The Sacred Heart and Human Life

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is of great help towards a flourishing human life. St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), the humble French Visitation nun to whom Jesus appeared and chose to propagate the devotion to His Sacred Heart in its modern form, tells us:

As to persons living in the world, they shall find in this devotion all the aids necessary in their state of life: peace in their homes, consolation in their work, the blessing of heaven upon all their enterprises, comfort in their sorrows, a secure refuge during life and especially at the hours of death. It is plainly evident that there is no one in the world who will not receive all kinds of heavenly blessings if they have a true love of Jesus Christ manifested by a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thus, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is our refuge as we struggle in our journey towards Heavenly Jerusalem. Most of all, by resorting to Jesus’ Heart we are empowered to keep going no matter what comes against us. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus himself told us: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt 11:28-30). Moreover, and as the Letter to the Romans rightly tells us: If God is for us, who is against us? (Rom 8:31). Lastly, the Letter to the Philippians gives us that extra courage to keep trusting in the Sacred Heart of Jesus when it urges us: I can do all things in him who strengthens me (Phil:13).

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus we find that necessary wisdom which we all need to live in a fully human way our Christian faith. In his homily for the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart during his Apostolic Voyage to Canada in 1984, Pope St John Paul II (1920-2005) said: In the Sacred Heart, every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden. In that divine heart beats God’s infinite love for everyone and for each of us as individuals.

 Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart is the educator for our heart, soul, mind and our entire being to fulfill their mission, namely to love compassionately and generously. St John Eudes (1601-1680) observed: O Heart all loveable and all loving of my Saviour, be the Heart of my heart, the Soul of my soul, the Spirit of my spirit, the Life of my life and the sole principle of all my thoughts, words and actions, of all the faculties of my soul and of all my senses, both interior and exterior. Amen.

According to St Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) the Heart of Jesus is the place wherein we leave our past in order to be healed from it. She said: Do not let the past disturb you. Leave everything in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and begin again with joy. What a healing of memory such an exercise truly is!

In St Gertrude the Great’s reflection the Heart of Jesus is the very exemplar of our own heart. She prays: O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and life-giving fountain of eternal life, infinite treasury of the Divinity, and glowing furnace of love, Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary. O adorable and glorious Saviour, consume my heart with that burning fire that ever inflames Thy Heart. Pour down on my soul those graces that flow from Thy love. Let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine may in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy will be the rule of both my desires and my actions.

If Jesus’ Heart is the very sanctification of our heart than it is wise to following the following advice Pope Leo XIII lovingly gives us in his encyclical Annum Sacrum of 1899 in which he publicly consecrated the human race to the Sacred Heart: And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore is it fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart – an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honour, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself.

In order to mark the importance of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our lives let us now consecrate ourselves to it with the subsequent Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart:

Most sweet Jesus, redeemer of the human race, look down upon us, humbly prostrate before your altar. We are yours and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your most sacred heart. Many, indeed, have never known you, many too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your sacred heart. Be you king, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be you 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 soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd. Be you king also of all those who sit in the ancient superstition of the Gentiles, and refuse not you to deliver them out of darkness into the light and kingdom of God. Grant, O Lord, to your 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 to the divine heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honour forever. Amen.

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Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap was born in San Gwann on August 26 1972. After being educated in governmental primary and secondary schools as well as at the Naxxar Trade School he felt the call to enter the Franciscan Capuchin Order. After obtaining the university requirements he entered the Capuchin friary at Kalkara on October 12 1993. A year after he was ordained a priest, precisely on 4 September 2004, his superiors sent him to work with patients as a chaplain first at St. Luke's Hospital and later at Mater Dei. In 2007 Fr Mario obtained a Master's Degree in Hospital Chaplaincy from Sydney College of Divinity, University of Sydney, Australia. From November 2007 till March 2020 Fr Mario was one of the six chaplains who worked at Mater Dei Hospital., Malta's national hospital. Presently he is a chaplain at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre. Furthermore, he is a regular contributor in the MUMN magazine IL-MUSBIEĦ, as well as doing radio programmes on Radio Mario about the spiritual care of the sick.