Sacred Heart of Jesus

Introduction by the Celebrant

The heart is the center of a person, the place from which he/she makes the choices which will affect the world within them and around them. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus reminds us that it is in His Sacred Humanity that we find the pattern for becoming fully human ourselves. In His Incarnation, saving life, death and Resurrection, we receive both the pattern - and the means - to become more like Him. The Feast of the Sacred Heart reminds us of our mission in a Culture which has forgotten God. Let us spend the month of June in Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, lifting up our Nation, indeed the whole world, to the One in whom we place all of our trust. He will not disappoint; His Heart still beats with Mercy and Love for the world. (Deacon Keith Fournier)
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Because our vision is narrow and limited, people pictured the great and unnameable God as inaccessible in a distant, fortified palace, wherein he withdrew after creating the world and people and where people’s sins could not harm him. Yet even in the Old Testament God made himself known as a God who loves and cares and who is deeply involved in human history. He fell in love with people, chose himself a nation and made a covenant with them. When his people became unfaithful as they could not really understand that God loved them, he showed himself with a human face and a heart that could be wounded and bleed in his Son Jesus Christ, to tell us: ‘‘see how far love can go. Can you now believe in my love, accept it, and love me in return?” It is the loving heart of God we celebrate today as we honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Penitential Act

Lord, you have come among us to share life and its cares with us and to lead us on the Father’s road of life and love. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, your heart was wounded because our hearts were divided You came to replace our hearts of stone with hearts capable of love. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, you made yourself available to all to make us near to one another, to all needs and all suffering. Lord, have mercy.  

Opening Prayer

God our Father, in your Son Jesus Christ you have shown us that love is not just an empty word. Here in this Eucharist you tell us again how he placed himself into the hands of people and shed his blood for us on the cross. What more could he do? Help us to see fully with eyes of faith how much more he did for us by rising again from the dead and giving us life and hope and joy. Let us never be separated from his love, let it grow in us day after day and overflow on our brothers and sisters. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. 

General Intercessions

•    Lord, we have come to know and appreciate in you a heart that is just and fair to all. Help us to discriminate wisely between right and wrong, the true and the false, that we may always judge and act in accordance with the values of justice and love, we pray: R/ Lord, make our hearts like yours.
•   Lord, you are the model and fulfillment of all that we are called to be. Renew our humanity, cleanse our intentions, steep us in your self-forgetting love, make us straightforward and pure of heart, we pray: R/Lord…
• Lord, you are the source from which we drink. Do not allow us to seek ourselves, dispose us to sacrifice ourselves for others, make us attentive to those who need us, the poor, the weak, the defenseless, we pray: R/ Lord,..
•    Lord, you are dependable. Give us your strength when we waver, raise us up when we stumble, make us reliable and worthy of people’s trust, give us a deep sense of responsibility toward ourselves and the community, we pray: R/ Lord, make our hearts like yours.
Lord, we are certain of you. Fill us with the riches of humanity and grace with which your heart overflows and be our Lord for ever. R/ Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Lord our God, loving Father, accept all our thanks and praise for refreshing us again today at the source of life and of love, Jesus, your Son in our midst. Give us the heart of Jesus, straightforward, single-minded, uncomplicated and strong, all set on doing your will, and at the same time respectful of all and open to all, willing to accept each and all wholeheartedly and at their own pace. This is why he is our Lord for ever.

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Great and worthy of all praise are you, God, creator of heavens and the earth!
How glorious is your name!
At the dawn of time as your Spirit hovered over the waters,
       all life poured forth from your creative Word –
The sun, moon, and stars join in the chorus of praise to you.
All the birds of the air, all fish of the sea, and all creeping things adore you.
Women, men, and children bless your name in countless languages throughout the earth.
You indeed are the Fountain, the Source, the very Wellspring of Life!

We do well always and everywhere to offer you thanks, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
How glorious is your name!
In the fullness of time, Mary received the joyful proclamation of overshadowing love from your messenger, Gabriel.
The Word humbled himself, taking on human form, indeed the form of a slave.
The waters of birth and the waters of the Jordan give you thanks.
We remember with gratitude Jesus’ death, descent among the dead, and rising to life.
As his heart was pierced, he revealed the mystery of Love Outpoured.
When he breathed his last, he handed over his Spirit.
Countless men, women, and children have been brought to Life through your Gift.
May this same Spirit make of us an everlasting gift to you.
You are indeed the Spring that waters the New Creation by your Spirit.

With a grateful heart, I join with all disciples to offer all my life to you.
As you have given to me so generously, I return to you all I have and all I am.
You, our Triune God, are the Center, the Foundation of all there is.
What else can I present to you, my all, who have given all?
From now until my final breath, I surrender everything to the service of your Reign.
How glorious is your name, O God, through all the earth! Amen.

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Fr. Tommy Lane

 The apostle Thomas went from doubting Jesus’ resurrection to professing his faith in Jesus and declaring Jesus’ divinity, “My Lord and my God.” What happened? He encountered the love of Jesus. We could say he encountered the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus said, “…bring your hand and put it into my side…” (John 20:27) In the Gospel of John life flows out of the side of Christ, flows out of his heart. Earlier in the Gospel during the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus said rivers of water would flow out of him to anyone who believes (John 7:38) and this life-giving water is the Holy Spirit (7:38). When the soldier pierced Jesus’ side on the cross blood and water flowed out (19:34) which the Church has always seen as signifying the sacraments especially Baptism and the Eucharist (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1225). Now when Thomas sees the wound in Christ’s side he is overcome. The physical wound which Thomas saw was only the gateway to the love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. What Thomas really saw was the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for him.

Thomas is overcome because he sees a heart that is wounded, wounded out of love for humanity, the Sacred Heart that took the sin of humanity upon itself. That is what love does, love suffers for the other and Thomas now sees this suffering wounded love before his eyes in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Thomas sees the pain in Jesus’ heart caused by man’s ingratitude and lack of belief. Thomas sees Divine Mercy in physical form. Divine Mercy takes the sin of mankind upon its own heart instead of inflicting on humanity the just punishment for sin. Divine Mercy forgives, heals and restores. Jesus invites Thomas, “…bring your hand and put it into my side…” (John 20:27). Thomas is invited, as it were, to touch the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As Thomas encounters the Sacred Heart of Jesus he is forgiven, healed and restored. His heart is also changed into a heart of love. He can only respond, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28) It is no surprise then that Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an Easter spirituality (Behold the Pierced Onehttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=bibstuprahomr-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0898700876 p49) and its almost disappearance since Vatican II is a misunderstanding of Vatican II (Behold the Pierced One p51). The image of Christ’s heart is the center of the Easter image according to Ratzinger (Behold the Pierced One p50). (See also Haurietis Aquas the encyclical of Pope Pius XII on

Devotion to the Sacred Heart)

In recent years another image of Christ’s heart, the image of Divine Mercy with blood and water flowing from Christ’s heart which we especially venerate today, has also been coming to the fore as an Easter image. The Divine Mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been spreading out ever since Christ’s side was opened on Calvary. So as we heard today Christ bestowed the Holy Spirit on the apostles which was not another version of Pentecost but rather a special and specific outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles to forgive sins, to change human hearts to be more like the heart of Jesus.

Christ’s Sacred Heart which raised up Thomas from despair to faith is ready to raise up each of us from any despair we may have to Christian hope. Christ invites each of us, “…bring your hand and put it into my side…” (John 20:27) Christ invites each of us to touch his Sacred Heart, to allow our hearts become hearts of love. As we look on Christ’s Sacred Heart we see that Christ’s love forgives us, heals us and restores us. The physical wound in Christ’s side is only the gateway to the love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. In Christ’s Sacred Heart we see the love of Jesus for us and we respond, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)
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Fr. Rodney Kissinger

 Before the beginning of time, before creation, God existed all alone. The love of God was the only love there was then. The love of God is the only love there is now. And the love of God is the only love there will ever be. We are not creators we are only receivers and transmitters of the love of God. And we can transmit only as much as we receive. To tell us of His love, God sent his only Son. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus is the greatest expression of the love of God for us and the greatest expression of the human response to that love.

Jesus was divine, the Son of God. He was also human, the son of Mary. He spoke with divine authority but he spoke in human language. He spoke in the simple language of ordinary people of his day about the things they were most familiar with: the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, the sower and the seed, the vine and the branches. When he wanted to tell his apostles how important they were he said that they were the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth.” And when he wanted to tell us of God’s love for us he used the heart, the human symbol of love. He told us that we should learn of him that he was meek and humble of heart and we would find rest for our souls.

The contemporaries of Jesus knew this meek and humble heart of Jesus and they knew that it beat with unconditional love for them. Rough, simple fishermen leave their boats and nets to follow him. Learned doctors sit at his feet to hear his wisdom. A tax collector leaves his money table to become his disciple. Multitudes follow him for days, so captivated that they forget to provide food to eat. The sick fight their way through the crowds just to touch the hem of his garment. And they all found peace and rest for their souls.

Never before has the unconditional love of the Sacred Heart been as relevant as it is today. We live in the information-centered society of the World Wide Web and the Internet. There is a lust for knowledge. This “info mania” has produced an unbelievable amount of information and data all of which can be stored on a small silicon chip and called forth at will. We can no longer see the forest for the trees. The sheer volume of all of this information has made this the age of the digest, the logo and the symbol.

Theologians are saying that amid the chaos it is necessary to capture the transcendent in a symbol that is relevant for you; in other words to capture the unconditional love of God in a symbol that is relevant for me. Jesus has already done this for us in his Sacred Heart. “Learn of me that I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your soul.”

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the symbol of the fidelity of the love of God. It reminds us that God loves us unconditionally with a love we cannot earn or ever be worthy of. And he loves us for ourselves, not as we should be, or possibly could be, but as we are with all of the physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is most relevant today because not only is this the information-centered society, but it is also an age of anxiety, fear, insecurity and despair. Every year more than a million and a half Americans suffer heart attacks. Heart failure is the leading cause of death in America today. Heart failure is also the most avoidable cause of death because long before the patient is rushed to the emergency room trouble has been going on in the heart: in the fearful heart, the anxious heart, the discouraged heart, the lonely heart, the rejected heart, the angry heart and the sinful heart. The root cause of all of this heart trouble is the failure to know and trust the meek and humble Sacred Heart of Jesus.

 “Jesus, meek and humble of heart make our hearts like unto Thine.”

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Deacon Keith Fournier

On May 31, 2013, a presidential proclamation was issued. It can be read in its entirety here. It contains these words:

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month."


This has been the practice of the Obama administration for several years. In fact, on June 13, 2013, there will be huge reception at the White House to celebrate the official dedication of the entire month as being formally set aside to promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender pride.

Catholics follow a very different practice in the month of June. We dedicate the month of June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Last weekend we celebrated the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Our readings remind is of the heart of God and His love for every single man, woman and child. He is the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety nine to find one lost sheep.


In the Gospel, Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes:"What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance." (Luke 15:3-7)

The Church today, and throughout this month of June, invites us to spend the month reflecting on what it really means to live our lives in such a way that we reveal the Loving Heart of a Merciful God to the whole world. 

On May 31, 1992 in Rome, Blessed John Paul II canonized the Jesuit Priest Saint Claude de la Colombiere, the Spiritual Director of Saint Margaret Mary of Alocoque. She was the religious sister to whom the Lord gave a special revelation of His Sacred Heart, filled with redemptive and merciful love for the world.


The priest shared Margaret Mary's devotion to the Heart of Jesus and helped to spread that devotion. This occurred at a critical time when the culture of Europe was steeped in darkness - and the Church staggered from corruption within - a time very much like our own.

At the Mass of canonization the late Pope proclaimed: "For evangelization today, the Heart of Christ must be recognized as the heart of the Church: It is He who calls us to conversion, to reconciliation. It is He who leads pure hearts and those hungering for justice along the way of the Beatitudes. It is He who achieves the warm communion of the members of the one Body. It is He who enables us to adhere to the Good News and to accept the promise of eternal life. It is He who sends us out on mission. The heart-to-heart with Jesus broadens the human heart on a global scale."

The heart is the center of a person, the place from which he/she makes the choices which will affect the world within them and around them. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus reminds us that it is in His Sacred Humanity that we find the pattern for becoming fully human ourselves. In His Incarnation, saving life, death and Resurrection, we receive both the pattern - and the means - to become more like Him. 

The leaders of the Second Vatican Council in the Pastoral Constitution on the Mission of the Church in the Modern World wrote, "The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear."  (GS #22)

Two years before he became Pope, Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Blessed John Paul II) spoke to the Catholic Bishops of the United States. His frank observation was republished in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 1978:

"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church must take up."

We are living under what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called a Dictatorship of Relativism. Relativism denies the existence of any objective truths which can be known through the exercise of reason and should govern our life together as a society. Divorced from norms to guide the exercise of human choice and govern our behavior, we are rapidly declining as a culture.

When there is nothing objectively true which can be known by all and form the basis of our common life then there is no basis for authentic freedom. Instead, we teeter on the brink of anarchy. Marriage is the next target in the advance of the tyranny of the social and cultural engineers. 

In his apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Charity, Pope Emeritus Benedict summarized the duty of Catholics when confronted with an assault on authentic marriage:  "Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself."


The Church marks time by the great events of the life of Jesus Christ and the Christian Faith. In so doing she invites Christians to live differently - in every culture and in every age. She also keeps the truths of the faith before a world which needs to be set free from misguided choices.

The early Christians referred to the Church as the world reconciled. They believed, as should we, that the Church is the home of the whole human race. She is a seed of the coming Kingdom. The Catechism affirms:

"To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood."(CCC#845)

Nations also mark time. In their special days and months they send important signals. For example, we recently celebrated "Memorial Day" in the United States of America by honoring those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. In so doing, we affirmed values which join us together. The various proclamations of our Presidents setting months apart speak to what we as a Nation believe and value.

The question arises, what does this Presidential proclamation reveal about the Nation we love and what is being promoted?

No-one denies that all human beings have fundamental human rights and human dignity because they are human beings. However, that is not what this proclamation or the proclamations of the last several years dedicating June as LGBT Month are about. They are about celebrating a lifestyle choice which does not promote human flourishing or true happiness.

This is a new missionary age. These two very different visions of the human person, human love and the dignity of human sexuality, human flourishing, marriage and the family - and the society founded upon them - are contending for the heart, soul and future of the West. One will lead to true human progress, flourishing and freedom, the other to human degradation and cultural collapse.

The Feast of the Sacred Heart reminds us of our mission in a Culture which has forgotten God. Let us spend the month of June in Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, lifting up our Nation, indeed the whole world, to the One in whom we place all of our trust. He will not disappoint; His Heart still beats with Mercy and Love for the world.  "Sacred Heart of Jesus, We Place our Trust in Thee."

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HEART

Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity," "the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will," and "the center of a person. The place to which God turns."
J. Stowell, Fan The Flame, Moody, 1986, p. 13.

We come to know truth not only reason, but still more so through our hearts. 
B. Pascal.

The heart has its reasons that reason does not know. 
 
B. Pascal.