The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is liturgically celebrated (following our Lord’s request to St. Margaret Mary) on the Friday following the Corpus Christi Sunday. On the Saturday following the Friday the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Moreover the Church dedicates the entire month of June to cultivate, express and increase ardent devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in all its faithful children the world over. It does so by inviting every Catholic family in all the parishes in every diocese all over the world to consecrate all its members to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in front of a blessed picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus permanently and centrally installed in the living quarters of their house.
What does devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus consist in? To answer this question one has simply to consider the manifold ways in which young people display their devotion to cinema actors and actresses, politicians and others chosen as celebrity for their personal lives. Devotion of a human person to a person of one’s free choice proceeds from an unbounded admiration for that person and the progressive direction and employment of one’s life energies and activities to increase one’s belongingness to that person and ensure a definitive happiness of personal life with that person to the point of unconditional self surrender to belong to and be loved by that person. The same is true of the dynamics of any person’s devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The necessary starting point for any person’s devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a true and sustained admiration for Him. Self consecration of the members of a Catholic family to the Sacred Heart Jesus tends to be nominal, pragmatic and fake because of a cultivated inability to admire the Sacred Heart of Jesus, because today’s education focuses on driving people to higher and higher levels of achievement in order to become objects of admiration for others and it offers past models for doing so: the pride of life. The Sacred Heart of Jesus can be admired for one thing only, namely His singularly true and unbounded admiration, devotion and love for His Eternal Father expressed unto death on a Cross to fulfill His eternal Father’s purpose in creating all human persons to share the holiness and immortality and eternal life of His Son’s own divine Sonship in the Holy Spirit, as the Son our Lord Jesus Christ Himself expressed even as He commenced His journey to the Cross from the supper room: ‘That the world may know that I love the Father and do what He says, arise, let us go.’ The Sacred Heart is the name given to the extraordinary and unspeakably holy character of the personal life of God’s only begotten Son as He has expressed it to His Eternal Father and to all human persons through His personal use of His own human nature in which He has been hypostatically and permanently connected and united to us by His Eternal Father in the mystery of His incarnation: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to us that all those who believe in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.’
Habitual meditation on all that God’s only begotten Son did with His human nature to reveal to us the identity of His divine Sonship and the unbounded devotion of His Sacred Heart to His eternal Father is the first character of any person’s devotion to the Sacred Heart of God’s Son. Habitual meditation through the grace of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ way of the Cross to discover the truth and ‘the length and the breadth and the height’ of the love of His Sacred Heart for His eternal Father in His way of the Cross unto death on a Cross is the second character of those who are genuinely devoted to the Sacred Heart of God’s only begotten Son. The third character of true devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one’s dependence and earnest attachment to the sacramental high priestly work of God’s only begotten incarnate Son Jesus Christ as the divine physician who purifies our personal lives from our openness to the uncleanness of our subconscious selves (pride, anger, avarice, envy, gluttony, sloth and sexual lust) and heals us of its wounds in the sacrament of reconciliation; and then through our participation in His one holy sacrifice of the Cross on the altars of His one Catholic Church He grants us to eat Him in His ‘body given up for us’ and drink Him in ‘His blood poured out for us’ as the Living Bread come down from heaven in order to vivify our belongingness to Him through a greater mission of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth in our spiritual souls and increase both our communion with Him and our fruitful participation in the devotion of His own Sacred Heart to His eternal Father; and through this we are moved to use our ‘widow’s mite’ every day in spiritual and temporal works of mercy to support and serve the Eternal Father’s charity and Providence to sustain the faith and charity and perseverance of His faithful children suffering from the unspiritual, moral and physical evils and adversities of our sinful world. Such is the grandeur of true and authentic devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But where are those who, like the Twelve apostles, were called to receive from our Lord Himself the spiritual education for such a true devotion to His Sacred Heart and join Him in imparting it to His faithful ones? The Catholic Church was full of them. And if such apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus have become scarce in our days, it is only because those who are being called by our Lord to receive their education personally from Him to become modern day apostles of His Sacred Heart are eagerly getting educated to milk the bull!