31 May 2024

1 June, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

1. All devotions which have been approved by the Church are valuable because they are acts of religion which have as their object the author of all holiness and source of all goodness. By these acts God is adored, thanked and supplicated by His children who have been redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin and to the Saints is also directed ultimately towards God, Who has endowed His faithful servants, especially the Mother of Jesus, with His gifts and graces and has established them as mediators by His throne. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, however, is not one of the many pious practices merely permitted or recommended by the Church. Fundamentally, it is a devotion which is essential for any Christian in so far as it is the cult of the love of God made man for our sakes.

We know that Christianity is the religion of love. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) Everything flows from God's love for mankind—both the Creation and the Redemption, for God created us out of love and redeemed us with the love of His only-begotten Son Who became man and died for us; and both the Old and the New Law, for the basis of the Old Law was “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength,” (Deut. 6:4) and the commandment of charity was called by Jesus His own commandment, on which His entire teaching was based. The Sacraments, especially the Blessed Eucharist, have their origin in the same infinite love. So have the graces which God gives us, our justification through the merits of our Redeemer, and the final reward for which we hope in Heaven. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is the worship of this infinite love, of which it is a living symbol.

2. When we consider it under its fundamental aspect as the cult of the love of God rather than of the Incarnate Word, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is as old as Christianity, even though it is only in recent centuries that it has assumed its present symbolism. “He who does not love does not know God,” says St. John, “for God is love.” (1 John 4:8) “And we have come to know,” he continues, “and have believed, the love that God has in our behalf. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) This cult of the love of God, particularly of the love of God made man, vibrates throughout the pages of the Gospel and of the writings of the Apostles, especially of St. John and of St. Paul. In the works of the Fathers there are references to the Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, from which flowed all the infinite graces of the Church for our redemption. We are reminded of this in the Encyclical published by Pope Pius XII in the year 1956. But the specific cult of the love of God as symbolised by the Heart of Jesus was explicitly approved by the Church after Jesus Himself appeared in the year 1674 to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and showed her His Heart on fire with love for men.

3. We should have a very high regard, therefore, for this devotion to the Sacred Heart. We should excite in our hearts acts of love which will compensate in some way for the infinite love which Jesus has for us. Finally, we should try and make our lives correspond with our love by emulating as far as possible the holy and immaculate life of Jesus Christ.

Ejaculation: May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be everywhere known and loved.

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