy enemies; do not refuse me this for I long to love Thee
and even to love my cross and my enemies for love of Thee.