Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

The Greatest Love: The Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart

This week I aim to finish writing a book for a publisher by Friday. Therefore to save time and since it’s June again, I’m reprising (mostly)a previous post about the Sacred Heart. 

Last week I spoke to catechetical leaders in our diocese about the love of Christ. I wanted a statue of the Sacred Heart for the prayer table that day. One of our kind Sisters found a beige one and added red paint for me so it resembled the one pictured here.

The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Not so long ago I was in line in the library. When the man in front of me opened his wallet, I glimpsed a Sacred Heart badge. Today some people consider this devotion passé or sentimental, and children may think the art is morbid. Still, the heart of Jesus is a powerful symbol. What does the heart mean in our culture? Life, love, our whole being. (Hebrews thought kidneys had this role!) The heart of Jesus stands for his total, tremendous love for us. And that is the heart of the matter!

When we say, “I love you with my whole heart,” we mean “with all that I am.” God’s love for us compelled him to hide his divinity and become human. Almighty God became one of his creatures. He showed with all his being that he cared for us. His life on earth culminated in the greatest act of love: dying for the sake of the beloved. What’s more, after Jesus died on the cross to save us, a soldier thrust a lance into his heart to make sure he was dead. Yes, a heart is a very fitting symbol for the love of Jesus.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart began in the eleventh century, way before anyone celebrated Valentine’s Day with its avalanche of hearts. Saints, monks and others included it in their private prayers. The symbol received a divine boost when Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary in the seventeenth century and asked her to promote it. He said he wanted everyone to know the depths of his love for them. At one point, he said, “Behold this heart, which has so loved men [and women], but which is so little loved in return.” Unrequited love is sad. Unrequited divine love is terrible.

Jesus requested frequent Communion, especially on the first Friday of each month; holy hours; and a feast in honor of the Sacred Heart. Devotion to the Sacred Heart took off. The Pope established what we know today as the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, celebrated on the Friday nineteen days after Pentecost. The Jesuits were charged with promoting this devotion, and characteristically, they did a great job. People had scapulars or badges of the Sacred Heart, families were consecrated to the Sacred Heart and his image was enthroned in their homes, Catholics began going to Communion on nine consecutive Fridays, and prayed the Litany to the Sacred Heart.

In art the Sacred Heart is surmounted by a cross and encircled with thorns, both symbols of his love. Flames shoot forth from the heart to represent the burning love Jesus has for us. In some pictures (like the one at the top here) Jesus is shown offering his heart to us.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart is devotion to Jesus. It makes sense. It was specifically requested by him. Aren’t these enough reasons to love Jesus in return by honoring him under this title?

What do you think?

Here is a hymn about the Sacred Heart that I never heard before:

Image: “Sacred Heart” by Joseph Fanelli, ©1994. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts

Awarded Top 100 Catholic Blog

Meet Sr. Kathleen

Jesus depends on us to spread the Good News of God’s love, offering the world hope and joy. Mary Kathleen, a Sister of Notre Dame from Chardon, Ohio, responds through writing, speaking, giving retreats, and teaching. Her motto, adopted from Eddie Doherty’s gravesite, is “All my words for the Word.”

About Catholic Faith Corner

A warm welcome to Catholic Faith Corner! May my reflections help you know and live the Catholic faith, inspire you, and touch your heart. I hope you subscribe here and occasionally comment on my posts.

Subscribe to Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


A Child’s Book
of Psalms

Here is a simple version of verses from favorite psalms, followed by a one-line prayer. Colored photos enhance the 24-page booklet.

Featured Book

Totally Catholic! A Catechism for Kids and Their Parents and Teachers

This award-winning book is being used in classrooms and by RCIA groups.

Visit My Book Store

Sister Kathleen has more than ninety books published and has worked on six textbook series. Several of her books have garnered awards from the Catholic Press Association and Multimedia International. You can buy from Amazon, but purchasing books directly from her earns more for her community.