Friday, 14 June 2019

Devotion to the Sacred Heart

The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart; this year we celebrate its feast day on June 28. Evidence of devotion to the Sacred Heart began in medieval Europe, when Christ's wounded heart was seen as a sign of his divine love for humanity. After St. Margaret Mary Alacoque described apparitions of Jesus encouraging her to the devotion, its popularity began to spread and official approval increased. Bishop Power consecrated the Diocese of Toronto to the Sacred Heart in his first pastoral letter in 1842. In 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the human race to the Sacred Heart in his encyclical Annum Sacrum, writing,
"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 it is 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 honor, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself." 
Today we are sharing a few items from the archives that instruct the faithful in their devotion to the Sacred Heart.

In his 1928 encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI discussed the concept of reparation. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, yet we often repay him with sin. Through devotion to the Sacred Heart, we can begin to make amends.
"There is surely no doubting, Venerable Brethren, that from this devotion piously established and commanded to the whole Church, many excellent benefits will flow forth not only to individual men but also to society, sacred, civil, and domestic, seeing that our Redeemer Himself promised to Margaret Mary that "all those who rendered honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces."     
The Reparation Due to the Sacred Heart: Encyclical of His Holiness Pope Pius XI.

The cover of this encyclical features of typical depiction of the Sacred Heart, flaming and topped by a cross. Other depictions show it pierced by an arrow or with a crown of thorns.

May 8, 1928

MN PS 110.01
Archbishop McNeil Fonds 

Another concept associated with the Sacred Heart is consecration. In this leaflet, Cardinal McGuigan sanctioned instructions for consecrating families to the Sacred Heart with the following prayer:
"O Jesus, Who didst make known to Saint Margaret Mary the desire of Thy Sacred Heart to reign over Christian homes, we wish to proclaim today Thy absolute dominion over our hearts and home. We desire henceforth to make our lives one with Thine, to keep ourselves free from that spirit of worldliness which Thou hast condemned, to practice those virtues which bring peace and happiness to Catholic homes. Vouchsafe to establish Thy reign over our lives. Enlighten our minds with a spirit of faith and Christian simplicity, fill our hearts with an ardent love for Thee, and through the Sacrament of Thy Love bring us day by day into closer union with Thy Sacred Heart. Grant, in virtue of this consecration to Thy Sacred Heart, that faith, charity, zeal in prayer, temperance, and domestic tranquility, may flourish in our home, and that each of us may shun the allurements of vice and whatever is foul and unwholesome in human life. 
"Deign, O Divine Heart, to preside over our home, to bless our enterprises both spiritual and temporal, to dispel our cares, to sanctify our joys, to lighten our trials and sorrows. If ever one or other of us should have the misfortune to offend Thee, remind him, O Heart of Jesus, that Thou art good and merciful to the penitent sinner. And, when the hour of separation strikes, when death comes to cast his shadow over our home, help us all, both those who go and those who stay, to accept with resignation Thy eternal decrees. Strengthen us in that hour of sorrow with the firm hope that all the members of our family may be united again in heaven to share in Thy glory and to sing Thy praises forever. 
"May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph present this consecration to Thee. Through it may our thoughts, our words, our deeds, be directed to Thy greater honor and glory all the days of our lives. Amen. All praise to the Heart of Jesus, our King and our Father!"
The Consecration of Families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
""I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored" is one of the promises which Our Lord made to us through Saint Margaret Mary."

[1961]

MG TA01.411
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds


In this 1873 letter which was read at all of the churches in the Archdiocese, Archbishop Lynch instructed the faithful in appropriate actions for devotion to the Sacred Heart such as the creation of confraternities, and pilgrimages. He wrote, 
"We call upon all true Christians, especially of our Diocese, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to heed the invitation, and conform themselves to the intentions of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1. To repent sincerely for all their past sins, and to confess them humbly, that they may receive pardon for them. 2. To make a return of love to this most Divine Heart by receiving Him in the most Blessed Eucharist, and to repair past ingratitude and coldness by frequently receiving our Divine Lord in this banquet of love. 3. To make amends by frequent adoration for the irreverence and contempt, with which He is treated in the Holy Sacrament, and that these acts may be permanent and continuous, we exhort them to join the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart for perpetual adoration."
Pastoral Letter of His Grace, the Archbishop of Toronto, on Devotion to the Sacred Heart

"The devotion to the most sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion to our lord Jesus Christ Himself personally."

1873

L AA11.20
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

"All hail to the Heart of Jesus, our King and Father!"

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