By Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI
“The feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus reminds us of the immense love that our God has for each one and all of us as manifested in the open loving heart of Jesus Christ. As we reflect on the immense love that our God has for us we ask the Sacred Heart of Jesus to deepen our love for our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit as we honor the human manifestation of God’s love in the heart of Jesus Christ—God-man.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus flows from the Word of God. In the Old Testament, this love is described as a father’s love for his children, and of God’s desire to give His people a new heart. In the New Testament, the promise of the living water, the Holy Spirit, is fulfilled in the pierced heart of Jesus Christ as he hung on the cross.
By the middle ages, the Sacred Heart of Jesus was an object of personal devotion, and in the late 17th century the devotion became a liturgical celebration. In modern times the image of the Sacred Heart in the home is a sign that the love of Jesus rules over the family.
Back in 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and approved the use of the Litany of the Sacred Heart. As we celebrate this feast honoring the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is a time for all of us to renew our devotion of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus by first asking forgiveness for the times we offended the Sacred Heart by our sins, by thanking our God for the immense love that is shown to us in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and by asking the Sacred Heart to teach us how to share God’s love with others.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus calls us to fix our eyes on Jesus’ immense love—his love for God, the Father and, even more miraculously, his love for us. This feast is the time for us to focus our gaze upon the cross where Jesus’ heart was pierced and died for us. As we reflect on this, we remember the many ways that Jesus taught love and healed people when he walked this earth. He did all of this to show God’s immense love for us, and to teach us how we are to love one another.
Even today, Jesus’ love burns for us with great passion. He continues to reach out to us in our loneliness and helplessness. He heals our wounds, and invites us to reach out to those who need healing and to care for all those who have been wounded in any way.”