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In December of 2023, the Church officially kicked off the Jubilee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, commemorating 350 years of devotion to the Sacred Heart and celebrating the anniversary of Jesus’s apparitions of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. The Jubilee anniversary celebration began on December 27, the date of Jesus’s first apparition to St. Margaret Mary in 1673, and will last until June 25, 2025, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart and the 350th anniversary of the final apparition. 

Though Jesus’s visits to St. Margaret Mary took place centuries ago in a world that looked much different from ours today, the message of the Sacred Heart and the need for such a devotion is as relevant today as ever before. Read on to learn more about this great devotion and how to live the spirituality of the Sacred Heart in your everyday life. 

What is the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? 

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is simply the devotion to the heart of Christ, which burns with love for humanity. While various saints wrote about their devotion to Jesus’s heart over the centuries, it wasn’t until Jesus appeared in a series of four apparitions from 1673 to 1675 to the French Visitation nun St. Margaret Mary Alacoque that the message of the Sacred Heart was brought to the world. In these apparitions, Christ spoke of his immense love for all mankind but also of his sorrow for those who do not reciprocate his love. 

Here are some of the messages Jesus gave to St. Margaret Mary:

“My Divine Heart is so inflamed with love for men, and for you in particular that, being unable any longer to contain within Itself the flames of Its burning Charity, It must spread them abroad by your means, and manifest Itself to them (mankind)…”

“Behold this Heart which has so loved men that It spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume Itself, to prove to them Its love. And in return, I receive from the greater part of men nothing but ingratitude, by the contempt, irreverence, sacrileges and coldness with which they treat Me in this Sacrament of Love.”

“‘I promise you that My Heart will open wide and pour forth lavishly the influence of Its Divine love on all who will render and procure for It this honor.’”

Jesus also revealed to St. Margaret Mary his desire that the first Friday after Corpus Christi be dedicated to the Sacred Heart. In 2024, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is June 7.

Live the spirituality of the Sacred Heart

Jesus’s message to St. Margaret Mary should not be taken in vain – he desires greatly for all to know his love and mercy through the Sacred Heart. In honor of 350 years of this great gift of devotion, here are four ways you can increase your love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: 

1. Take up the First Friday Devotion
The First Friday Devotion consists of going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist (and confession, if necessary) on the first Fridays of nine consecutive months. Jesus himself expressed his eagerness for souls to receive the Eucharist on First Fridays in his apparitions:

“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.”

2. Consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart
St. Margaret Mary herself wrote up this act of consecration. It’s a powerful way to unite your heart with Christ’s heart. The prayer of consecration is available here.

3. Bring the Sacred Heart Home
What better way to remind yourself of Jesus’s heart that burns with love for you than beautiful images of said heart in your home? Whether you’re washing dishes, doing the laundry or cooking dinner, even a glance can be a powerful reminder of his longing for you. Or, it can serve as a Visio Divina for the whole family. Consider this calming blue image of Jesus and the Sacred Heart surrounded by vines or this stunning gold-foiled pierced Heart. If your walls have no space left, consider other pieces that will help you remember the Sacred Heart, such as this beautiful 18k gold-plated necklace or this Sacred Heart holy water font.

4. Pray the Sacred Heart novena
A novena is an ancient method of prayer in which one prays for a specific intention over nine days. Consider praying the novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus this year to help you grow in your devotion to the Sacred Heart. The novena begins nine days before the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

5. Meditate on Jesus’s love for you in prayer
Jesus meant it when he said, “Behold this Heart which has so loved men that It spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume Itself, to prove to them Its love.”

Contemplate the fact that his heart is on fire with love for YOU. Dedicate some time to silent, contemplative prayer, such as during Eucharistic Adoration, and read Jesus’s messages to St. Margaret Mary, picturing yourself in her place as he talks to you.

Remember, he longs for nothing more than for you to give your heart to him in return. How lucky we are, to be loved by a God that desires us in such a way!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!