This articles was written by Raymond de Souza, KHS, KM. You can find out more about him here.
In this article, we look at the twelve promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which He gave to the Church through Saint Margaret Mary Alacocque in the 17th century, and the True Devotion to the Sacred Heart.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart
The feast of the Sacred Heart was approved for specific dioceses by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, and extended to the whole Church by Blessed Pius IX in 1856. In 1889 Pope Leo XIII elevated it to the rank of first class and dedicated the whole Catholic world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
With time, many people forgot about the promises, which are the core of the devotion, and kept only the picture, or the statue. The same happened to Our Lady of Fatima: we kept the statue, the rosary, but forgot about the message.
First of all, why the heart? Understood in the light of the Scriptures, the term “Sacred Heart of Jesus” denotes the entire mystery of Christ, the totality of His being, and His Person considered in its most intimate essential: Son of God, uncreated Wisdom; infinite charity, principal of the salvation and sanctification of mankind.
The heart is the core, the very center of the person, his mentality, his ways of thinking, speaking, acting.
When we pray, O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like unto thine! We are asking Him to make us similar to Him: Make me like thee, make my thoughts like unto thy thoughts; make my ways like unto thy ways.
This devotion brings into us the mind of Christ, so that we’ll be able to say with St Paul, I live, no, not I, but Christ lives in me!
The 12 promises of the Sacred Heart are:
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will give peace in their families.
- I will console them in all their troubles.
- I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
- I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
- Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
- Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
- I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
- I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
- Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
- In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.
This last promise is the height of mercy, of condescension, of divine Love. If the Holy Mother Church had not approved this devotion, surely we would look at it with suspicion. Because, how can something as simple and easy to make, such as to receive Holy Communion nine times in one’s life, on nine consecutive first Fridays, guarantee that one will not die without receiving the Sacraments?
It sounds like Moses in Egypt promising freedom to the people and Our Lady in Fatima promising to avert World War II if the Church heeded Her warning.
Heaven! To contemplate the beatific vision! The infinite Beauty of the Divine Essence for all eternity! To have all of our rational cravings satisfied and more! That is why when Francisco of Fatima was asked what he was going to be in life, he said: “I want to die and go to heaven”.
He must have seen something outstandingly beautiful and desirable to lose all interest in the world.
Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine!
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, make my heart like unto thine!
If you would like to delve deeper and learn more about the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, EWTN have some great information as well as a free eBook, Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
You can read more and access the eBook here.
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