Tuesday 2nd September 2014

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:

Pope: When we become worldly, we lose Christian flavor

Vatican City, Aug 31, 2014 / 09:39 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Christians must avoid the temptation to conform to the world, Pope Francis cautioned Aug. 31, stressing that they should instead allow their faith to transform the world around them. “Christians…Continue Reading

Catholics, Keep Away, Lest You Hear What You Ought Not

The former president of Ireland Mary McAleese will deliver the Rosemary Goldie Lecture at Sydney Town Hall on Sunday week but local Catholics, it seems, are being discouraged from attending. The Catholic Weekly newspaper refused to take advertisements for the lecture which…Continue Reading

“Adopt a Christian from Mosul” to respond directly to Iraq’s emergency

AsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis’s urgent appeal “to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid…Continue Reading

Federal Judge Blocks Texas Law That Would Stop Abortions at Most Facilities Across State

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge Friday threw out new Texas abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed more than a dozen clinics in the state. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of…Continue Reading

Tax-funded PBS To Air ‘After Tiller’ Documentary Glorifying Late-term Abortionists

Pro-life activists are up in arms after the taxpayer-funded Public Broadcasting System (PBS) announced it will air the pro-abortion documentary “After Tiller” – named for George Tiller, the notorious late-term abortionist who boasted of killing more than 60,000 unborn babies before he…Continue Reading

Outcry flares over California abortion push in Catholic colleges

August 27, 2014 “California Catholics are no longer safe to practice their faith within their own institutions.” Sacramento, Calif., Aug 26, 2014 / 03:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid backlash from religious liberty and education advocates, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration…Continue Reading

SATANIC ‘BLACK MASS’ GETS GREEN LIGHT FROM U.S. CITY

Concerns mount about ‘dark powers that this invites into our community’ The Catholic Archbishop of Oklahoma City has agreed to drop a lawsuit against a satanic cult that plans to perform a “black mass” in the city now that the…Continue Reading

California reverses: Catholic colleges must now pay for all abortions

baby

Two California Catholic universities must cover elective abortions in the health care plans they provide employees, according to a decision released Friday by Governor Jerry Brown. The affected schools are Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University. The decision comes…Continue Reading

Catholic Church Warns Pro-Lifers About Ice Bucket Challenge Donations

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 8/25/14 11:59 AM A Catholic Archdiocese is warning pro-life advocates about the final destination of donations for the popular Ice Bucket Challenge, which has become a pop culture and social media…Continue Reading

Why Top Catholic Education Organization Says Common Core Could Threaten Religious Liberty

Aug. 21, 2014 10:25pm Fred Lucas A leading Catholic education organization is warning that Common Core could pose a threat to religious freedom for Catholic schools that adopt the controversial education standards. The Cardinal Newman Society’s summer newsletter named among the 10 things…Continue Reading

It’s hard to engage in interfaith dialogue when your head has been cut off.

  By Benedict Kiely In times of evil, prophets who see it in what Ronald Knox called a “clear light” are not necessarily heeded, though they are desperately needed. Such a man was Hilaire Belloc, as Monsignor Knox described him at…Continue Reading

Archbishop Kurtz Provides Initial Response To Revised HHS Mandate Regulations

August 22, 2014 Disappointed that regulation will not expand exemption, only modifies ‘accommodation’ Extending ‘accommodation’ to exempted businesses reduces religious freedom More thorough study and detailed comments to come WASHINGTON–Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced…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 subscribe 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

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope at Santa Marta: Find The Living Jesus In The Gospel

pope515

(Vatican Radio) We need to proclaim the Gospel with humility not with ‘wise words’ because Jesus Himself is the power of the Word of God, and only those who have an open heart can receive Him said Pope Francis Monday morning, as he resumed his daily mass at Santa Marta after the summer break. Commenting on the readings of the…Continue Reading

Slaughter of the Innocents . . . Sex-Selective Abortions in India

Rome, August 31, 2014 (Zenit.org) Father John Flynn, LC The ratio of female to male infants continues to decline in India and a recent report by the United Nations warned that urgent action is needed to reverse the trend. The report, “‘Sex Ratios and Gender Biased Sex Selection: History, Debates and Future Directions,” was published by the organization UN Women. The ratio has…Continue Reading

The Absent Father — A Meditation

By PHILIP TROWER I’m sure, like me, you have all found over the course of your life that something you have experienced or read, perhaps even long ago, suddenly comes into your mind in a way that throws hitherto unnoticed light on some passage or theme in the Gospels. In my case it is what…Continue Reading

A Decent Lawyer Should Tell Liberals They’re Damned Fools And Ought to Stop

By MICHAEL BARONE (Editor’s Note:     Michael Barone is a Fox News contributor and senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner [www.washingtonexaminer.com], where this article first appeared. Creators.com distributed the column. All rights reserved.) +    +    + “About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are damned fools…Continue Reading

Christendom Alumna Leads In “Future Of Pro-Life Movement”

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — “I believe they are the real future of the pro-life movement,” Christendom College Alumna Mary Brand says of local crisis pregnancy centers. “It’s where the rubber hits the road.” A graduate of the class of 1998, Brand has been volunteering in pro-life work since she was in high school, from praying…Continue Reading

Senior Chaldean Official Says… Islamists Have Long Been Planning To Empty Iraq Of Christians

By FEDERICO CENCI ROME (ZENIT) — The year was 1840, when the Italian city of Otranto witnessed one of the most brutal massacres of Christians in history, perpetrated at the hands of Muslims. Eight hundred thirteen people perished in the 18 days of siege by the Ottoman army, bravely refusing to renounce their faith in…Continue Reading

Why Pope Benedict Called For The Rebirth Of The Church

By FR. JEROME ROMANOWSKI (Fr. Romanowski is a priest of the Diocese of Camden, N.J.) +    +    + In studying the important summary of a meeting Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger attended in July 22-24, 2001, Fontgombault, France, I thought again of why the Holy Father had to retire. The proceedings were held in the Benedictine Monastery…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… The Natural And Supernatural “Keys Of The Kingdom”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK In the Gospel of Holy Mass on a recent Sunday we heard again the beautiful and consoling words by which the Lord consigns a gift to Peter and his Successors for the benefit of us all: the “Keys of the Kingdom.” We learn that these “keys” open the doors of Heaven to us because of…Continue Reading

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or…Supernatural? The Levitical Priesthood

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 The second type of priesthood in the Old Testament was the Levitical priesthood. It was established by God on Mount Sinai — whereto Moses took the people to offer sacrifice to God. There is one aspect of the Levitical priesthood that is often overlooked by those who read the Bible through anti-celibacy eyes:…Continue Reading

God Reveals His Name

By DON FIER In last week’s installment of this series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), we examined the fundamental significance of coming to know that all that we believe begins with God and ends with God. “I believe in God” is the first affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed, and likewise, Sacred Scripture begins with the words, “In…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. My nine-year-old grandson asked why, on August 15, the Gospel of Luke about the Visitation was read when it was the Feast of the Assumption. What should I tell him? — E.C., via e-mail. A. You can tell your grandson that there is no Gospel reading about the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven because that event is not…Continue Reading

Justice And Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 33:7-9 Romans 13:8-10 Matt. 18:15-20 In the second reading today, St. Paul tells us that we are to owe nothing to anyone except to love one another. The fact that St. Paul puts this into the category of something that is owed to another person is of…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John The Baptist

By CAROLE BRESLIN Thousands of years before the time of Christ, the Pharaoh of Egypt held the children of Israel in bondage. Our Lord proved His love for them when Moses led them out of Egypt. When Mary was carrying Jesus, she and Joseph, because of an imperial decree, had to travel to Bethlehem in order to be counted in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius X

By CAROLE BRESLIN This month the Catholic Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of the death of Pope St. Pius X who had so many things in common with the last few Popes. Like Pope Francis, he had a special affinity for the poor — especially since he came from a poor family. Like Pope John Paul II, who updated the…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading