Sacred Heart Devotion

Back in 1991, Disney put out a film entitled, Beauty and the Beast, which had one of the most striking opening scenes ever. The film begins with a young prince – handsome, wealthy and powerful – ruling over his big, beautiful kingdom. But there is just one problem. His heart does not know love. So, when a small, unimpressive, impoverished woman comes knocking at his door one day seeking kindness, he wastes no little time spurning her and sending her away. But what follows leaves the young prince and the audience speechless.

The impoverished woman suddenly transforms into a beautiful enchantress with real power. She goes on to punish the young prince for his lack of mercy, by transforming him into a beast, and leaving his kingdom in darkness. And the only way for the spell to be broken, is for the young prince to discover love and for that love to be returned, freely. As the opening scene concludes, the narrator leaves the audience breathless, with one final thought.

“But who could ever learn to love a beast?”

Friends, regardless of where you stand with Disney and/or Beauty and the Beast, the story is a great segue into Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the Catholic Tradition, we honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the first Friday following Corpus Christ (19 days after Pentecost). But the truth is that we dedicate the entire month of June to this Devotion, and for good reason.

As Christians, we hold the Doctrine of the Incarnation, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Which means, among other things, that in the person of Jesus Christ, God has assumed a human heart. Such a mystery. The heart of Our Savior is the opposite of the young prince in Beauty and the Beast. And while there are many attributes worth mentioning, we will limit ourselves to three in this article.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a heart filled with compassion, complete understanding and tender, merciful love for sinners. How do we know?

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)

“Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” (Mk. 10:21)

“Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She replied, ‘No one sir.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.’” (Jn. 8:10-11)

We would do well to ponder each of these verses in silence, before an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus burns with love for each one of us. It is a gift, which He offers us freely. We did nothing to earn His affection, nothing to achieve it. It is pure gift. That in itself should cause such sentiments of gratitude and joy in our hearts, but there is one more truth tied to this devotion worth mentioning in this article.

What He asks of us is perhaps best described as an exchange of hearts. He offers you His Most Sacred Heart and what He asks in return is yours. If we are willing to offer Him our hearts, they will be transformed, like the young prince in that silly movie.

Even the most hardened of hearts can be softened by the tender, merciful love of Our Savior. One can only marvel at His perfect strategy for conquering our hearts: compassion, complete understanding and tender, merciful love for sinners. Such a gift. Such a treasure. The fire of His love for each one of us, concealed in His Sacred Heart.

Jaime Zarse4 Posts

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