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Devotion to the Sacred Heart
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is as old as Christianity. When the side of Christ was pierced on Calvary, there immediately flowed out blood and water. The Church has interpreted this to mean the outpouring of grace through the Church, which began the moment that Christ expired on the Cross.
Over the centuries, the gratitude of the faithful for this manifestation of divine love has centered on the physical Heart of Jesus as the symbol of Gods love for man. We may therefore say that devotion to the Sacred Heart is really devotion to the love of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
When God became man, it was God - who is love - who became man. In the languages of all nations, the heart is identified with love. Consequently our devotion to the Heart of Jesus is directed to the love of Jesus in different ways.
To be emphasized is the unique character of devotion to the Sacred Heart. It is nothing less than a synthesis of Catholic Christianity in its loving response to the unspeakable love of God for the sons and daughters of the human family.
For the sake of convenience, we may divide the terms Sacred Heart and Devotion into two parts.
A simple but very effective way of growing in devotion to the Sacred Heart is to recite daily the morning offering of the Apostleship of Prayer:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.
Among the promises made by our Lord to St. Margaret Mary was the assurance that, Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be blotted out.
One of my hopes for the readers of Challenge magazine is that they will become zealous promoters of devotion to the Sacred Heart in a world that is starving for the love of God.
Copyright © 1999 Inter Mirifica
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