The material object of the devotion is the Heart of Jesus Christ. One day, exposing His sacred breast, He said to the St. Margaret Mary: "Behold this Heart which loves men so much!" This, the material object of our worship, is clearly pointed out by the action of the Savior, and the words which were spoken. It is the Heart of the most holy, the most loving, and perfect of the children of men, formed by the Holy Ghost Himself of the pure blood of a Virgin; the masterpiece of heaven and earth, of nature and grace. But this is not all; It is the Heart of a God, since It has been hypostatically united to the Divinity; consequently It is the sanctuary of all possible perfections and merits, a fathomless abyss of graces and benedictions. It is something even more, It is the heart of a God-Man, that is to say, the most wonderful union of all that is purest and most refined in human affections with divine mercy and goodness. In this Sacred Heart compassion is united to mercy, fraternal affection to paternal love. Oh! the depth of the riches of the mercy of God! O altitudo divitiarum!
Can we conceive an object more worthy of our respect and love? If the Church honors with a special homage the instruments of the Passion of our Lord, the thorns which crowned His sacred head, the cross on which He died, the spear which pierced His side, how much more are we bound to honour the adorable Heart of Jesus. Is it not the principle of His life, the source of His sufferings and love? Is it not the fountain of that precious blood which purifies us in the sacraments and refreshes us at the altar? St. Bernardine speaks of It as a furnace of love; St. Peter Damien calls It the universal treasure of wisdom and knowledge; St. Francis of Sales, the fountain of all graces. Here on earth we should esteem ourselves happy, could we, after a long separation from a loved parent, offer again our heart’s affection, and have we nothing to offer to the Heart of Jesus, the holiest, the tenderest, and most generous of all Hearts.
Christians, Jesus gives us His Heart, and what does He ask of us in return? He asks us for ours. "My Son," He says, "give me thy heart." Our heart must give itself to some object, for it cannot live without loving. On one side the world claims its affections to make of our poor heart a living hell; on the other, Jesus desires ardently to take possession of it, in order to transform it even during this life into a paradise of delights. To whom then shall we give it? To Thee, O Jesus! God of love! to Thee alone will I give my whole heart without return, without reserve, in life and in death, in time and eternity.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I implore,
That I may love Thee more and more.
That I may love Thee more and more.
Fidelity to the Catholic faith was considered high treason in England during the religious persecution of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The faithful were branded with the name of traitor, and as such they were treated at the public tribunal of justice, as well as under the tortures of their execution. The ordinary punishment was that of hanging on the common gallows, the cord was then severed, and the victim fell to the ground, still breathing. Then the hangman, armed with a sharp knife, approached the culprit, and plunging the blade into his breast, pulled out the quivering heart, and showing it to the assembled crowd, cried out: "Behold the heart of a traitor!" It is related that a priest, about to expire under this atrocious mode of torture, collected all his remaining strength, and whilst the executioner searched for his throbbing heart, gave the following magnificent denial to his words: "No, that which thou holdest in thy hand is not the heart of a traitor, but a heart consecrated to God: Quod manu tenes Deo sacratum est." His last breath was an act of divine love.
Would to heaven, O Christians, that when on the day of your death, you feel in your breast the last feeble pulsations of your heart, you may be able to resist the demon’s hand and cry: "Begone, Satan, begone; this heart does not belong to you. Neither the world nor the passions have sullied it. My heart has throbbed only for the Heart of Jesus. It belongs to God, and has always been His, and shall be His for ever: "Deo sacratum est."
Behold, Jesus! I give Thee my heart; I place it in Thy hands, and beg of Thee to keep it as a precious trust; preserve it for me as Thou didst that of Thy beloved servant Margaret Mary. If ever I have the misfortune to desire to recall my gift, restore it not to me, but oblige me by an act of Thy mercy, to leave Thee master and possessor of it for ever. Amen.
Enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a place of honor in your home.