The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began in 1765 after Pope Clement XIII’s approval and became a feast day in 1856. Every June, we celebrate Jesus’s passionate and unending love for us. But where does the famous image of Jesus’s pierced heart come from? Why do we devote this time to Jesus when we’ve already celebrated Easter?
The source of this feast day takes us back to 1673.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus’s Origins
The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus originates from a series of visions received by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque between 1673 and 1675. After her father’s death as a child, Margaret suffered financially and struggled with paralysis for four years. However, these ailments increased her desire to serve God, and she ultimately devoted herself to the Blessed Sacrament, entering the Order of the Visitation convent when she turned twenty-three.
Right before she took her vows, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary in a vision, saying, “Behold the wound in my side, wherein you are to make your abode, now and forever.” He made His presence known to her three more times, and in the last time he appeared to her, He said, “My divine Heart is so inflamed with love for mankind … that it can no longer contain within itself the flames of its burning charity and must spread them abroad by your means.” She later described His Sacred Heart as on fire, surrounded by a crown of thorns, which is the image we know and love today.
Why We Celebrate
Jesus appeared in these visions to help more than St. Margaret Mary. He desired for His children to know that He died on the cross for them so that they may live with Him in Heaven forever. His love is continuous, bursting out of His Heart.
God may seem like a far-off being who doesn’t care about us and controls every aspect of our lives. But God is not someone who should be feared; He loves us deeply and desires an open, honest relationship with us. Jesus came to Earth to personify God’s love for us. St. John writes in 1 John 4:9–10, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
All He asks is that we respond to this burning love for us.
How You Can Participate this June
Jesus loves us with His whole body, heart and soul, and He desires for us to respond to that love through prayer and pursuing our vocations. Perhaps we can spend five more minutes in prayer with Jesus this month, record your prayers more often with this Sacred Heart journal, or meditate upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We can glorify God by creating stronger goals and achieving what God has called us to do.
Whatever Jesus calls you to partake in, do it with love.
You can keep the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your heart this month through Blessed Be God’s Sacred Heart tumbler. Take it everywhere you go and remind yourself of God’s mercy!