General devotion to the Sacred Heart, the birthplace of the Church and the font of Love, were popular in Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries, especially in response to the devotion of St. Gertrude the Great (b. 1256), but specific devotions became even more popularized when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation nun, had a personal revelation involving a series of visions of Christ as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. She wrote, “He disclosed to me the marvels of his Love and the inexplicable secrets of his Sacred Heart.” Christ emphasized to her His love — and His woundedness caused by Man’s indifference to this love.
He promised that, in response to those who consecrate themselves and make reparations to His Sacred Heart:
- He will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
- He will establish peace in their homes.
- He will comfort them in all their afflictions.
- He will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
- He will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
- Sinners will find in His Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
- Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
- He will bless every place in which an image of His Heart is exposed and honored.
- He will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
- Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in His Heart.
- In the excessive mercy of His Heart that His all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in His disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. His divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
The devotions attached to these promises are:
- Receiving Communion frequently
- First Fridays: going to Confession and receiving the Eucharist on the first Friday of each month for nine consecutive months. Many parishes will offer public First Friday devotions; if they do, you must perform First Fridays publicly. If it isn’t so offered in your parish, you can do this privately, going to Confession, receiving the Eucharist, and offering your prayers for the intention of the Holy Father.
- Holy Hour: Eucharistic Adoration for one hour on Thursdays (“Could you not watch one hour with me?”). Holy Hour can be made alone or as part of a group with formal prayers.
- Celebrating of the Feast of the Sacred Heart (see below)
Note also that June is devoted to the Sacred Heart.
Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
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 to die as one of Thy devoted servants.
— St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
from the book
Devotion To The Sacred Heart
by Fr. John Croiset, S.J.
Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sacred Heart of Jesus, You made clear to Saint Margaret Mary Your desire of being King in Christian families. We today wish to proclaim Your most complete kingly dominion over our own family. We want to live in the future with Your life. We want to cause to flourish in our midst those virtues to which You have promised peace here below. We want to banish far from us the spirit of the world which You have cursed. You shall be King over our minds in the simplicity of our faith, and over our hearts by the wholehearted love with which they shall burn for You, the flame of which we will keep alive by the frequent reception of Your divine Eucharist. Be so kind, O divine Heart, as to preside over our assemblings, to bless our enterprises, both spiritual and temporal, to dispel our cares, to sanctify our joys, and to alleviate our sufferings. If ever one or other of us should 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 mourning into our midst, we will all, both those who go and those who stay, be submissive to Your eternal decrees. We shall 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 Saint 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!
A Short Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart of Jesus, filled with infinite love, broken by my ingratitude, pierced by my sins, yet loving me still, accept the consecration that I make to You, of all that I am and all that I have. Take every faculty of my soul and body, and draw me, day by day, nearer and nearer to Your Sacred Side, and there, as I can bear the lesson, teach me Your blessed ways. Amen.
A Novena Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sacred Heart of Jesus, we know that there is but one thing impossible to You: to be without pity for those who are in suffering or distress. Look down on us, we beg of You and grant us the grace which we humbly and earnestly implore, through the Immaculate Heart of Your most sorrowful Mother to whom You confided us as her children, and whose prayers are all powerful with You. Amen.
(From “Heart Speaks to Heart,” The Sacred Heart Program.)
Aspirations to the Sacred Heart
All for You, most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your kingdom come.
Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine. My Jesus, mercy.
Taken from The Rural Life Prayerbook, written and compiled by Alban J. Dachauer, S.J, in cooperation with the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Drawings by Tom Chouteau.
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(c) 1956 National Catholic Rural Life Conference