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CATHOLIC CHURCH OF MARY
MOTHER OF GOD, PONDERS END (WESTMINSTER DIOCESE)

SACRED HEART OF JESUS

It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that the first indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart are found. It was in the fervent atmosphere of the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries, in the world of Anselmian or Bernardine thought, that the devotion arose, although it is impossible to say positively what its first texts were or who its first devotees were. It was already well known to St. Gertrude, St. Mechtilde, and the author of the Vitis mystica (previously ascribed to St. Bernard, now attributed to St. Bonaventure).

First Friday Devotion

The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the form it is known today was visitiandine St.Margaret Mary (1647–1690), who received visions of Jesus Christ. There is nothing to indicate that she had known the devotion prior to the revelations, or at least that she had paid any attention to it. The revelations were numerous, and the following apparitions are especially remarkable:

  • On December 27, probably 1673, the feast of St. John, Margaret Mary reported that Jesus permitted her, as He had formerly allowed St. Gertrude to rest her head upon His Heart, and then disclosed to her the wonders of His love, telling her that He desired to make them known to all mankind and to diffuse the treasures of His goodness, and that He had chosen her for this work.
  • In June or July 1674, Margaret Mary claimed that Jesus requested to be honored under the figure of His Heart of flesh, also claiming that, when He appeared radiant with love, He asked for a devotion of expiatory love: frequent reception of Communion especially Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour.
  • During the octave of Corpus Christi, on June 16 1675, the vision known as the "great apparition" reportedly took place, where Jesus said, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude ...", and asked Margaret Mary for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, bidding her consult her confessor Father Claude de la Combiere, then superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray. Solemn homage was asked on the part of the king, and the mission of propagating the new devotion was especially confided to the religious of the Visitation and to the priests of the Socitey of Jesus.

A few days after the "great apparition", Margaret Mary reported everything she saw to Father de la Colombiere, and he, acknowledging the vision as an action of the Spirit of God, consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart and directed her to write an account of the apparition. He also made use of every available opportunity to circulate this account, discreetly, through France and England. Upon his death on February 15, 1682, there was found in his journal of spiritual retreats a copy in his own handwriting of the account that he had requested of Margaret Mary, together with a few reflections on the usefulness of the devotion.

This journal, including the account and an "offering" to the Sacred Heart, in which the devotion was well explained, was published at Lyons in 1684. The little book was widely read, especially at Paray. Margaret Mary reported feeling "dreadful confusion" over the book's contents, but resolved to make the best of it, approving of the book for the spreading of her cherished devotion. Outside of the Visitandines, priests, religious, and laymen espoused the devotion, particularly the Caupchins , Margaret Mary's two brothers, and some Jesuits. The Jesuit Father Croiset wrote a book calledThe devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; a book which Jesus is said to have told Margaret to tell Fr. Croiset to write, and Fr. Joseph de Gallifet, also a Jesuit, promoted the devotion.


Parish Statue, of the ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus
It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that the first indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart are found. It was in the fervent atmosphere of the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries, in the world of Anselmian or Bernardine thought, that the devotion arose, although it is impossible to say positively what its first texts were or who its first devotees were. It was already well known to St. Gertrude, St. Mechtilde, and the author of the Vitis mystica (previously ascribed to St. Bernard, now attributed to St. Bonaventure).

TWELVE PROMISES OF THE SACRED HEART

Jesus Christ, in his appearances to Saint Margaret Mary, promised these blessings to those who practice devotion to his Sacred Heart. This tabular form of promises was not made by Saint Margaret Mary or her contemporaries. It first appeared at 1863. In 1882, an American businessman spread the tabular form of the promises profusely throughout the world, the twelve promises appearing in 238 languages. In 1890, Cardinal Adolph Perraud deplored this circulation of the promises in the tabular form which were different from the words and even from the meaning of the expressions used by St. Margaret Mary, and wanted the promises to be published in the full, authentic texts as found in the writings of St. Margaret Mary.

The 12 Promises

  • 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.
  • Tepid 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.
EWTN SERIES ON THE TWELVE PROMISES OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

EWTN is a worldwide Catholic media network based in the U.S.A. For information about receiving EWTN via various forms of media (TV, internet, radio…..etc),
Please visit their UK website here:- http://www.ewtn.co.uk/.

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