The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus recalls Christ’s love for us. Here are five facts that you may not know about this important feast of Our Lord.
1. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus took centuries to become a universal celebration
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back to the 11th century. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had multiple visions of the Sacred Heart between 1673 and 1675. However, it wasn’t until 90 years later in 1765, that the feast was officially celebrated in France. In 1856, Pope Pius IX made the feast of the Sacred Heart into a universal celebration.
2. The first feast of the Sacred Heart was actually celebrated in 1670
Even before St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had her visions of the Sacred Heart there was a recorded celebration of this feast. St. Jean Eudes composed the first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart. The first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated on Aug. 31, 1670 in Rennes, France.
3. The feast takes place on the 19th day after Pentecost
The feast of the Sacred Heart is scheduled to be celebrated on the Friday after the octave (eighth day) of the feast of Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is traditionally the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. However, in the United States, Corpus Christi is instead celebrated on the following Sunday. Despite this, the feast of the Sacred Heart still takes place 19 days after Pentecost.
4. Jesus made 12 promises to those who honor the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque:
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will establish peace in their families.
3. I will comfort them in their trials.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death.
5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent.
8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.
9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
5. Congregations, states, and groups are consecrated to the Sacred Heart
In 1873, President Gabriel Garcia Moreno issued a petition that led to Ecuador becoming the first country consecrated to the Sacred Heart.