Sacred Heart of Jesus: 'God loved us first'

Published: June 8, 2018

"The feast of the Sacred Heart reminds us that God loved us first: He is always waiting for us, welcoming us into his heart, into his love." — Pope Francis, June 8, 2018 via Twitter @Pontifex

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This year, the Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated Friday, June 8. Though it is a solemnity, it is not a holy day of obligation. Although devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back many centuries, it was not celebrated universally in the Church until 1856 when Pope Pius IX made it a solemnity.

It is always celebrated during the octave of Corpus Christi or 19 days after Pentecost Sunday. The Sacred Heart of Jesus represents his divine love for humanity, demonstrated most tangibly by the sacrifice of his life for our sins. 

"Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: 'The Son of God ... loved me and gave himself for me.' He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, 'is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that ... love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings' without exception." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 478

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus grew after the apparitions of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, which included instructions on a novena and promises from Jesus for those who honor his heart. Special prayers of consecration, meditation and litanies offer ways to celebrate this devotion with your family.

To learn more, see "Haurietis Aquas" ("On Devotion To The Sacred Heart"), a 1956 encyclical of Pope Pius XII, "Explaining the strange symbolism of the Sacred Heart" or "The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus."