The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Of all Catholic devotions, this one continues to be the most popular and widespread.
In this post I’ll give a brief history and explanation of the devotion.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be traced back to the 11th century.
From the 11th through the 16th century, it remained a private devotion connected to the Five Wounds of Christ.
The first feast dedicated to the Sacred Heart took place on August 31, 1670 in Rennes, France due to the efforts of Father Jean Eudes — who is now a canonized saint.
Devotion spread from Rennes, but it only became universal after the efforts of Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque — who is now a canonized saint.
On December 27, 1673 Sr. Margaret Mary received a series of visions that continued for a year and a half.
Jesus told the French nun that she was chosen to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart, which included the creation of a universal feast.
On June 16, 1675 Jesus appeared to Sr. Margaret Mary during the Octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi.
During that vision — known as the “great apparition” — He asked her to request for the Feast of the Sacred Heart to be celebrated on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi.
After Sr. Margaret Mary’s death in 1690, devotion to the Sacred Heart became popular; but it took many years for it to be officially recognized by the Church.
In 1765, seventy five years after her death, Pope Clement XIII approved the devotion and the feast was officially celebrated in France.
In 1856, at the request of French bishops, Pope Pius IX extended the feast to the Universal Church.
The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated annually on the day requested by the Lord.
It’s a movable feast which takes place nineteen days after Pentecost.
This year it’s celebrated on: Friday, June 24th.
Jesus makes “Twelve Promises” to those devoted to His Sacred Heart.
The following promises were given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.
1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2. I will give peace in their families and will unite families that are divided.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. I will be their refuge during life and above all in death.
5. I will bestow the blessings of Heaven on all their enterprises.
6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall rise quickly to great perfection.
9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored and will imprint My love on the hearts of those who would wear this image on their person. I will also destroy in them all disordered movements.
10. I will give to priests who are animated by a tender devotion to my Divine Heart the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be effaced.
12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate [receive Holy Communion] on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence: they will not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their Sacraments. My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
“And He [Jesus] made me see that He intensely desired to be loved by men and to snatch them from the path of perdition onto which Satan was driving them in throngs. It was this that made Him decide to manifest His heart to men – with all the treasures of love, mercy, graces, sanctification and salvation it contained…” ~ St. Margaret Mary
The devotion has several components.
Below is a list of acts that are part of the devotion. Click on the individual title for more information.
A partial indulgence is granted under the usual conditions — Holy Communion, Confession, prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, and detachment from sin — to the faithful who piously recite the Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
A plenary indulgence is granted under the usual conditions if the Act of Reparation is publicly recited on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, June 24th.
Note: The Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is usually celebrated on June 24, but this year has the rare coincidence of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist and the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart falling on the same day. The Holy See has determined the Sacred Heart should be celebrated on June 24, 2022, and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist celebrated on the 23rd, unless St. John the Baptist is the patron of the diocese, nation, city, or religious community, in which case it is the feast of the Sacred Heart that would be transferred to the 23rd (catholicculture.org)
Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before you, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which your loving Heart is everywhere subject.
Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask your pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow you, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of your law.
We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against you; we are now determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holy-days, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against you and your Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which your Vicar on earth and your priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of your divine love, and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which you have founded.
Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of your divine honor, the satisfaction you once made to your Eternal Father on the cross and which you continue to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of your Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of your grace, for all neglect of your great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending you and to bring as many as possible to follow you.
O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to you, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, God, forever and ever. Amen.
(1968 Enchiridion of Indulgences)