The Sacred Heart of Jesus
In the New Testament Jesus is recorded often teaching about LOVE. One of the most familiar is the following passage: As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live in my love. You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and live in his love. All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15: 9-13).
The Heart of Jesus, like all else that belongs to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is worthy of adoration. The Heart of Jesus is considered in the Papal Bull, Auctorem fidei, of Pope Pius VI (1794) and the pope authoritatively sets forth this devotion to the Sacred Heart as one counter to the errors of the Jansenists. This worship, although focused on the Heart of Jesus, extends further than Christ’s Heart of flesh and is directed to the love of which his Heart is the living and significant symbol.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
An “Act of Love” is demanded by the very object of the devotion, since devotion to the love of Jesus for us should be preeminently a devotion of love for Jesus. It is characterized by a responce of love; its aim is to love Jesus who has so loved us, to return love for love. Since, moreover, the love of Jesus manifests itself to the devout soul as an zealous love, especially for the Eucharist, the love expressed in this devotion naturally assumes a character of reparation: hence the importance of acts of atonement, the Communion of reparation, and compassion for Jesus suffering. But no singular act, no devotional practice, can expend the riches of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. The love which is its soul embraces all; and, the better we understand this mystery, the more firmly we will be convinced that nothing can compete with it for making Jesus live in us and for bringing all who live by it to love God, in union with Jesus, with all their heart, all their soul, and all their strength.