The Sacred Heart’s devotion has gone a long way before acquiring the visibility it has nowadays. Here's a quick list of seven bullet points to learn more about it.
The history of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
It is believed that the first step towards the Sacred Heart’s devotion was the growing late medieval interest in the Passion of Christ, nurtured by some prominent figures such as Bernard of Clairvaux and Francis of Assisi, but also by the Crusaders. Even more determining for its development was the devotion to the Holy Wounds of Jesus that was quite popular at that time.
The vision of Saint Margaret Mary of Alacoque
In 1675, a French Roman Catholic nun and mystic, Saint Margaret Mary, received a revelation from Jesus who taught her the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as we know it today.
The meaning behind the Sacred Heart
The heart is both the principle life organ and the seat of all emotion, love above all. This devotion celebrates and promotes Christ’s unconditional love towards humanity, inspiring gratitude and calling for acknowledgment.
The symbol of the Sacred Heart
Depicted as a flaming heart (divine light), the Sacred Heart is pierced by a lance and is encircled by a crown of thorns. Surmounted by a cross, it is bleeding. The reference to Jesus’ Passion and death is clear. However, the core of the symbol is the merciful heart of Jesus, who loved humanity ardently and sacrificed himself for our salvation.
The prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque composed a prayer dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This prayer is called “novena” since it must be recited for nine consecutive days, leading to the feast of the Sacred Heart. It is said that Padre said this novena every day for his followers.
The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a movable feast and is celebrated on the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus in art
Several religious congregations adopted the Sacred Heart as their symbol. The most beautiful monument to this devotion sits on top of the Parisian Montmartre hill from where the dazzling Sacré-Cœur Basilica watches over the city.
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Sacred Heart is closely related to the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They both date back to the Middle Ages, but became especially popular in the 17th century. We celebrate the Immaculate Heart of Mary the day after the Sacred Heart.