Statues or pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are found in many homes and churches. It is an image that shows God’s boundless and passionate love for us. The feast of the Sacred Heart is kept on the Friday 19 days after Pentecost, but devotion to the Sacred Heart is something which can sustain us spiritually throughout the year.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart became popular in England in medieval times, as the faithful meditated on the wounds of Jesus brought about by His Passion and on the Heart of Jesus pierced by a lance. The writings of Julian of Norwich talk about Jesus showing her His side during her visions of Him, and Jesus talking of His love for us with the words “See how I love you”.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart in its more modern form was spread by St Margaret Mary Alacoque, who lived in the second half of the 17th century. She was a French nun in the town of Paray-le-Monial and had visions of Jesus, where Our Lord revealed to her His Sacred Heart. During these visions, He told her of His love for us and His desire for us to be devoted to His Sacred Heart.
The symbolism of the Sacred Heart shows a heart that is often surrounded by light, depicting the divine light which shines from the Heart of Jesus. There is a wound in the heart where the lance was thrust into the side of Jesus on the Cross. The Heart is surrounded by the crown of thorns, showing how His Heart is wounded by our sins, and is surmounted by a cross and flames of fire, symbolising the transformative power of God’s love for us.
In this booklet you will find a selection of prayers to use in your devotions to the Sacred Heart throughout the year. Perhaps you might wish to light a candle before a shrine to the Sacred Heart, either at home or in church, as you pray. Or perhaps you can refer to this booklet when you feel the need to be closer to God’s love after a difficult encounter of some sort. However you use this booklet, our prayer is that we may all grow closer to the Sacred Heart in our day-to-day lives and find an outpouring of God’s love in that way.