The Month of Mary just concluded and June ushers in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Few Catholics today probably know of this devotion which was promoted by the popes. I am going to provide some links here for you to follow up with in reading this month. Learn about it before arbitrarily dismissing it as something that belongs in the Smithsonian.
EWTN has a good overview, brief history and mediations.
The Catholic Encyclopedia offers a detailed explanation of the doctrinal explanations. Likewise, Fr. Hardon also wrote on the doctrinal considerations on the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Pope Leo XIII wrote the encyclical "Annum Sacrum" on the Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on May 25, 1899.
Pope Pius XI wrote the encyclical "Miserentissimus Redemptor" in 1928 on Reparation to the Sacred Heart.
Then, in 1956, Pope Pius XII wrote the encyclical, "Haurietis Aquas" on Devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Is the Sacred Heart Devotion Passé?
If you think that this is something which is passé, then you don't understand a key point about Magisterial teachings: They are timeless. What was written by Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius XI, and Pope Pius XII is still relevant today, if not more so. Let's look at a few paragraphs from the last encyclical and keep in mind, it was written more than 50 years ago.
8. The Church has always valued, and still does, the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus so highly that she provides for the spread of it among Christian peoples everywhere and by every means. At the same time she uses every effort to protect it against the charges of so-called "naturalism" and "sentimentalism." In spite of this it is much to be regretted that, both in the past and in our own times, this most noble devotion does not find a place of honor and esteem among certain Christians and even occasionally not among those who profess themselves moved by zeal for the Catholic religion and the attainment of holiness.
9. "If you but knew the gift of God."(7) With these words, venerable brethren, We who in the secret designs of God have been elected as the guardians and stewards of the sacred treasures of faith and piety which the divine Redeemer has entrusted to His Church, prompted by Our sense of duty, admonish them all.
10. For even though the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has triumphed so to speak, over the errors and the neglect of men, and has penetrated entirely His Mystical Body; still there are some of Our children who, led astray by prejudices, sometimes go so far as to consider this devotion ill-adapted, not to say detrimental, to the more pressing spiritual needs of the Church and humanity in this present age. There are some who, confusing and confounding the primary nature of this devotion with various individual forms of piety which the Church approves and encourages but does not command, regard this as a kind of additional practice which each one may take up or not according to his own inclination.
11. There are others who reckon this same devotion burdensome and of little or no use to men who are fighting in the army of the divine King and who are inspired mainly by the thought of laboring with their own strength, their own resources and expenditures of their own time, to defend Catholic truth, to teach and spread it, to instill Christian social teachings, to promote those acts of religion and those undertakings which they consider much more necessary today.
12. Again, there are those who so far from considering this devotion a strong support for the right ordering and renewal of Christian morals both in the individual's private life and in the home circle, see it rather a type of piety nourished not by the soul and mind but by the senses and consequently more suited to the use of women, since it seems to them something not quite suitable for educated men.
13. Moreover there are those who consider a devotion of this kind as primarily demanding penance, expiation and the other virtues which they call "passive," meaning thereby that they produce no external results. Hence they do not think it suitable to re-enkindle the spirit of piety in modern times. Rather, this should aim at open and vigorous action, at the triumph of the Catholic faith, at a strong defense of Christian morals. Christian morality today, as everyone knows, is easily contaminated by the sophistries of those who are indifferent to any form of religion, and who, discarding all distinctions between truth and falsehood, whether in thought or in practice, accept even the most ignoble corruptions of materialistic atheism, or as they call it, secularism.
14. Who does not see, venerable brethren, that opinions of this kind are in entire disagreement with the teachings which Our predecessors officially proclaimed from this seat of truth when approving the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.? Who would be so bold as to call that devotion useless and inappropriate to our age which Our predecessor of immortal memory, Leo XIII, declared to be "the most acceptable form of piety?" He had no doubt that in it there was a powerful remedy for the healing of those very evils which today also, and beyond question in a wider and more serious way, bring distress and disquiet to individuals and to the whole human race. "This devotion," he said, "which We recommend to all, will be profitable to all." And he added this counsel and encouragement with reference to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: ". . .hence those forces of evil which have now for so long a time been taking root and which so fiercely compel us to seek help from Him by Whose strength alone they can be driven away. Who can He be but Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God? 'For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.'(8) We must have recourse to Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life."(9)
15. No less to be approved, no less suitable for the fostering of Christian piety was this devotion declared to be by Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI. In an encyclical letter he wrote: "Is not a summary of all our religion and, moreover, a guide to a more perfect life contained in this one devotion? Indeed, it more easily leads our minds to know Christ the Lord intimately and more effectively turns our hearts to love Him more ardently and to imitate Him more perfectly."(10)
16. To Us, no less than to Our predecessors, these capital truths are clear and certain. When We took up Our office of Supreme Pontiff and saw, in full accord with Our prayers and desires, that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had increased and was actually, so to speak, making triumphal progress among Christian peoples, We rejoiced that from it were flowing through the whole Church innumerable and salutary results. This We were pleased to point out in Our first encyclical letter.(11)
17. Through the years of Our pontificate--years filled not only with bitter hardships but also with ineffable consolations these effects have not diminished in number or power or beauty, but on the contrary have increased. Indeed, happily there has begun a variety of projects which are conducive to a rekindling of this devotion. We refer to the formation of cultural associations for the advancement of religion and of charitable works; publications setting forth the true historical, ascetical and mystical doctrine concerning this entire subject; pious works of atonement; and in particular those manifestations of most ardent piety which the Apostleship of Prayer has brought about, under whose auspices and direction local gatherings - families, colleges, institutions - and sometimes nations have been consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To all these We have offered paternal congratulations on many occasions, whether in letters written on the subject, in personal addresses, or even in messages delivered over the radio.(12)
18. Therefore when We perceive so fruitful an abundance of healing waters, that is, heavenly gifts of divine love, issuing from the Sacred Heart of our Redeemer, spreading among countless children of the Catholic Church by the inspiration and action of the divine Spirit; We can only exhort you, venerable brethren, with fatherly affection to join Us in giving tribute of praise and heartfelt thanks to God, the Giver of all good gifts. We make Our own these words of the Apostle of the Gentiles: "Now to Him Who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations world without end. Amen."(13)
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
- Diane M. Korzeniewski
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
- Diane M. Korzeniewski
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