The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Do We know it?

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Do We know it? June 3, 2024

June 7th is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Now I have heard of the devotion to the Sacred Heart and I have seen images.   However, I’ve never practiced this devotion.  In truth, I struggle with devotions, not because I doubt their efficaciousness, but because I lack the discipline My novenas tend to be septenas or dovenas or trevenas –but not all in sequence.  Devotions which require exactitude are not my specialty.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is decidedly weak, weak, weak, weak, especially when prayer regimens require certain days of the week.

So I looked up the image to put one here, and discovered Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) is the painter who depicted the most famous image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Here is his work.   Missions of Divine Revelation gave me a lot of information about his history as an artist and the prayer for June,  “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.”

Yesterday was the feast of Corpus Christi, and this week, the feast of the Sacred heart.   I’d been asking God to reinvigorate my soul -which has felt tired and frustrated and like all the words, all the work is just going nowhere –but that is demanding that I know where the work goes, and I define if the work is successful or not. My brother read to me a prayer over the phone, chiding me for my need to have  a visible success.

As if to underscore the point, Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Cardinal John Dearden in November 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.” The mystery is that the words of the prayer are commonly attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.”

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.

The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts; it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.  No prayer fully expresses our faith.  No confession brings perfection.  No pastoral visit brings wholeness.  No program accomplishes the church’s mission.  No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.  We water the seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.  We lay foundations that will need further development.  We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.  This enables us to do something and to do it well.  It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.  We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

Teaching is like that too, we plant seeds. This weekend, I got to meet some of the grown up students of the school where I teach, who I never taught, but who clearly thrived in part because of what someone somewhere at this school did to help them get to the next step.  The railing does not care who it helps, it is merely there for whosoever grasps it to steady or advance or catch themselves.

Back to researching the Sacred Heart, because my heart needed to be more about the sacred, and less distracted or overwhelmed by everything.   I didn’t know Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, but heard about her mystic experience encountering Jesus on the radio as I drove to pick up my daughter from school.   One thing I love about mystic experiences, is how inviting and offputting Jesus is in many of them.

Jesus said to her, “My Divine Heart is so inflamed with love for men, and for thee in particular that, being unable any longer to contain within Itself the flames of Its burning charity, It needs to spread them abroad by thy means, and manifest itself to them (mankind) in order to enrich them with the precious treasures which I discover to thee, and with contain graces of sanctification and salvation necessary to withdraw them from the abyss of perdition. I have chosen thee as an abyss of unworthiness and ignorance for the accomplishment of this great design, in order that everything may be done by Me.”

Saying “I’ve chosen you because you are an abyss of unworthiness and ignorance…” doesn’t exactly sound nice.  Jesus isn’t nice.  However few of us would recognize that we are not even worthy to be called an “abyss of unworthiness and ignorance.” We would chaffe at such a name, and think somehow, we were better –or that shouldn’t God not start off a relationship with us with insults?


Answer, it’s part of that, “He’s not a tame lion.”  God invites us, but it is going to be mysterious. Relating to God is tremendous, but it is difficult, it brings challenges.  God will sandpaper or blast away all that is not Him, all that is sin, all that keeps us from Him.  Truth consumes that which is not truth, and reduces it to nothing.  However, God begins with something much more important than our egos.  There is no truth telling friend better than Jesus, but you will only get truth, and you will only get love.  It’s up to you to recognize the reality of what is being offered.

God is offering us His heart.

So I looked up more about the devotion, given my own admitted ignorance.   I began with this video which I found at the website, the Carmelite Sisters.  The video has privacy settings so I’m including the link to the page here.   It’s just a minute and fourty-five seconds so go watch and come back.   The video revealed to me, even in that brief snippet, how restless my own spirit was.

I’d heard there were twelve promises offered to those who seek Christ’s heart.

First Promise

I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
All I could think was, “I need that. “

Second Promise

I will establish peace in their families.
Again, I thought, “I need that too.”

Third Promise

I will comfort them in their trials.
Jesus, I would like that. 

Fourth Promise

I will be their secure refuge during life and, above all, in death.
Yes, please.

Those all sound great.  What do I do?

Tune in tomorrow when I delve into this again, and find out more –like what this devotion entails.

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