The month of May is traditionally one of great devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. The Church intends us to bear the Passion in mind as we honour our Lady. According to St. Sophronius, “the joy that comes from Mary is shared not only by mankind but also by the powers of heaven”. In addition, the mysteries of the Rosary are the mysteries of Jesus and Mary – and for us, we approach the Sacred Heart of Jesus from the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Thus – the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

This was, at the initial stage, a private devotion – until 1675 when it became a liturgical feast upon the Lord’s apparition to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. The Lord instructed her to make reparation for her sins and the sins of the world, and to call all to return to the love of God. The latter was to be effected through frequent and worthy reception of the Holy Communion, especially on the first Friday of every month. The Holy Fathers Pius IX and Pius XI devotedly championed this spiritual exercise (Ps. 32.11, 19)

This devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an awakening in all – an attitude of gratitude to God for the wonders of His love and a call to make reparation for sins. The Heart of Jesus is known for tenderness, compassion, and sorrow (Gal. 2.20 & Ezek. 34.11-16). This loving Heart poured out blood and water when the side of Christ was pierced with a lance on the cross. The significance of the reparation for sins is as a result of the love of God being taken for granted and often met with ingratitude. Thus, St. Margaret recommends the praying of the Litany to the Sacred Heart, penance, and the renouncing of sinful ways. The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a call to all to express our indebtedness to the Lord and to make reparation for our sins.

The Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary twelve promises that will avail everyone who makes devotion to His Sacred Heart. Some of them are –

  • Graces necessary for the devotee’s state of life shall be granted
  • There shall be peace in the devotee’s family
  • Consolation shall be granted him in the days of troubles.
  • The names of the devotees shall be inserted in the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • Power shall be given to the Priests to touch the most hardened hearts
  • Tepid souls shall become fervent.

Let us pray –

Clothe us Lord God with the virtues of the Sacred Heart of your Son and set aflame with his love – that, conformed to his image, we may merit a share in eternal redemption.

Amen.

Fr. John Olaniran