Learn From Me For I Am Gentle and Humble of Heart: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
by Fr. Marco Testa
Porter Fine Printing, 2013
Softcover, pp. 48; price: $5.00 CAD
For two years beginning in 1673, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a humble nun of the Visitation Order, received private revelations from the Lord. Through her, He revealed His Most Sacred Heart to the world.
With the assistance of her spiritual director, the Jesuit priest St. Claude de la Colombiere, a Feast in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was established. Along with the Feast to be offered through the Church on the Friday after the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, our Lord requested that the King consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. He instructed that the work of propagating the devotion be entrusted to the Order of the Visitation and the Society of Jesus. He made twelve promises to those who practice this Devotion, including establishing peace in their homes, comfort in affliction, and finding an infinite ocean of mercy in His Heart.
King Louis XIV, the Sun King, refused to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. The consequence was great suffering for France with the collapse of the moral order and the spread of secularism which culminated in the French Revolution.
In the hundreds of years since our Lord first appeared to St. Margaret Mary, devotion to the Sacred Heart has declined. In private revelations to St. Gemma Galgani, our Lord spoke to her of His great sorrow: “No one any longer cares for My Heart and for My Love. I am forgotten as though I had never suffered for them. My Heart is always in sadness; I am left almost alone in My Churches … I can bear no more.”
In the 1965 encyclical Investigabiles Divitias Christi (The Unfathomable Riches of Christ), Pope Paul VI wrote: “This, therefore, seems to us to be the most suitable ideal: that devotion to the Sacred Heart … now reflourish daily more and more, and be esteemed by all as an excellent and acceptable form of true piety … a greater devotion be given to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose outstanding gift is the Eucharist.”
The twelve promises made by our Lord to anyone who practices a devotion to His Sacred Heart express His desire to shower a torrent of graces upon His children who wish to comfort His forgotten heart. For that reason, and most of all for love of Him, we do well to honour and enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our homes.
Fr. Marco Testa has written a new devotional booklet, Learn From Me For I Am Gentle and Humble of Heart: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that is a wonderful aid in establishing “His Kingdom in our hearts.” The booklet contains historical and related information about the devotion to the Sacred Heart as well as a selection of prayers to enhance our devotion.
Beginning with a short introduction, Fr. Marco outlines the origins of the Devotion and follows with a more detailed explanation of its importance. “To conform oneself to the Heart of Jesus means no less to become one with Him in His love for a poor and fallen humanity. The love of our Saviour which His Sacred Heart reveals is what compels us (cf. 2 Cor 5:14) to love of our neighbour with a love that is at once the fruit of our love of God and our love of neighbour.” He also explains the spirituality of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “The Pierced One upon whom we gaze, draws us to His Sacred and Wounded Heart, the fullest expression of God’s love for humanity … whose own hearts, though often wounded by sin and its consequences, are nevertheless places of consolation, reparation, and healing for others.”
Included are the stories of two significant events which occurred during the French Revolution. The War of the Vendee tells of the courageous uprising of faithful Catholics in the Vendee region who, strong in their devotion to the Rosary and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, rose up against the godless revolutionary government. The story of the sixteen Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne is also featured. The Carmelite Sisters understood that “it is in this Heart that we can become one with the Redeemer in His love of God and love of sinners.” Strengthened by the Sacred Heart, they offered their lives “in atonement, reparation, love, and sacrifice” for France.
There is a comprehensive selection of prayers to the Sacred Heart including the Litany, two Acts of Consecration, an Act of Reparation, a Novena, as well as specific prayers for the souls in purgatory, for loved ones, for the human race, and for those who are suffering. There is also the Prayer to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
The booklet effectively explains the significance of cultivating a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and provides the tools needed to develop and intensify our love for our Saviour’s Most Sacred Heart. It is an invaluable addition to our life of prayer.
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