Each year on the Friday following Corpus Christi Sunday (Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ), we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This feast day has been celebrated since 1856, but the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back at least to the Middle Ages and has been one of the most popular and enduring devotions in the Catholic Church.
We revere the physical heart of Jesus as an emblem of his great love for the human race. As Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: "Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love."
In honour of this wonderful feast, here are 10 more quotes and prayers to help you reflect on this great gift:
1. In the Sacred Heart, every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden. In that divine heart beats God’s infinite love for everyone and for each of us as individuals.
– St. John Paul II (1920-2005), Homily for the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart during his Apostolic Voyage to Canada (1984)
2. As to persons living in the world, they shall find in this devotion all the aids necessary in their state of life: peace in their homes, consolation in their work, the blessing of heaven upon all their enterprises, comfort in their sorrows, a secure refuge during life and especially at the hours of death. It is plainly evident that there is no one in the world who will not receive all kinds of heavenly blessings if they have a true love of Jesus Christ manifested by a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
– St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)
3. Just as we might view the birth of Jesus as the arrival of God’s love and light into a world grown cold and dark through sin, so we might view the growth of the devotion to the Sacred Heart as a response to the world grown cold though the religious confusion and a popular heresy of the time.
– Fr. Donald Miller, OFM (1945-2017)
4. O Heart all loveable and all loving of my Saviour, be the Heart of my heart, the Soul of my soul, the Spirit of my spirit, the Life of my life and the sole principle of all my thoughts, words and actions, of all the faculties of my soul and of all my senses, both interior and exterior. Amen.
– St. John Eudes (1601-1680)
5. Do not let the past disturb you. Leave everything in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and begin again with joy.
– St. Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
6. O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and life-giving fountain of eternal life, infinite treasury of the Divinity, and glowing furnace of love, Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary. O adorable and glorious Saviour, consume my heart with that burning fire that ever inflames Thy Heart. Pour down on my soul those graces that flow from Thy love. Let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine may in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy will be the rule of both my desires and my actions.
– St. Gertrude the Great (1256-1302), Prayer to the Sacred Heart (adapted by St. Alphonsus Liguori)
7. It is impossible to identify the Holy Eucharist too closely with Jesus Christ … the Holy Eucharist is the whole Christ with His human heart. According to St. Margaret Mary, the Sacred Heart is the Holy Eucharist. So it follows that devotion to the Sacred Heart is devotion to the Holy Eucharist. It is infinite Love Incarnate living in our midst in the Blessed Sacrament.
– Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ (1914-2000), “The Sacred Heart is the Holy Eucharist” (emphasis added)
8. Most sweet Jesus, redeemer of the human race, look down upon us, humbly prostrate before your altar. We are yours and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your most sacred heart. Many, indeed, have never known you, many too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your sacred heart. Be you king, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be you king of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd. Be you king also of all those who sit in the ancient superstition of the Gentiles, and refuse not you to deliver them out of darkness into the light and kingdom of God. Grant, O Lord, to your Church, assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honour forever. Amen.
– Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903, pope from 1878 until his death), Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
9. And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore is it fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart – an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honour, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself.
– Pope Leo XIII, from the encyclical Annum Sacrum (1899). Leo XIII also publicly consecrated humankind to the Sacred Heart.
10. Excerpts from the poem "To the Sacred Heart of Jesus":
I need a heart burning with tenderness
Who will be my support forever,
Who loves everything within me, even my weakness...
And who never leaves me day or night.
I could find no creature
Who could always love me and never die.
I must have a God who takes on my nature
And becomes my brother and is able to suffer!
You heard me, only Friend whom I love.
To ravish my heart, you became man.
You shed your blood, what a supreme mystery!
And you still love for me on the Altar.
If I cannot see the brilliance of your Face
Or hear your sweet voice,
O my God, I can live by your Grace,
I can rest on your Sacred Heart!
O Heart of Jesus, treasure of tenderness,
You Yourself are my happiness, my only hope.
You who knew how to charm my tender youth,
Stay near me till the last night.
Lord, to you alone I've given my life,
And all my desires are well known to you.
It's in your ever-infinite goodness
That I want to lose myself, O Heart of Jesus!
– St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897)