by Kathleen Beckman
When the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, the liturgy reminds us of the measure of God’s love. In On Spiritual Perfection,Diadochus wrote, “Anyone who loves God in the depths of His heart has already been loved by God. In fact the measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him.” As we remember the immeasurable personal love that God has for us we are empowered to love with His heart. God is in love with us and our response is to fall in with Him who loved us first. The renowned words of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. remind us, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, i.e., than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.”
We Love With His Heart
Fr. Cliff Ermatinger explains in his wonderful book entitled Saint Therese of Lisieux: Spouse and Victim, “But what God asks of us in not simply to love him with our heart, but through the dynamic of theological virtue, to love him with His heart; that is, with His own divine charity present in our hearts.”
God calls us to love like Jesus and makes it possible to keep the first commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mk 12:30). Jesus is constantly revealing His heart of love and bringing his people back to the heart of the faith—sacrificial love! The Sacred Heart is a pierced heart. To love like Christ, to love with His pierced Sacred Heart, is to be courageous in bearing witness to the truth that sets us free from the loveless lies of false doctrine, duplicity, mediocrity, sin and evil.
Jesus Revealed Secrets and Promises
Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. She described the occasion, “For a long time he kept me leaning on his breast, while he revealed the wonders of his love and the mysterious secrets of his Sacred Heart.” She also described how The Lord revealed his heart as a heart on fire with love: “My divine heart is so passionately fond of the human race, and of you in particular, that it cannot keep back the pent-up flames of its burning charity any longer. They must burst out through you and reveal My Heart to the world, so as to enrich mankind with my precious treasures.”
Among the precious treasures of the Sacred Heart are 12 promises given to St. Margaret Mary for those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart. Each promise can be considered divine protection from evil because they represent a covenant of love. Such a covenant with God strengthens us to overcome the tactics of the devil. The Sacred Heart of Jesus makes real His promises:
1) I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
2) I will give peace in their families.
3) I will console them in all their trials.
4) They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5) I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6) Sinners shall find in My Heart the source an infinite ocean of mercy.
7) Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8) Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9) I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.