Dear Friends in Christ:
This past Friday, we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I did not realize it or pay too much attention to the fact that as a kid, we always had in our home a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (not bad for a Baptist mom and Jewish step-dad). Later, I realized that practically every photo I ever saw of my natural father and his sister as young children was taken in front of a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. My dad was born in 1920! In my room, I have a small statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I have carried with me since I was in high school. You may be wondering “so what?” Well, it was customary for Catholic families to have a shrine, a home altar, a picture or a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus prominently displayed in a place of honor in their home. The reason for this comes from the promises of Jesus that he made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French Visitation Nun in an apparition in the 17th Century. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is in response to the great love that Jesus has for us as shown in his dying on the cross for our salvation and symbolized by his Sacred Heart which burns in love for all humanity.
The Promises of the Sacred Heart
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will establish peace in their families.
3. I will comfort them in their trials.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death.
5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent.
8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.
9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
I would like to encourage you and your family to have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Make sure that somewhere in your home you have a picture or statue of the Sacred Heart and that you remember and recall often the great love that Jesus has for you. Trust in the promises of Jesus and open your heart to the love of his heart and love for you. In spreading this devotion, know that it is not “magic” or superstition. Rather, it is love. When you love someone and they love you, you naturally want to share the joy of this love. When Jesus is at the center of our home, is prominent in our family life and in our consciousness and is honored and reflected by how we live, God’s grace and peace are certainly with us. The image of the Sacred Heart is a reflection of our lived reality.
Have a great and wonderful week!
In pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately