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The Sacred Heart and the Eucharistic Revival

Editor’s Note: Father Roger Landry is making a 65-day pilgrimage on the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (eastern) Route to Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress. He filed this column from New Oxford, Pennsylvania.

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is always a jubilant occasion, but this year, there are two reasons to celebrate it with greater attention, prayer, joy and resolve.

The first is because we are now six months into the 18-month 350th anniversary of Jesus’ apparitions in Paray-le-Monial, France, to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, which began on Dec. 27, 1673, and continued through June 16, 1675: Jesus poured out the depths of his Sacred Heart to her and, through her, to the world.

The second reason is because the solemnity — within the entire Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus — is taking place during the heart of the Eucharistic Revival in the Church in the United States, 21 days into the 65-day National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, 40 days from the first National Eucharistic Congress in 83 years, and during the Eucharistic Revival’s parish phrase geared toward reinvigorating the worship of Christ at Mass, augmenting personal encounter with him in Eucharistic adoration, more robustly learning and passing with fervor and precision the Church’s Eucharistic faith and love, and going out on mission to invite others to human life’s greatest and most important feast.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus focuses on more than his sacred humanity and the human and divine love that still beats in his pierced but risen heart. By Jesus’ own self-revelation three and a half centuries ago, love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is intensely Eucharistic. Not only did three of his major apparitions to the French Visitation nun take place in explicit connection to the Holy Eucharist — twice in Eucharistic adoration and once while she was preparing to receive Holy Communion — but the fundamental content of what he revealed focused on how to respond to him in his Eucharistic presence.

In his last revelation to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus pointed to his mystically visible heart, aflame and crowned with thorns, and said, “Behold the Heart that has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even exhausting and consuming itself in testimony of its love; and in return, I receive from most only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in this Sacrament of Love. But what I feel most keenly is that it is hearts that are consecrated to me that treat me in this way.”

Jesus links the “Heart that has so loved men” with our response to him in his “Sacrament of Love,” which is the way he refers to his presence in the Holy Eucharist, which is the efficacious sign he instituted to confer what it signifies, the full outpouring of his love, as he gives his Body and Blood for our salvation, sanctification and spiritual nourishment. Pope Benedict would adopt those words — Sacramentum Caritatis — as the title for his 2007 apostolic exhortation on the Holy Eucharist.

Jesus’ message to the French nun has not lost its relevance. Indeed, the enduring validity of his words is one of the reasons why a Eucharistic Revival is much needed.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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