Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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First Friday Devotion

 

"She [the Catholic Church] remains young and vigorous, always overflowing with that strength with which she sprang from the transpierced Heart of Christ in the death on the cross."   Pope St. Pius X: Jucunda Sane


 The Sacred Heart is shown wounded, encircled by a crown of thorns, surmounted by a Cross, and aflame 	      with love for mankind. This symbol springs from the vision of the Sacred Heart had by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

 

"We the Christians are the true Israel which springs from Christ, for we are carved out of His heart as from a rock." -- St. Justin Martyr (d. 165)

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." -- Matthew 11:29

"There is in the Sacred Heart the symbol and express image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return." -- Pope Leo XIII


The heart has always been seen as the "center" or essence a person ("the heart of the matter," "you are my heart," "take it to heart," etc.) and the wellspring of our emotional lives and love ("you break my heart," "my heart sings," etc.) Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to Jesus Christ Himself, but in the particular ways of meditating on his interior life and on His threefold love -- His divine love, His burning love that fed His human will, and His sensible love that affects His interior life. Pope Pius XII of blessed memory writes on this topic in his 1956 encyclical, Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart).Below are a few excerpts which help explain the devotion:

54. ...the Heart of the Incarnate Word is deservedly and rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that threefold love with which the divine Redeemer unceasingly loves His eternal Father and all mankind.

55. It is a symbol of that divine love which He shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit but which He, the Word made flesh, alone manifests through a weak and perishable body, since "in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily."

56. It is, besides, the symbol of that burning love which, infused into His soul, enriches the human will of Christ and enlightens and governs its acts by the most perfect knowledge derived both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused.

57. And finally -- and this in a more natural and direct way -- it is the symbol also of sensible love, since the body of Jesus Christ, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, possesses full powers of feelings and perception, in fact, more so than any other human body.

58. Since, therefore, Sacred Scripture and the official teaching of the Catholic faith instruct us that all things find their complete harmony and order in the most holy soul of Jesus Christ, and that He has manifestly directed His threefold love for the securing of our redemption, it unquestionably follows that we can contemplate and honor the Heart of the divine Redeemer as a symbolic image of His love and a witness of our redemption and, at the same time, as a sort of mystical ladder by which we mount to the embrace of "God our Savior."

59. Hence His words, actions, commands, miracles, and especially those works which manifest more clearly His love for us -- such as the divine institution of the Eucharist, His most bitter sufferings and death, the loving gift of His holy Mother to us, the founding of the Church for us, and finally, the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and upon us -- all these, We say, ought to be looked upon as proofs of His threefold love.

60. Likewise we ought to meditate most lovingly on the beating of His Sacred Heart by which He seemed, as it were, to measure the time of His sojourn on earth until that final moment when, as the Evangelists testify, "crying out with a loud voice 'It is finished.', and bowing His Head, He yielded up the ghost."Then it was that His heart ceased to beat and His sensible love was interrupted until the time when, triumphing over death, He rose from the tomb.

61. But after His glorified body had been re-united to the soul of the divine Redeemer, conqueror of death, His most Sacred Heart never ceased, and never will cease, to beat with calm and imperturbable pulsations. Likewise, it will never cease to symbolize the threefold love with which He is bound to His heavenly Father and the entire human race, of which He has every claim to be the mystical Head.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart has two elements: consecration and reparation. We consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart by acknowledging Him as Creator and Redeemer and as having full rights over us as King of Kings, by repenting, and by resolving to serve Him. We make reparations for the indifference and ingratitude with which He is treated and for leaving Him abandoned by humanity. To carry out these general goals of consecration and reparation, there are quite specific devotions authorized by the Church.


St. Margaret Mary Alacoque's vision of the Sacred Heart
Specific Devotions

 

From the earliest days of the Church, "Christ's open side and the mystery of blood and water were meditated upon, and the Church was beheld issuing from the side of Jesus, as Eve came forth from the side of Adam. It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that we find the first unmistakable indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Through the wound in the side, the wound Heart was gradually reached, and the wound in the Heart symbolized the wound of love." (Catholic Encyclopedia)

This general devotion arose first in Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries of that time, especially in response to the devotion of St. Gertrude the Great, but specific devotions became popularized when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation nun, had a personal revelation involving a series of visions of Christ as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. She wrote, "He disclosed to me the marvels of his Love and the inexplicable secrets of his Sacred Heart." Christ emphasized to her His love -- and His woundedness caused by Man's indifference to this love.

He promised that, in response to those who consecrate themselves and make reparations to His Sacred Heart, that:
 

bulletHe will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
bulletHe will establish peace in their homes.
bulletHe will comfort them in all their afflictions.
bulletHe will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
bulletHe will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
bulletSinners will find in His Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
bulletLukewarm souls shall become fervent.
bulletFervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
bulletHe will bless every place in which an image of His Heart is exposed and honored.
bulletHe will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
bulletThose who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in His Heart.
bulletIn the excessive mercy of His Heart that His all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in His disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. His divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.


The devotions attached to these promises are:
 

bulletReceiving Communion frequently
bulletFirst Fridays: going to Confession and receiving the Eucharist on the first Friday of each month for nine consecutive months. Many parishes will offer public First Friday devotions; if they do, you must perform First Fridays publicly. If it isn't so offered in your parish, you can do this privately, going to Confession, receiving the Eucharist, and offering your prayers for the intention of the Holy Father.
bulletHoly Hour: Eucharistic Adoration for one hour on Thursdays ("Could you not watch one hour with me?"). Holy Hour can be made alone or as part of a group with formal prayers.
bulletCelebrating of the Feast of the Sacred Heart (see below)

 
Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Friday that follows the Second Sunday in Time After Pentecost is the Feast of the Sacred Heart which brings to mind all the attributes of His Divine Heart mentioned above. Many Catholics prepare for this Feast by beginning a Novena to the Sacred Heart on the Feast of Corpus Christi, which is the Thursday of the week before. On the Feast of the Sacred Heart itself, we can gain a plenary indulgence by making an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart.


Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Feast of Christ the King

On the Feast of Christ the King, celebrated on the last Sunday of October (the Sunday before the Feast of All Saints) and initiated in 1925 by Pius XI in his Encyclical Quas Primas, there follows after the Mass a Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We kneel before the Sacrament and recite the following consecration. Afterwards, there is a Litany and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. In praying the Consecration, going to Confession, and receiving the Eucharist on this day (when devoutly done), the faithful receive a plenary indulgence.

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart.

Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to Thy Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: "Praise be to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever." Amen.

Personal note: this Feast is one of my favorites of the entire liturgical year. It's my prayer that Catholics read about the Kingship of Christ and come to understand the concept's absolute importance. Truly pray the Mass -- at all times, but especially on this day. Pray the Consecration with your whole heart!


 
Enthronement of the Sacred Heart

Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, a South American priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, was inspired by God, after his instantaneous cure at Paray-le-Monial, to preach everywhere the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart to verify this promise of the Saviour given to St. Margaret Mary: "I will bless every dwelling where an image of My Heart is both exposed and honoured."

Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a solemn act of a family giving formal recognition of the kingship of Christ over their family and home and the official, ceremonial beginning of a family's commitment to live out the effects of their recognition of Christ's Kingship. During the Enthronement ceremony, a blessed image of the Sacred Heart is hung in the most prominent place in the house and Sacred Scripture is placed before it. Formal prayers are prayed and then each member of the household signs a certificate of the Covenant. Contact the National Enthronement Center and ask them for a Certificate to sign for the Enthronement (ask for an "Enthronement Kit"). The set of prayers they may send will be the revised version of the ceremony; I recommend following the outline of the ceremony below.

Enthronement of the Sacred Heart Ceremony

Preparation: It is good if all can attend Mass that day and receive the Eucharist. If a priest won't be present for the Enthronement Ceremony, an image of the Sacred Heart will have already been blessed. The wall will have already been prepared for hanging the image (if it's to be hung on the wall), flowers and such should adorn the table or mantle under where the picture will be placed/hung, the frame for the Certificate and the Certificate itself should be ready, refreshements will already have been prepared, Sacred Scripture will be handy, any candles used should be lit, etc. If a priest will be attending the ceremony, it is good to have him bless your home.

All are seated while the father explains what is about to happen. The priest or natural father may begin with a short talk on the meaning and importance of the Enthronement, and comment on various steps of the ritual.

V. Our help is in the Name of the Lord. V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Who made Heaven and earth. R. Qui fecit coelum et terram.
V. The Lord be with you. V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. And with your spirit. R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, who dost approve the painting and sculpturing of the images of Thy Saints, so that as often as we gaze upon them we are reminded to imitate their deeds and sanctity; vouchsafe, we implore Thee, to bless and sanctify this image made in honor and in memory of the Most Sacred Heart of Thy only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; and grant, that whosoever in its presence, will suppliantly worrship and honor the Most Sacred Heart of Thy only begotten Son, may obtain through His merits and intercession grace in this life and everlasting glory in the world to come. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui sanctorum tuorum imagines pingi non reprobas, ut quoties illas oculis corporia intuemur, toties eorum actus et sanctitatern ad imitandum memoriae oculis meditemur, hanc quaesumus, imaginem in honorem et memoriam Sacratissimi Cordis Unigeniti Filii tui Domini Nostri J esu Christi adaptatam bene + dicere et sancti + ficare digneris; et praesta ut quicumque coram ilIa, Cor Sacratissimum Unigeniti FilIi tui suppliciter colere et honorare studuerit, illius meritis et obtentu a te gratiam in praesenti, et aeternam gloriam obtineat in futurum. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, who dost approve the painting and sculpturing of the images of Thy Saints, so that as often as we gaze upon them we are reminded to imitate their deeds and sanctity; vouchsafe, we implore Thee, to bless and sanctify this image' made in honor and in memory of the Most Sacred Heart of Thy only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; and grant, that whosoever in its presence, will suppliantly worship and honor the Most Sacred Heart of Thy only begotten Son, may obtain through His merits and intercession grace in this life and everlasting glory in the world to come. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
The priest or natural father now sprinkles the image with holy water. Then the father, or in his absence, the mother or some other member of the family, enthrones the image in the place of honor prepared for it. This is the symbolic act of Enthronement. All stand.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, and in in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hell. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae. Et in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.
All sit and remain seated while the priest or natural father addresses a few words to those present, reminding the members of the family of what the Sacred Heart expects from families which have acknowledged Him as King; recalling the magnificent promises of the Sacred Heart; urging the family to live its Enthronement and frequently to renew the act of consecration which they are about to make.

Then all kneel, while the priest and the father [or father alone, or his representative] recite the official Act of Consecration.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, who didst make known to St. Margaret Mary Thine ardent desire to reign over Christian families, behold us assembled here today to proclaim Thine absolute dominion over our home.

Henceforth we purpose to lead a life like unto Thine, so that amongst us may flourish the virtues for which Thou didst promise peace on earth, and for this end * we will banish from our midst * the spirit of the world which Thou dost abhor so much.

Thou wilt reign over our understanding by the simplicity of our faith. Thou wilt reign over our hearts by an ardent love for Thee; and may the flame of this love be kept burning in our hearts by the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.

Deign, O Divine Heart, to preside over our meetings, to bless our undertakings, both spiritual and temporal, to banish all worry and care, to sanctify our joys and soothe our sorrows. If any of us should ever have the misfortune to grieve Thy Sacred Heart, remind him of Thy goodness and mercy toward the repentant sinner.

Lastly when the hour of separation will sound and death will plunge our home into mourning, then shall we all and everyone of us be resigned to Thy eternal decrees, and seek consolation in the thought that we shall one day be reunited in Heaven, where we shall sing the praises and blessings of Thy Sacred Heart * for all eternity.

May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious Patriarch St. Joseph offer Thee this our Consecration, and remind us of the same all the days of our life.

Glory to the Divine Heart of Jesus, our King and our Father!

Now all pray the one Pater, one Ave, and one Glory Be:

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur Nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death. Amen. Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Now all pray a prayer of thanksgivng:

Glory be to Thee, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for the infinite mercy Thou hast bestowed upon the privileged members of this family. Thou hast chosen it from thousands of others, as a recipient of Thy love and a sanctuary of reparation wherein Thy most loving Heart shall find consolation for the ingratitude of men.

How great, O Lord Jesus, is the confusion of this portion of Thy faithful flock as we accept the unmerited honor of seeing Thee preside over our family! Silently we adore Thee, overjoyed to see Thee sharing under the same roof the toils, cares and joys of Thy children! It is true, we are not worthy that Thou shouldst enter our humble abode, but Thou hast already reassured us, when Thou didst reveal Thy Sacred Heart to us, teaching us to find in the wound of Thy Sacred Side the source of grace and life everlasting. In this loving and trusting spirit we give ourselves to Thee, Thou who art unchanging Life.

Remain with us, Most Sacred Heart, for we feel an irresistible desire to love Thee and make Thee loved. May our home be for Thee a haven as sweet as that of Bethany, where Thou canst find rest in the midst of loving friends, who like Mary have chosen the better part in the loving intimacy of Thy Heart!

May this home be for Thee, O be. loved Savior, a humble but hospitable refuge during the exile imposed on Thee by Thine enemies.

Come, then, Lord Jesus, come, for here as at Nazareth, we have a tender love for the Virgin Mary, Thy sweet Mother whom Thou hast given us to be our Mother. Come, to fill with Thy sweet presence the vacancies which misfortune and death have wrought in our midst.
 

O most faithful Friend, hadst Thou been here in the midst of sorrow, our tears would have been less bitter; the comforting balm of peace would then have soothed these hidden wounds, which are known to Thee alone.

Come, for even now perhaps, there is drawing near for us the twilight of tribulation, and the decline of the passing days of our youth and our illusions.

Stay with us, for already it is late, and a perverted world seeks to envelop us in the darkness of its denials while we wish to adhere to Thee who alone art the Way the Truth and the Life.

Repeat for us those words Thou didst utter of old: "This day I must abide in this home.

Yes, dear Lord, take up Thy abode with us, so that we may live in Thy love and in Thy presence, we who proclaim Thee as our King and wish no other!

May Thy triumphant Heart, O Jesus, be forever loved, blessed, and glorified in this home! Thy Kingdom Come! Amen!

All stand and thank the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the grace of the Enthronement, and to proclaim this loving Mother as the Queen of the home, all recite the Hail Holy Queen.

Hail holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen. Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae: vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle. Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende. O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.

Optional: If so desired, an Act of Consecration to the Heart of Mary may be added, and her image installed near the Sacred Heart.

Heavenly Mother Mary , I come to thy most lovable and sweet Heart, refuge of sinners. I offer myself to thee and consecrate my entire life to thine Immaculate Heart. In this consecration of my total person, I offer thee my body and soul with all its miseries and weaknesses. I offer thee my heart with all its affections and desires, my prayers, works, joys and sufferings. I offer thee every temptation that comes to me so that my every thought and desire may be purified through thy holy intercession.

My Queen, my Mother, I offer thee in consecration all sufferings which come into my life, both physical and spiritual. I offer thee especially my death with all that will accompany it. I offer thee my last agony. Accept all this, my Mother, and take all into thy Immaculate Heart as I give to thee irrevocably all that I am and all that I have, together with all property and possessions. I offer thee my family and all who are near and dear to me. Take them all into thine Immaculate Heart and keep us ever one in thy Son Jesus Christ.

I renew today the vows of my Baptism and Confirmation. Keep me ever faithful to God and to Holy Church, and loyal in obedience to the Holy Father, the Pope. I desire to pray the Rosary properly, meditating on its mysteries. I desire to participate in the Sacrifice of thy Son perpetuated at Holy Mass and receive Him frequently, even daily in Holy Communion. I attach special importance to the first Saturday of the month in reparation to thine Immaculate Heart and I will work for the conversion of sinners. I will strive to live daily the spirit of Eucharistic reparation.

O Queen of the Angels, my Queen and my Mother, I humbly prostrate myself before thee as I approach thee with my Guardian Angel. I desire all the holy Angels, and especially my Guardian, to venerate thee always as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Command my Guardian and all holy Angels to keep me always in thy love and in the union of grace with thy Divine Son. Send forth thy Angels to assist me in spreading devotion to thine Immaculate Heart so that through thine intercession there may be peace in the world and in the Church, and the Kingdom of Christ may come on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

The ceremony ends with a short litany:

V. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
R. Have mercy on us!
V. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
R. Have mercy on us!
V. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
R. Have mercy on us!
V. Immaculate Heart of Mary
R. Pray for us.
V. St. Joseph
R. Pray for us.
V. St. Margaret Mary
R. Pray for us.
All: Glory to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus forever and ever! Amen.

The priest gives his blessing in the name of the Church, or the natural father gives a paternal blessing:

May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, descend upon you and remain forever. Amen.

Then the members of the family and the priest sign the Certificate of the Enthronement, which should be framed and hung near the image of the Sacred Heart or kept in the family vault. After the ceremony, send in name and address of family to a Local Center or to the National Center. Give date of ceremony, name of officiating priest, if any, and parish.

 

Periodic Renewal of the Consecration

Periodically, the family might want to renew the Consecration, especially on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, at the Feast of Christ the King (the last Sunday in October), at births, deaths, major life events, such as First Communions, Confirmations, a child leaving for College, etc. The following prayers are for this purpose:

Renewal of the Consecration of the Family

Most sweet Jesus, humbly kneeling at Thy feet, we renew the consecration of our family to Thy Divine Heart. Be Thou our King forever! In Thee we have full and entire confidence. May Thy spirit penetrate our thoughts, our desires, our words and our works. Bless our undertakings, share in our joys, in our trials and in our labors. Grant us to know Thee better, to love Thee more, to serve Thee without faltering.

By the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Peace, set up Thy kingdom in our country. Enter closely into the midst of our families and make them Thine own through the solemn enthronement of Thy Sacred Heart, so that soon one cry may resound from home to home: "May the triumphant Heart of Jesus be everywhere loved, blessed and glorified forever!" Honor and glory to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary!

A Prayer for the Christian Family

O God of goodness and mercy, to Thy fatherly protection we commend our family, our household and all that belongs to us. We commit all to Thy love and keeping; do Thou fill this house with Thy blessings even as Thou didst fill the holy house of Nazareth with Thy presence. Keep far from us, above all things, the taint of sin, and do Thou alone reign in our midst by Thy law, by Thy most holy love and by the exercise of every Christian virtue. Let each one of us obey Thee, love Thee and set himself to imitate in his own life Thine example, that of Mary, Thy Mother and our Mother most loving, and that of Thy blameless guardian, Saint Joseph.

Preserve us and our house from all evils and misfortunes, but grant that we may be ever resigned to Thy Divine will even in the sorrows which it shall please Thee to send us. Finally give us all the grace to live in perfect harmony and in the fulness of love toward our neighbor. Grant that every one of us may deserve by a holy life the comfort of Thy holy Sacraments at the hour of death. O Jesus, bless us and protect us.

O Mary, Mother of grace and of mercy, defend us against the wicked spirit, reconcile us with Thy Son, commit us to His keeping, that so we may be made worthy of His promises. St. Joseph, foster father of our Savior, guardian of His holy Mother, head of the Holy Family, intercede for us, bless us and defend our home at all times. Amen.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart.. Click Here

 

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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First Saturday Devotion

 

"If Peter holds the keys of heaven, Mary has the keys of the heart of God." Pope Pius XII: Allocution to Pilgrims of Genoa

The Immaculate Heart is shown encircled by a crown of roses and pierced by a sword, aflame with love for 	      God and mankind. This symbol springs from the vision of the Sacred Heart had by St. Catherine Labouré.
 

Luke 2:19: But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

Luke 2:35: And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.

Luke 2:51: And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.

 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus focuses mostly on His divine love for mankind and encourages our humility, gratitude, obedience, and adoration; devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary focuses on Mary's love for God and encourages our emulating her humility, gratitude, obedience, and adoration. Mary as loving Mother of Jesus Who suffered for us; Mary as Mother of the Church; Mary as obedient daughter, Mary as our Gevirah (Queen Mother of Israel) -- we ponder her interior life in each of these roles, consecrate ourselves to Jesus through her, make reparations for offending her as our Mother, ask her intercession for us, and emulate her as the model of Christian perfection.

While, early on, of course, the Church Fathers wrote of Mary's blessedness and purity, and our Saints -- Dominic, Gertrude, Thomas Becket, Bridget, Bernardine of Siena, Louis de Montfort -- had deep Marian devotions, it was after the apparitions of Mary experienced by St. Catherine Labouré at Rue Du Bac, Paris in 1830 that devotions specifically to Mary's Immaculate Heart became formalized.

Specific Devotions

St. Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous MedalMary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré standing on a globe, rays of light streaming from her fingers, enframed in an oval frame inscribed with the words, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." The whole vision "turned" showing the back of the oval inscribed with the letter "M" entwined with a Cross, and the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded with thorns, the latter pierced with a sword. 12 stars circled this oval frame. Mary told her to strike a medal in this form -- a medal now known as the "Miraculous Medal" -- and that all who wore it properly after having it blessed would receive graces. The wearing of the Miraculous Medal has become one of the most common devotions to the Immaculate Heart.

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart became even more popularized after Mary's appearing to the three young shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 (before the Russian Revolution), when she asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart to prevent the spread of "the errors of Russia." Eight years later, in 1925, Mary appeared to one of the visionaries -- Lucia, who'd since become a nun -- and requested reparations for the various ways in which her Immaculate Heart was offended -- such as attacks against her Immaculate Conception, virginity and divine maternity, and for those who teach their children contempt of Mary or who insult her by desecrating her images.

To make these reparations, she asked that we do 5 things, all with the intention of making reparation to her Immaculate Heart:

bulletrecite at least Five Decades of the Rosary every day
bulletwear the Brown Scapular
bulletoffer our daily duty to God as an act of sacrifice (ie., make the Morning Offering)
bulletmake Five First Saturdays of Reparation to Her Immaculate Heart (see below)
bulletthe Pope, in union with all the bishops of the world, must consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Russia would be converted through this means, and a period of peace to be given to the world. If this is not done (and it hasn't been done), Russia will "spread her errors throughout the world." This consecration must be of Russia -- not "the world," but Russia by name.

A Sure Means of  Salvation

Our Lady communicated with Lucia, the oldest of the three children, in her six monthly appearances.  She asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to take them to Heaven.  "Yes," Our Lady answered, "I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon.  You, however, are to stay here a longer time.  Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved.  He wants to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.  I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne".

There are three principal practices of devotion which Our Lady has requested in honor of her Immaculate Heart:  the First Saturday of the month, the Five First Saturdays, and the Consecration of Russia.  They bear a marked similarity to the devotions in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  1. The practice of the First Saturdays - It consists of the following exercises, performed with the intention of consoling the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and making reparation to it for all the outrages and blasphemies of which it is the object on the part of  ungrateful Christians:  1.  the Rosary; 2. Communion of Reparation.

     

  2. The practice of the Five First Saturdays -  In addition to the two exercises already mentioned, the following two are added on the first Saturday of five consecutive months:  3. go to confession;  4. keep the company of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary.  These two must be offered in reparation to the Immaculate Heart . The meditation may be on one or several mysteries.

    The promise given by Mary to those who make the First Saturday devotion is her assistance at the hour of their death.

     

  3. Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary -  Our Lady asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart and Lucia, one of the seers, has explained that Our Lady wants the Pope and all the bishops of the world to do this on one special day.  If this is done She will convert Russia and there will be peace . . .

    Lucia relates that on June 13th, 1917, after speaking at length about her Immaculate Heart, Our Lady of Fatima again stretched forth her hands, throwing on the children the rays of that immense light in which they saw themselves as if immersed in God . . . The Blessed Virgin held in her right hand a Heart surrounded by thorns, which pierced it from all sides.  The seers understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, afflicted by all the sins of the world, which demanded penance and reparation.  "It seems to me," said Lucia, "that on that day, the purpose of the light was to pour into us a special knowledge and love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as on other occasions it infused into us the knowledge and love of God, and the mystery of the Blessed Trinity."

    Jacinta seems to have received "a special light to understand intimately and in detail the meanings of these heavenly revelations."  Before leaving for the hospital in 1919, she said to Lucia:  "I am going soon to heaven.  You will remain still on earth to make known to men that the Lord wishes to spread in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  When you have to speak about it, you will no longer have to hide yourself!  Proclaim openly to the whole world that: It is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary that God wishes to grant us His graces! It is from this Immaculate Heart that we must ask for them! The Heart of Jesus wishes the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated with His own! It is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary that peace must be asked, because it is to that Heart that the Lord has confided it. How I love the Immaculate Heart of Mary!  It is the Heart of Our Heavenly Mother! Oh! If only I could put into all hearts the fire I feel in my own, which makes me love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so much!"

    To remind the three children of their special vocation and to inspire them to greater fervor and courage for the future, Our Lady said:  "Sacrifice yourself for sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, 'My Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.' ".

    In each of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, she insisted on praying the Rosary.  "Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world."  Lucia often repeated and emphasized what Our Lady had first recommended to her:  "Yes, she wishes people to recite the Rosary; people must recite the Rosary."  Our Lady asked them to add after each decade the short prayer:  "Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell.  Lead all souls to heaven especially those most in need of Thy mercy."  In the final apparition on October 13, 1917, Our Lady silently held out the scapular (the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel).  Lucia had said that the Blessed Mother wants everyone to wear it:  "The Scapular and the Rosary are inseparable."

    Lucia spoke to Our Lady of the sick who had been recommended to her. "Yes, I shall cure some of them within the year."  But she went on teaching them to pray rather for the health of souls than of bodies. "Pray!  Pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell for not having someone to pray and make sacrifices for them."

    Lucia asked Our Lady about two girls who used to come to her house that had recently died.  "Is little Maria Das Neves, who died recently, in Heaven?"  "Yes, she is in Heaven." . . .  "and Amelia?"  "She will be in Purgatory till the end of the world."

    Our Lady predicted that God would work a great miracle on October 13, 1917 to prove the authenticity of the apparitions. A tremendous prodigy happened on that day just as Our Lady had promised. For four minutes, the noontime sun spun around giving off various colors, one after the other. If a person at Fatima that day had on a white shirt -- it would turn red, green and blue as the sun spun around. It stopped and started again for four more minutes, this time giving off even more beautiful colors. Then it stopped again. Then it started again. This time it detached itself from its regular position and began to zigzag in the sky. It "danced" for about four minutes, then started to plummet to the earth. It looked like it was the end of the world. Many people fell on their knees to ask for mercy of God. The sun then returned to its original position in the sky. It was witnessed by over 70,000 people who all, both believers and unbelievers, came away acknowledging that a great miracle had occurred. Several learned men present testified:  "I have seen it but I cannot explain it."

    Blessed Francisco's Death

    Francisco was struck down by the well-known Spanish influenza in December, 1918.  The little patient suffered for several months always devout, and faithful to his Rosary which he recited eight or nine times a day.  When he no longer had the strength to pronounce the words he said them mentally.  He was extremely ill and some of the medicines he had to take were not particularly agreeable.  "Yet he would take any medicine we gave him," his mother said.  "He never fussed.  I could never find out what he liked.  If I gave him a glass of milk, he took it; and when I gave him an egg, he sucked it.  Poor child!  He took any bitter medicine without making a face.  This gave us hope that he would recover, but he always repeated that it was useless since Our Lady was going to come for him.  He knew well what was in store for him."   On Thursday, April 3rd 1919, he made his First Communion on his death-bed, all radiant with happiness.  On the following day , Friday, April 4th, at 10 o'clock in the evening, he died the death of the elect, with a smile on his lips.  He was ten years and nine months old.

    Jacinta was attacked by the Spanish plague almost at the same time as her brother Francisco.  She too spoke of nothing else than of reciting the Rosary and offering sacrifices for sinners.  Towards the end of January, 1920, Jacinta was taken to Lisbon to be operated upon for a persistent lung infection.  There she immediately impressed all by her candor, her modesty, her great patience, her perfect submission, her continued prayer and ardent love for Holy Communion which she received every day except when prevented by illness.  Many doctors came to examine Jacinta; their only thought was of science and medicine.  They discounted the influence God might have on the condition of the patient.  The little girl did not hesitate to set them straight on the matter, pointing out the cause of their frequent failures.  "Pity doctors.  They have no idea what awaits them.  Doctors do not know how to treat patients with success because they have no love for God." 

    The Blessed Virgin continued to encourage this heroic virtue by her apparitions.  One day, when Mother Godinho, Superior of the orphanage, came to see her, Jacinta asked her quite naturally:  "Could you come back a little later?  I am expecting the Blessed Virgin any minute!"  The effects of these visits from heaven manifested themselves not only in the supernatural wisdom of the child's words, but also in her predictions.  Mother Godinho one day asked Senhora Olimpia, Jacinta's mother, during a visit to the Orphanage:  "Would you like your daughters Florinda and Teresa to enter the religious life?"  "Heavens no!" that honest and uncomplicated woman exclaimed, and the discussion seemed at an end.  A little while later, however, Jacinta, who had heard none of the conversation between the women, confided to Mother Godinho with great seriousness:  "Our Lady would like my sisters to be nuns, although my mother would not approve.  That is why she will take them both to heaven before very long."  If this was an "irresponsible" attempt at prophecy it proved amazingly accurate, since shortly after Jacinta's own death her sisters, Florinda, seventeen, and Teresa, one year younger, followed her to the grave.

    One of the doctors who attended her in Lisbon asked her to recommend him to the Blessed Virgin when she went to heaven.  Jacinta promised to do so; and then looking at the doctor she said to him:  "You will follow me soon!"  To another doctor, who recommended himself and his daughter to her prayers, she promised to pray for them and added:  "You will follow me soon; first your daughter and then yourself!"  These predictions, as well as several others, were fulfilled to the letter. 

    What ardor did not this child of ten preach amendment of life, not only to sinners, but also to faithful souls!  How she insisted on flight from sin, the practice of the Christian virtues and penance!  "Oh!" she said to the Superioress of the Orphanage in Lisbon, "if men only knew what eternity is, how they would make all possible efforts to amend their lives!  Dear Godmother (she addressed the Superioress in this way), mortification and sacrifice give great pleasure to Our Divine Lord!  Oh! Fly luxury! Fly riches! Love holy poverty and silence.  Be very charitable even towards the wicked!  Never speak evil of anyone and avoid those who do.  Be very patient because patience leads to heaven. Pray much for sinners! Pray much for priests, for Religious, for Governments! The sins of the world are too great!  The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh! Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same. Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God. . . . Oh!  Men must do penance!  If they amend their lives Our Lord will still pardon the world; but if they do not, the chastisement will come! Priests should occupy themselves only with the affairs of the Church!  They must be pure, very pure." Mother Godinho asked her: "Do you know what it means to be pure?" "Yes, Yes. I know to be pure in body means to be chaste, to be pure in mind means not to commit sins; not to look at what one should not see, not to steal or lie, and always to speak the truth, even if it is hard.  The disobedience of priests and of religious to their Superiors and to the Holy Father offends Our Lord very much!  If Government left the Church in peace and liberty to our holy religion, they would be blessed by God. Our Lady said that there are many wars and discords in the world.  Wars are only punishments for the sins of the world.  She stated that she could not stay the arm of her Beloved Son upon the world anymore.  It is necessary to do penance.  If people amend themselves, Our Lord shall still come to the aid of the world.  If they do not amend themselves, punishment shall come." 

    When Jacinta was at the orphanage in Lisbon, before she was sent to the hospital, she spent every possible moment in the chapel kneeling with her eyes riveted on the tabernacle.  Seeing people in church being irreverent toward the Blessed Sacrament upset her greatly.  She stated that Our Lady does not want us to talk in church.  One day she heard visitors discussing faults of a certain priest who had been forbidden to say Mass.  Jacinta began to weep for sorrow and she said people should not talk about priests but they should rather pray for them.

    Blessed Jacinta's Death

    February 20th came.  Jacinta seemed about the same; she might last a few more days, she might go any moment.  About six o'clock in the evening the child said she was not feeling well and she wanted to receive the last rites of the Church.  A priest was called, heard her confession and promised to bring her Communion in the morning.  Jacinta asked him to bring it immediately but he could see no reason for alarm.  She insisted that she was to die shortly.  At ten-thirty, she died peacefully without having her wish fulfilled.  She had just turned ten years old.  The news of the child's death spread fast through the city and crowds flocked to the church to see the body.   

    The undertaker testified that he never before nor after had a case like Jacinta's. "It seems to me that I can still today see the little angel.  Laid in the casket she seemed to be still alive, in her full beauty with rosy cheeks and lips.  I have seen many bodies in my business, young and old.  Never did a thing of this sort happen to me before nor since."  The pleasant aroma that exhaled from her body cannot be explained.  The worst unbeliever could not question it . . .  Though the child had been dead three days, the aroma was like a bouquet of flowers.

    Fifteen years after Jacinta's death, her body was transferred to the cemetery of Fatima. When her casket was opened on this occasion her little body was still whole and incorrupt.

    It is hoped that everyone who reads this article will become most serious about their salvation by practicing the prayers, devotions and penitential life as prescribed by Our Lady and Blessed Jacinta.  

 

Text Courtesy of Fisheaters & Our Lady of the Rosary Library