June: Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
by Rev. Irenaeus Schoenherr, O.F.M.

God has always dealt with men in a way consonant with their nature–by drawing them to His Holy Will by promises of reward. It was so with His dealings with the chosen people under the Old Dispensation. It was the way of Christ in the New, promising even a hundredfold return for compliance with His desires. And so it is in the history of the revelation and propagation of the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

“That men might more readily respond to that wonderful and overflowing desire of love,” wrote Leo XIII in his Encyclical Annum Sacrum (1899) on the devotion, “Jesus, by the promise of rich rewards, called and drew all men to Him.” St. Margaret Mary in her writings insists again and again on the ardent desire of Christ to pour out blessings with a royal generosity on those who would honor His Divine Heart and return Him love for love.

These Promises of the Sacred Heart, in the form in which they are now popularly known and approved by the Church, far surpass in variety, universality and importance those attached to any other exercises of devotion in the Church.

They are addressed to all sorts of persons: to the fervent, the tepid, and the sinful. They embrace every condition of life: priests, religious, and seculars. They promise relief to the afflicted, strength to the tempted, consolation to the sorrowful, peace to the family, blessings in the home, success in our enterprises, mercy to the sinner, high sanctity to fervent souls, courage to the cold of heart. They promise power to the priest to soften the hardest hearts. They promise strength and courage on our death-bed, and tell us of the priceless gift of final perseverance and of a refuge in the Heart of Christ at the last moment.

What greater or more valuable favors than these could even the omnipotent and boundless love and goodness of the Sacred Heart bestow on us? These Promises help us to an understanding of the truth of St. Margaret Mary’s glowing words: “Jesus showed me how this devotion is, as it were, the final effort of His love, the last invention of His boundless Charity.”

1st Promise– “I will give to My faithful all the graces necessary in their state of life.”

The duties of our daily life are numerous and often difficult. God grants us in response to prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments all the necessary graces for our state of life. There are also extraordinary graces which lie outside the usual action of God’s Providence, graces that He gives to His special friends. These are more efficacious graces, more plentifully given to the clients of the Sacred Heart.

2nd Promise — “I will establish peace in their homes.”

“‘Peace is the tranquillity of order, the se- renity of mind, simplicity of heart, the bond of charity.” (St. Augustine) It was the first thing the Angels wished to men at the birth of Jesus. Our Lord Himself bade His disciples to invoke it: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ ” (Luke 10, 5) In the Heart of Jesus will be found the true peace, that makes the home the reflex and anticipation of our heavenly Home.

3rd Promise — “I will comfort them in all their afflictions.”

The desire to comfort the sorrowful is the mark of a noble and kind heart. The Sacred Heart is the most noble and generous of hearts, both human and divine. How does He console us? Not necessarily by freeing us from sorrow and affliction. He knows the priceless value of the cross–that we have sins to expiate. By His grace, He makes what is painful tolerable. “I am filled with comfort, I overflow with joy in all our troubles.” (2 Cor. 7, 4)

4th Promise — “I will be their secure refuge in life, and above all in death.”

“One of the soldiers opened His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.” (John 19, 34) Christ’s side was opened to show that Divine Providence wished all men to find in His Divine Heart an assured refuge against the enemies of our salvation. In His Heart we can find protection, strength in our frailty, perseverance in our inconstancy, assured refuge in the dangers and toils of life, and at the hour of death.

5th Promise — “I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.”

“God is love.” He is ready to give His children abundant temporal blessings as long as they do not imperil our eternal interests. His “special” Providence protects and watches over those devoted to the Sacred Heart with peculiar love and tenderness. However, we should not be discouraged if our prayers for temporal favors are not always answered, for God always puts our eternal good before our temporal good.

6th Promise–“Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.”

The Redemption is the immortal drama of God’s mercy; and our Divine Redeemer is, as it were, God’s Mercy Incarnate. “With the Lord is kindness and with Him plenteous Redemption.” (Ps. 129, 7) On earth the Heart of Christ was full of mercy toward all. Now in His glorified humanity in heaven Jesus continues to show forth His boundless mercy, “always living to make intercession for us.” (Heb. 7,25)

7th Promise — “Tepid souls shall become fervent.”

Lukewarmness is a languid dying state of the soul that has lost its interest in religion. The Holy Spirit expresses deep disgust for such a soul: “You are neither cold nor hot … I am about to vomit you out of My mouth.” (Apoc. 3, 15) The only remedy for it is devotion to the Sacred Heart, Who came “to cast fire on earth,” i.e., to inspire the cold and tepid heart with new fear and love of God.

8th Promise — “Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.”

High perfection is the reward that Christ bestows on the fervent clients of His Divine Heart; for this devotion has, as its special fruit, to transform us into a close resemblance to our Blessed Lord. This is done by kindling in our hearts the fire of divine love, which, as St. Paul says, “is the bond of perfection.” (Col. 3, 14) Through devotion to the Sacred Heart self-love will give way to an ardent zeal for His interests.

9th Promise — “I will bless every place in which an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.”

Religious pictures are a powerful appeal and inspiration. The Sacred Heart is an open book wherein we may read the infinite love of Jesus for us in His Passion and Death. He shows us His Heart, cut open by the lance, all aglow like a fiery furnace of love, whose flames appear bursting forth from the top. It is encircled with thorns, the anguishing smarts of unheeded love. May it ever impel us to acts of love and generosity.

10th Promise — “I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.”

The conversion of a sinner calls sometimes for extraordinary graces. God never forces the free will of a human being. But He can give actual graces with which He forsees the sinner will overcome the resisting attitude of the most obstinate sinful soul. This, then, is what occurs in the case of priests who are animated with great devotion to the Sacred Heart.

11th Promise — “Those who promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.”

This Promise holds out to promoters of devotion to the Sacred Heart a wonderful reward–they “shall have their names written in My Heart.” These words imply a strong and faithful friendship of Christ Himself, and present to us “the Book of Life” of St. John: “I will not blot his name out of the book of life.” (Apoc. 3, 5)

12th Promise — “To those who shall communicate on the First Friday, for nine consecutive months, I will grant the grace of final penitence.”

This Promise contains a great reward, which is nothing less than heaven. “Final perseverance is a gratuitous gift of God’s goodness, and cannot be merited as an acquired right by any individual act of ours.” (Council of Trent) It is given as the reward for a series of acts continued to the end: “He who has persevered to the end will be saved.” (Matt. 10, 22)

History of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Among the wonderful developments of sacred teaching and piety, by which the plans of the divine wisdom are daily made clear to the Church, hardly any is more manifest than the triumphant progress made by the devotion of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Very often indeed, during the course of past ages, Fathers, Doctors, and Saints have celebrated our Redeemer’s love: and they have said, that the wound opened in the side of Christ was the hidden fountain of all graces. Moreover, from the Middle Ages onward, when the faithful began to show a more tender piety towards the most sacred Humanity of the Savior, contemplative souls became accustomed to penetrate through that wound almost to the very Heart itself, wounded for the love of men.

And from that time, this form of contemplation became so familiar to all persons of saintly life, that there was no country or religious order in which, during this period, witnesses to it were not to be found. Finally, during recent centuries, and most especially at that period when heretics, in the name of a false piety, strove to discourage Christians from receiving the most Holy Eucharist, the veneration of the most Sacred Heart began to be openly practiced, principally through the exertions of St. John Eudes, who is by no means unworthily called the founder of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

But, in order to establish fully and entirely the worship of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to spread the same throughout the whole world, God himself chose as his instrument a most humble virgin from the order of the Visitation, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who even in her earliest years already had a burning love for the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and to whom Christ the Lord had very many times appeared, and was pleased to make known the riches and the desires of his divine Heart.

The most famous of these appearances was that in which Jesus revealed himself to her in prayer before the blessed Sacrament, showed her his most Sacred Heart, and, complaining that in return for his unbounded love, he met with nothing but outrages and ingratitude from mankind, he ordered her to concern herself with the establishment of a new feast, on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, on which his Heart should be venerated with due honor, and that the insults offered him by sinners in the Sacrament of love should be expiated by worthy satisfaction.

But there is no one who does not know how many and how great were the obstacles which the handmaid of God experienced, in carrying out the commands of Christ: but, endowed with strength by the Lord himself, and actively aided by her pious spiritual directors, who exerted themselves with an almost unbelievable zeal, up to the time of her death she never ceased faithfully to carry out the duty entrusted to her by heaven.

At length, in the year 1765, the Supreme Pontiff Clement XIII approved the Mass and Office in honor of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus; and Pius IX extended the feast to the universal Church, From then on the worship of the most Sacred Heart, like an overflowing river, washing away all obstacles, has poured itself over the whole earth, and, at the dawn of the new century, Leo XIII, having proclaimed a jubilee, decided to dedicate the whole human race to the most Sacred Heart.

This consecration was actually carried out with solemn rites in all the churches of the Catholic world, and brought about a great increase of this devotion, leading not only nations but even private families to it, who in countless numbers dedicated themselves to the Divine Heart, and submitted themselves to its royal sway.

Lastly, the Sovereign Pontiff Pius XI, in order that, by its solemnity, the feast might answer more fully to the greatly widespread devotion of the Christian people, raised the feast of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus to the rite of a double of the first class, with an octave; and moreover, that the violated rights of Christ, the supreme King and most loving Lord, might be repaired, and that the sins of the nations might be bewailed, he ordered that annually, on that same feast-day, there should be recited an expiatory form of prayer in all the churches of the Christian world.

First Friday Devotions

Those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of the month and who assist at the public exercises in honor of the Sacred Heart, may gain: A plenary indulgence with the addition of Confession, Communion and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday, and recite privately some prayers in reparation for the injuries against the Sacred Heart, may gain: A plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. If, moreover, a public service is held, this latter indulgence can be gained only by those who are lawfully prevented from assisting at such a service.

Those who recite devout prayers of reparation on other Fridays of the year, may gain: An indulgence of 7 years once on each Friday. (Raccolta No. 252.)

Act of Consecration

I, N__ N__, give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being save to honor, love, and glorify the Sacred Heart.

This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him.

I therefore take Thee, O Sacred Heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life, and my sure refuge at the hour of death.

Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God Thy Father, and turn away from me the strokes of His righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in Thee, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness and bounty.

Do Thou consume in me all that can displease Thee or resist Thy holy will; let Thy pure love imprint Thee so deeply upon my heart, that I shall nevermore be able to forget Thee or to be separated from Thee; may I obtain from all Thy loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Thee, for in Thee I desire to place all my happiness and all my glory, living and dying in very bondage to Thee.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Indulgence of three years; plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout recitation of this act of consecration. (Raccolta 258)

An Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
(For the First Friday of the Month)

Adorable Heart of Jesus, glowing with love for us and inflamed with zeal for our salvation: O Heart! ever sensible of our misery and the wretchedness to which our sins have reduced us, infinitely rich in mercy to heal the wounds of our souls, behold us humbly prostrate before Thee to express the sorrow that fills our hearts for the coldness and indifference with which we have so long requited the numberless benefits that Thou hast conferred upon us. With a deep sense of the outrages that have been heaped upon Thee by our sins and the sins of others, we come to make a solemn reparation of honor to thy most sacred majesty. It was our sins that overwhelmed Thy Heart with bitterness; it was the weight of our iniquities that pressed down Thy face to the earth in the Garden of Olives, and caused Thee to expire in anguish and agony on the cross. But now, repenting and sorrowful, we cast ourselves at Thy feet, and implore forgiveness.

Adorable Heart of Jesus, source of true contrition and ever merciful to the penitent sinner, impart to our hearts the spirit of penance, and give to our eyes a fountain of tears, that we may sincerely bewail our sins now and for the rest of our days. Oh, would that we could blot them out, even with our blood! Pardon them, O Lord, in Thy mercy, and pardon and convert to Thee all that have committed irreverences and sacrileges against Thee in the sacrament, of Thy love, and thus give another proof that Thy mercy is above all Thy works. Divine Jesus, with Thee there are mercy and plentiful redemption; deliver us from our sins, accept the sincere desire we now entertain, and our holy resolution, relying on the assistance of Thy grace, henceforth to be faithful to Thee. And in order to repair the sins of ingratitude by which we have grieved Thy most tender and loving Heart, we are resolved in the future ever to love and honor Thee in the most adorable Sacrament of the Altar, where Thou art ever present to hear and grant our petitions, and to be the food and life of our souls. Be Thou, O compassionate Jesus! our Mediator with Thy heavenly Father, Whom we have so grievously offended, strengthen our weakness, confirm these our resolutions of amendment, and as Thy Sacred Heart is our refuge and our hope when we have sinned, so may it be the strength and support of our repentance, that nothing in life or death may ever again separate us from Thee. Amen.

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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,*
God, the Holy Ghost,*
Holy Trinity, one God,*
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,*
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Ghost in the Virgin Mother’s womb,*
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,*
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty,*
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God,*
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High,*
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven,*
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity,*
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love,*
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,*
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,*
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,*
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,*
Heart of Jesus, wherein are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,*
Heart of Jesus, wherein dwelleth all the fulness of Godhead*
Heart of Jesus, in Whom the Father is well pleased,*
Heart of Jesus, of Whose fulness we have all received,*
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,*
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy,*
Heart of Jesus, rich unto all who call upon Thee,*
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness,*
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses,*
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches,*
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities,*
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death,*
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,*
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,*
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,*
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,*
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins,*
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee,*
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,*
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints,*

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world.
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

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 of Thy great goodness grant them pardon when they seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee for ever and ever. Amen.

Indulgence of seven years, each time.–Leo XIII, April 2, 1899; S. P. Ap., March 10, 1933.

Consecration of the Family to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Who manifested to Blessed Margaret Mary the desire of reigning in Christian families, we today wish to acknowledge publicly Your absolute dominion over our family. We desire henceforth to live with Your life; we desire to let those virtues take root and thrive among us to which You have promised peace here below; we will banish far from us that spirit of the world which You cursed.

Rule, therefore, over our minds through the simplicity of our faith and over our hearts through the wholehearted love with which they shall burn for You, the flame of which we shall keep alive through the frequent reception of the Divine Eucharist.

Deign, O Divine Heart, to preside over our assemblies, to bless our spiritual and temporal enterprises, to dispel our cares, to sanctify our joys and to alleviate our sufferings. If one or other of us should at any time have the misfortune to afflict You, remind him, O Heart of Jesus, that You are good and merciful to the penitent sinner. And when the hour of separation strikes, when death shall come to cast gloom into our midst, we will all, both those who go and those who stay, be resigned to Your eternal decrees. We will console ourselves with the thought that a day will come when the entire family, reunited in Heaven, can sing forever Your glories and Your mercies.

May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious Patriarch St. Joseph present this consecration to You, and keep it in our minds all the days of our life. All glory to the Heart of Jesus, our King and our Father.

* Indulgence: a) The members of a family, on the day when for the first time the family is consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, if they recite the above prayer before a likeness of the Sacred Heart, are granted: An indulgence of 7 years. A plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.

b) The members of a family, on the day when this consecration is renewed each year, if they make use of the same prayer before a likeness of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, are granted: An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. (Raccolta 705)

Aspirations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, protect our families.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. Plenary indulgence monthly under the usual conditions, if recited daily. (Raccolta 236)

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your kingdom come.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. (Raccolta 228)

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

An, indulgence of 500 days each time. Plenary indulgence monthly under the usual conditions. (Raccolta 242)

Sacred Heart of Jesus, may You be known, loved, and imitated.

An indulgence of 300 days once a day. (Raccolta 235)

Sweet Heart of Jesus, I implore, that I may love You more and more.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. For its daily recital a plenary indulgence is granted once a month under the usual conditions. (Raccolta 224)

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.

An indulgence of 500 days each time. Plenary indulgence monthly under the usual conditions. (Raccolta 227)

All for You, O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. (Raccolta 234)

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Your love for me.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. (Raccolta 230)

Heart of Jesus, let me love You and make You loved.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. (Raccolta 240)

O Heart of love, I put all my trust in You; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Your goodness.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. Plenary indulgence monthly under the usual conditions. (Raccolta 232)

O Divine Heart of Jesus, convert the sinners, save the dying, and release the holy souls in Purgatory.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. (Raccolta 229)

Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my love.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. (Raccolta 237)

Honor, Love and Thanksgiving be to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

An indulgence of 300 days each time. (Raccolta 231)

Prayer to the Sacred Heart

Hail! O sacred Heart of Jesus, living and quickening source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary, O my amiable Savior. Consume my heart with that burning fire with which Thine is ever inflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Thy love, and let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy divine will be equally the standard and rule of all my desires and of all my actions. Amen

Saint Gertrude

Form of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine Altar (outside a church or oratory say: in Thy presence). We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but to be more surely united to Thee, behold, each one of us this day freely dedicates himself to Thy Most Sacred Heart. Many, indeed, have never known Thee; many, too, despising Thy precepts have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal sons who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they perish of wretchedness and hunger. Be Thou King of those whom heresy holds in error or discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one fold and one Shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who even now sit in the shadow of idolatry or Islam, and refuse not Thou to bring them into the light of Thy kingdom. Look, finally. with eyes of pity upon the children of that race, which was for so long a time Thy chosen people: and let Thy Blood, which was once invoked upon them in vengeance, now descend upon them also in a cleansing flood of redemption and eternal life. Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; unto all nations give an ordered tranquillity; bring it to pass that from pole to pole the earth may resound with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(Indulgence: 5 years, each time)

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