It is something that all of humanity craves, yet feel they never have enough of.
All people long for the ability to be seen for who they are and be accepted by others.
It is for these two things that people hope for, chase until exhaustion, and cling to once they feel they have found it.
As Catholics, we are gifted with many beautiful devotions within Holy Mother Church. Today, June 16th, 2023, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
On July 22nd, 1647, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in Lhautecouer, France. She was raised in a poor family, but as she grew, Margaret Mary was able to socialize and taste worldly vanities. As a small child, she made a vow of virginity to Christ but family pressure to marry lingered. Christ appeared to this young mystic reminding her of her vow and this renewed her purpose. Tenderly, her Lover sought her to be His bride.
She joined the Visitation Order in 1671, and her mystical visions continued. On December 21st, 1674, she began to receive revelations from Christ.
Some trace devotion to Christ’s heart dating back to St. John, the Beloved Disciple, placing his head upon Christ’s breast at the Last Supper. Additionally, devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ is also cited because of Christ’s pierced side as one of the wounds. Many other saints held devotion to Christ’s heart such as St. Augustine of Hippo, yet through Christ’s revelation to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque there is an order to this devotion along with twelve promises.
In considering this, it is humbling to contemplate how Christ pursues each one of us and His Catholic Church.
The Triune God is Love Itself. Christ is Love Himself, and He longs for our love and devotion. It is impossible for us to fully comprehend how much God loves us.
In life, we sometimes have to remind those we love that we love them. Daily actions can become monotonous, we forget to think of others, or saying, “I love you,” becomes a common phrase rather than an active verb.
However, God is an active lover. He continually pursues us and reminds us that He craves us. He longs for our love. He desires our acceptance of Him. He unconditionally loves us.
This can be seen in Christ’s revelations to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the promises that He gave her for all of humanity’s benefits.
For those who honor the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, especially by receiving Holy Communion on the first Friday of the month, adoring him in Eucharistic Adoration, and commemorating His Feast of the Most Sacred Heart, these twelve promises are given:
“1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their homes.
3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
6. Sinners will find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
9. I will bless every place in which an image of My Heart is exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart.
12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in My disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.”
– The Devotion to the Sacred Heart, Fr. Jean Croiset, Spiritual Director to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
In meditating on each one of these promises, it is undeniable how fervently Christ pursues us as a Lover. He is the Lover of all lovers because He is Divine.
Our God is omnipotent, so He is able to satiate our cravings for love.
Our God is omniscient, so He knows everything about us. He knows us completely — more completely than we know ourselves.
Lastly, our God is omnipresent. He is not confined by space and time. He is not bound by our linear or cyclical patterns. He is not constrained by our history.
He always is, and He will always be.
Likewise, His love for each one of us transcends our comprehension.
His love for each of us always has been, and it always will be.
There is no need to not feel satisfied. There is no need to long for acceptance. There is no need to chase either of these things.
We just need to embrace Love Himself by accepting His Most Sacred Heart into our communities, into our lives, and into our hearts.