Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
There was, since the 11th Century, a tradition of meditating on the five wounds of Christ and from this grew prayers to the Sacred Heart. It was a way of focusing on the passion and death of Christ who suffered and died for us.
In 1670 a french priest, Father Jean Eudes celebrated the first feast of the Sacred Heart. Around this time a religious sister Margaret Mary Alacoque reported seeing visions of Jesus. In 1674 Margaret Mary said that Jesus asked that he be honoured under the figure of his hearted flesh. He asked the faithful to receive Him in the Eucharist frequently, especially on the First Friday of the month, and to observe a Holy Hour of devotion to Him.
And then in 1675, during the octave of Corpus Christi, Margaret Mary received the vision which came to be known as the “great apparition.” Jesus asked that the modern Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated each year on the Friday following Corpus Christi, in reparation for the ingratitude of men for the sacrifice which Christ had made for them. It wasn’t till 1873 that devotion to the Sacred Heart was formally approved.
In the second reading from the first letter of St John for this feast we read
“God’s love for us was revealed
when God sent into the world his only Son
so that we could have life through him;
this is the love I mean:
not our love for God,
but God’s love for us when he sent his Son
to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.”
Prayer to the Sacred Heart
O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.