June celebrates a lot of fun things like National dairy month, National candy month, National fruits and vegetables month, and even National Turkey Month. June is also the month for us to pay attention to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
As with nearly all religious art, symbolism is very important, because faith was shared through images rather than words since many could not read until recent history. Pictures truly meant a thousand words. The imagery of the Sacred Heart speaks to Jesus’ redeeming love as characterized by his heart. It demonstrates the love of God for humankind. “The human heart, a person’s deepest self, is where God has written his covenant as demonstrated in the gospels” (The Catholic Sourcebook, 2007, p357).
The image itself resulted from a series of apparitions to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque from 1673-1675 where Jesus spoke of his concern about the indifference and coldness in the world in response to his love. He asked her to promote the devotions to his heart to bring an end to the coldness and indifference. This sounds like something we could certainly benefit from now, too.
Those who have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are the recipients of twelve promises as part of the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary. Jesus promises:
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will give peace in their families.
- I will console them in all their troubles.
- I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
- I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
- Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
- Tepid souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
- I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
- I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
- Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
- In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without
receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.
How can you begin a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to receive these promises? It is very simple. You need only begin to pray. Here are the words to include in your daily prayers.
O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.