Monday 6th July 2015

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Reconnecting With Mary . . . Devotion To The Sacred Heart: How It Began

May 15, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL FOLEY

Part 1

(Editor’s Note: Due to an organizational error, part 2 of the Sacred Heart series went in our issue dated May 1, before part 1 appeared. We therefore present part 1 here, with our apologies.)

+    +    +

This is the first article in a series of three concerned with the Sacred Heart Devotion. The origins of this devotion, which has proved so fruitful for the Church, go right back to Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. In chapter 19 of St. John’s Gospel, we read of what happened after the crucifixion, after Jesus’ garments had been divided, after He had given Mary His Mother to St. John, and St. John to her.
While His dead body was on the cross, one of the soldiers pierced His side — His heart — with a spear, and blood and water came out of the wound. St. John pointed to the prophetic significance of this act saying that it fulfilled the words of Zechariah, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10).
The implication of this act of the soldier is that it showed that the very last drops of Christ’s Blood were shed for mankind, as a sign of His infinite love.
But even before this, during His public ministry, Christ had referred to this love of His for mankind, of His gentle and lowly heart, and invited all to share this love: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
While He was preaching, too, Christ had focused on the heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). He also spoke of how for those who believed in Him, His heart would become a fountain from which rivers of living water would flow (John 7:37-39). As St. John goes on to point out, this was a reference to the Holy Spirit, who would be Christ’s gift to His followers once He had been glorified.
Why did Christ focus on the heart in this way, both His own and that of others? Surely because the heart is universally recognized as the seat of the emotions, of human love. Although Jesus is God He is also man, and since the Incarnation, since His taking human flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin at the Annunciation, He has had a real human body and a real human heart.
So in the devotion to Christ’s Sacred Heart we have a way of expressing our particular love for Him as a real person, and not just an abstract religious figure. And since He lives forever to intercede for us, He reciprocates our love in an infinite way.
The devotion to Christ’s Sacred Heart can also be traced back in a general way to the New Testament, as for example in the writings of St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist, with their focus on Christ’s love for mankind. But it was only around the 11th and 12th centuries that this devotion really began to develop, particularly in Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries. Meditation on the wounded side of Christ ultimately led to a focus on His wounded heart, and this devotion was well known to figures such as St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Mechtilde, and St. Gertrude.
Indeed, it is related that St. Gertrude, who was a Benedictine nun, had a mystical experience on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, in which she rested her head near the wound in Christ’s side and heard the beating of His heart. She asked St. John, who was also present, why he had never spoken of this in his Gospel, and he told her that this new revelation was reserved for those times when love for God in the world, having grown cold, would need to be rekindled.
Between the 13th and 16th centuries, this devotion was practiced in a private way by many people, and also in a number of religious congregations. Various prayers and exercises were recommended for the devotion, as can be seen in the works of writers such as John of Avila, Louis of Blois, and, later on, St. Francis de Sales, most particularly in his Treatise on the Love of God.
From this point on, the Sacred Heart devotion flourished, being practiced by many Jesuits, including St. Francis Borgia and St. Peter Canisius. It was also popular amongst some Carmelites, Benedictines, and particularly in the Visitation Order founded in 1610 by St. Jane Frances de Chantal and St. Francis de Sales, for those women who didn’t have the physical strength to undergo the regime then current in other religious orders.
It was St. John Eudes (1602-1680), a French missionary and founder of two religious orders, though, who elevated the status of the devotion by composing an office and establishing a Feast for the Sacred Heart. Interestingly, he began by promoting devotion to the Heart of Mary, and only later did he focus on devotion to the Sacred Heart. These two devotions, and particularly the devotion to the Sacred Heart, acted as a spiritual antidote to the increasing rationalism of European society during this period. It was also around this time that Jansenism, a Calvinist-influenced strain of teaching, was causing a “coldness” to enter into Catholic life in France.
St. John Eudes was instrumental in promoting the first Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1670, at Rennes in France. It spread to other dioceses and was adopted by various religious communities, and eventually this devotion coalesced with that which originated through the work of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690).
Margaret Mary was a religious of the Visitation Order who had been attracted to the order because of her delicate health. Christ appeared to her on a number of occasions with revelations about the love of His Sacred Heart for mankind. Like St. Gertrude, she was given the privilege of resting her head upon Christ’s Heart, and being told how much He loved mankind and sought a return for this love.
This particular revelation occurred on December 27, the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, probably in 1673, while Margaret Mary was a nun in the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial, a small town in the Burgundy region of eastern France.
She related what happened to Fr. Claude de la Colombière, who was in charge of the Jesuit house in the town, describing how she had had a vision of Jesus, during which she was given some idea of the greatness of His love for mankind. She related how Christ had told her that He wanted her to announce this love; and a similar theme was expressed during the second apparition, early in 1674.
During this, Margaret Mary saw Jesus’ Sacred Heart on a throne of flames, transparent as crystal, surrounded by a crown of thorns signifying the sins of mankind, with a cross above it. Again Jesus told her of His infinite love for mankind and His desire that He should be honored through the display of this image of His heart, with the promise that all who did so would be especially blessed. This vision is the origin of the traditional Sacred Heart picture which became so well known in later centuries, as indicated in one of the promises made by Christ to her: “I will bless every place where a picture of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.”
The next article will look at the third and fourth apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, as well as the Great Promise associated with this devotion, and the way in which it developed in the Church in succeeding centuries.

+    +    +

(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related website at www.theotokos.org.uk.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

No, America Is Not a Great Nation

Here’s the truth: I am not happy with this country, and you shouldn’t be, either. I am disappointed in it. It disgraces itself. It turns from God. It kills its young. It attacks the family. Am I supposed to pretend otherwise…Continue Reading

Listen to the Pope, Iowa Catholic Leaders Tell GOP

Catholic leaders call on GOP hopefuls to heed pope’s teachings on climate, economics By THOMAS BEAUMONT and RACHEL ZOLL, Associated Press ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — Roman Catholic leaders in the early voting state of Iowa implored candidates for president Thursday…Continue Reading

Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare subsidies

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld ObamaCare subsidies nationwide, in the second major court victory for President Obama on his signature health care law. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that subsidies are valid even in states that did…Continue Reading

Synod on the Family’s working document sets the stage for spirited discussion

Vatican City, Jun 24, 2015 / 12:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- That the discussion at October’s Synod on the Family is going to be a lively one is indicated by the fact that the most controversial paragraphs of the final report…Continue Reading

Abortion Drone Will Fly Dangerous Abortion Pills to Poland to Violate Its Pro-Life Laws

drone

The pro-abortion organization that formerly ran the abortion boat that distributed the dangerous abortion pill in international waters outside pro-life nations that protect unborn children has come up with a new marketing scheme to push abortion in pro-life nations: drones.…Continue Reading

St. Louis’ Catholic Archbishop Carlson discusses same-sex marriage, clergy sex abuse, racism, more

At their annual spring meeting held in St. Louis last week, U.S Catholic bishops discussed several issues currently facing the Catholic Church, including: the clergy sex abuse scandal, what the Church sees as challenges to marriage, and the pope’s upcoming…Continue Reading

Nienstedt resigns; New Jersey bishop named interim head of Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Archbishop John Nienstedt has resigned in the wake of criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for its “role in failing to protect children and contribution to the unspeakable harm” experienced by victims in priest sex-abuse cases. Nienstedt says…Continue Reading

Priests needed: As Church growth explodes worldwide, parishes can’t keep up

Washington D.C., Jun 12, 2015 / 05:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The global Catholic population is growing – so quickly, in fact, that priest and parish numbers cannot keep up, says a new study on trends in the worldwide Church. And…Continue Reading

Cardinal Kasper hints at new ‘Vatican II’ strategy to gain approval of Communion proposal

June 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – In the face of increasing opposition to his plan to approve giving Holy Communion to people who are in adulterous remarriages, Cardinal Walter Kasper is hinting at a new “Vatican II” strategy for accomplishing his…Continue Reading

No Law Can Be Based on Injustice

In 2010, the United States Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was designed by President Obama and Congressional leaders to expand access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage in the United States. After the law…Continue Reading

Cardinal: Divorced and remarried Catholics need support for conversion, not changes on communion

Catholics who have divorced and remarried need help for the “difficult climb” of conversion and spiritual growth, not a change in Church practice on the reception of Holy Communion, a prominent cardinal said. Cardinal Ennio Antonelli summarized the advice of…Continue Reading

Obama: Without Catholic Nun We Would Not Have Gotten Obamacare Done

(CNSNews.com) – While addressing the Catholic Health Association Conference in Washington, D.C., yesterday, President Barack Obama said that the Affordable Care Act—AKA Obamacare—would not have been enacted had it not been for Sister Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis en route to Ecuador

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is en route to Ecuador, the first stage of a three-country tour in Latin America that will also see him in Bolivia and Paraguay – three “sister nations” as the Holy Father described them in the video message broadcast in the three countries simultaneously ahead of the visit. The Holy Father’s flight departed Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport (Fiumicino) shortly after 9:30 AM Rome Time on Sunday morning, and is scheduled…Continue Reading

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI receives honorary doctorates

(Vatican Radio) Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI received Doctorates honoris causa on Saturday from the Pontifical John Paul II University of Krakow and the Krakow Academy of Music. The motivation for the honors issued by the University’s Academic Senate specifies five contributions Pope Benedict has made to knowledge and culture: his great respect for the musical tradition of the Church and remarkable sensitivity to the music of faith; the life-long and constant demonstration of a special concern for…Continue Reading

Univ. of San Francisco Celebrates SCOTUS Marriage Ruling, Despite Catholic Mission

usan

July 2, 2015, at 11:22 AM  |  By Justin Petrisek  | While the U.S. bishops responded to last week’s marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court by upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church, one Jesuit university chose to publicly celebrate the decision in direct conflict with its Catholic identity and mission. Over the weekend, the University of San Francisco (USF), a Jesuit Catholic university, used its Twitter and Facebook accounts to celebrate the San Francisco…Continue Reading

‘No Global’ author at Vatican event on climate and poverty reduction

(Vatican Radio) A Catholic climate scientist and a secular Jewish feminist formed an “unlikely alliance” in the Vatican press office on Wednesday to present a two day conference entitled ‘People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course’. The conference, which will take place at the Pontifical Augustinianum University in Rome, includes some 200 political, religious and civil society leaders from all continents who’ll be discussing Pope Francis’ new encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ in light of…Continue Reading

So Now Is It “Hate Speech” To Deplore The Obergefell Decision?

By PHIL LAWLER (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews reprinted this article from CatholicCulture.org with permission. All rights reserved.) + + + The ink was barely dry on last week’s Supreme Court ruling when Fr. James Martin, SJ, began scolding Catholics who were, from his decorous perspective, too strident in denouncing the decision. “No issue brings out so…Continue Reading

The Popes, Marian Devotion, And The New Evangelization

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Part 3 This is the third article in a series which looks at Marian devotion, and the New Evangelization, in the light of the teaching of recent Popes. It is noteworthy, that even before St. John Paul II became Pope in 1978, he had adopted the Latin phrase “Totus Tuus” as…Continue Reading

Although Their Adversaries Seem Strong . . . Law-School Interns Are Reminded That Even Old USSR Collapsed

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Almost ready to start applying their new knowledge to battle moral challenges around the globe, law-school students at a dinner here were reminded that the Soviet Union once was regarded as an invincible adversary, but it finally collapsed in relatively short order. The Christian law students from 11 countries, interns…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The ‘Gay’ Case Against Abortion”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For electronic copies of previous articles on homosexual “marriage,” the special rights agenda, and the role of homosexuality in the Church crisis, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “Feminists and political liberals have argued…Continue Reading

Protecting Hatred Preserves Freedom

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO The tragedy of a mass murder in Charleston, S.C., obviously motivated by racial hatred, has raised anew the issue of the lawfulness of the state expressing an opinion by flying a Confederate flag at the statehouse, and the constitutionality of the use of the First Amendment to protect hate speech and…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

An Apologetics Course… Why Be A Christian? Why Not Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 9 There are many religions in the world today, all claiming to be true. Many were founded by individuals who claimed to be “prophets” of God — or of the gods, depending. In this context, why be a Christian at all? Why not be a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, an animist,…Continue Reading

The Four Marks Of The Church — Holiness

By DON FIER Part 2 The second of four distinguishing marks or properties of the one true Church, as we saw last week, is that she is “unfailingly holy” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 823). Despite being composed of sinners, “the Church is holy because she was founded by Jesus Christ, who is all-holy, and because she teaches, according…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

  Editor’s Note: D.M. has e-mailed to us the following thoughtful comments: “In a recent reply regarding the bishops and our borders, you noted that our immigration system is ‘badly broken.’ To me that was a bit like hearing the proverbial fingernails on a blackboard. It seems to me that those who seek to dominate all of us use the refrain,…Continue Reading

Chosen By God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fifteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Amos 7:12-15 Eph. 1:3-14 Mark 6:7-13 In the first reading, Amaziah, the priest of Bethel (the place of the original Temple of the Lord), chastises the Prophet Amos for preaching against the goings on in the House of God. The priest tells the prophet to go and make…Continue Reading

National Mass Recalls Anniversary of St. Columbanus… “Why Are You So Frightened, You Men Of Little Faith?”

ARMAGH, Northern Ireland (ZENIT) — A national Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the 14th centenary of St. Columbanus was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh on Sunday, June 21. Opening remarks were given by Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, and the homily was given by Fr. Neil Collins. Following are the texts of both, provided by ZENIT News Agency.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Josemaria Escriva

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 With the outbreak of civil war in Spain and the attack on the Catholic Church, many priests and religious were martyred. The existing government changed the constitution to legalize persecution of the Church by closing Catholic schools, ceasing reparation payments, and suppressing religious discussion. Among other things, this helped lead to the secularization of society…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Josemaria Escriva

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 God, in His loving Providence and perfect timing, gives the Church holy men and women to guide the Mystical Body of Christ. During the chaos of the Protestant revolt, he provided St. Ignatius and St. Teresa of Avila. At the beginning of the 20th century, as the lay faithful were being called to participate in…Continue Reading