Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The devotion to the Sacred Heart (also known as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacratissimum Cor Iesu in Latin) is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ′s physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity.
This devotion is predominantly used in the Roman Catholic Church and in a modified way among some high-church Anglicans, Lutherans and Eastern Catholics. The devotion is especially concerned with what the Church deems to be the longsuffering love and compassion of the heart of Christ towards humanity. The popularization of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675, and later, in the 19th century, from the mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, a religious of the Good Shepherd, who requested in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism, particularly with Saint Gertrude the Great.
1 Jn 4:7-16
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a holy image that has always held special meaning for me. It all started when I would attend mass at Singapore’s Church of the Sacred Heart. I started going there not for any particularly pious reasons. Rather, I went there because it was situated a stone’s throw from Orchard Road, Singapore’s shopping belt. I remember that I would go there for the 12pm mass and meet my friends after that for a late lunch downtown.
Maybe it was all those times of glancing up at the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the façade of the building, as I hurried in for mass (late again!). Or maybe I saw the image of the Sacred Heart again while praying in my regular parish, the Church of St Ignatius. In any case, the image of the Sacred Heart has come to comfort me in my darkest times.
It is also an amusing fact that my son likes to play in front of the Sacred Heart statue in our parish during mass. He likes to look up at Jesus, and sometimes even kneels down in front of Him to pray. I have often found myself in the same posture, gazing up at the Sacred Heart of Jesus, looking into His sad but loving eyes and slowly allowing my gaze to follow His hand and rest upon His heart.
A heart that is bound by a crown of thorns and adorned by a flaming cross. He took on the crown of thorns so that our hearts may be set on fire. He loved us so much that He would suffer so greatly for us. Is that not the greatest love story that we have ever heard? Is that not the greatest love story that we are still living through? I have, over the years, come to see the Sacred Heart as a symbol of Jesus’s love for me. The greatest love that I could ever experience and receive.
And in my time of need, I saw Him come and gather me up in His arms and tell me how much He loved me. Yes, I am sinful and so terribly flawed. But yet He loves me still. There will never be a greater love story than this. And if we are to blink and miss this moment, we would have missed out on the greatest love of all time — God’s love for us.
(Today’s Oxygen by Jacob Woo)
Prayer: Lord, we come to You, our hearts heavy with sin but bursting with love for You. Who can resolve this terrible contradiction that is man, burdened by sin but filled with love? It is only You who could ever understand the depths of my heart and love me nonetheless.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for continuing to love and nourish us. May we, in our gratitude, learn to love You better.