Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Feast of Christ’s Unconditional Love for Us
June 12 is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this feast, we focus our attention on Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist and reflect on God’s unconditional love and boundless mercy as symbolized by His heart.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting Pope Pius XII’s Encyclical “Haurietis Aquas” states, “[Jesus] has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that… love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception (CCC,478).
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has as its dogmatic foundation the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. On account of the hypostatic union, every part of our Lord’s Human Nature is worthy of adoration. Hence, therefore, we adore His bodily Heart, beating in His Bosom. We also honor the Heart of Jesus as a reminder, or symbol, of His love for us, and we are moved to make Him a return of love, because He has loved us and He is not loved by men. Love, consecration, and reparation are the characteristic acts of this devotion. In this form it is now solemnly approved by the Church.
On the feast of the Sacred Heart celebrated on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi an act of reparation is prescribed for recitation in every church in the world. On the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King, the last Sunday of October, an act of consecration of the human race is prescribed. Though this devotion was practiced by saintly souls before 1675, it is due to the apparitions of our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the Visitation Monastery at Paray-le-Monial that the feast of the Sacred Heart is now kept on the day assigned by Our Lord.
“Devotion to the Sacred Heart is a wonderful historical expression of the Church’s piety for Christ, her Spouse and Lord: it calls for a fundamental attitude of conversion and reparation, of love and gratitude, apostolic commitment and dedication to Christ and his saving work. For these reasons, the devotion is recommended and its renewal encouraged by the Holy See and by the Bishops” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy #172).