His Sacred Heart

"In his Sacred Heart the believer encounters the love of Christ."

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 The  consecration of the human race to the Heart of Jesus was thus presented by Leo XIII as "the summit and crowning of all the honors which have been customarily paid to the Most Sacred Heart" (Annum sacrum, p. 72). Such a consecration, the Encyclical explains, is owed to Christ, Redeemer of the human race, for what he is in himself and for what he has done for human beings.

Since in the Sacred Heart the believer encounters the symbol and the living image of the infinite love of Christ, which in itself spurs us to love one another, we cannot fail to recognize the need to participate personally in the work of salvation. For this reason every member of the Church is invited to see consecration (to His Sacred Heart) as the giving and binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, the King of prodigal sons, the King of all who are waiting to be led into the light of God and of his kingdom.

Consecration thus understood is to be joined to the missionary activity of the Church. The Church answers the desire of Jesus' Heart to propagate in the world, through the members of his Body, his total dedication to the kingdom, and to unite the Church ever more closely to his offering to the Father.

On 25 May 1965, to Major Superiors of institutes named after the Heart of Jesus, I too have not failed to invite my Brothers in the Episcopate, priests, religious and the faithful, to cultivate in their lives the most genuine forms of devotion to the Heart of Christ.

The Church seems in a particular way to profess the mercy of God and to venerate it when she directs herself to the Heart of Christ. In fact, it is precisely this drawing close to Christ in the mystery of his Heart which enables us to dwell on this point--a point in a sense central and also most accessible on the human level of the revelation of the merciful love of the Father. It is a revelation which constituted the central content of the messianic mission of the Son of Man.

On the occasion of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart (June 1999), I urge the faithful to persevere in the practice of this devotion, which contains a message that in our day has an extraordinary timeliness. The man of the year 2000 needs Christ's Heart to know God and to know himself; he needs it to build the civilization of love.

The Savior's Heart invites us to return to the Father's love, which is the source of every authentic love: "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (1 Jn 4: 10).

Jesus ceaselessly receives from the Father, rich in mercy and compassion, the love which he lavishes upon human beings (cf. Eph 2: 4; Jas 5: 11). His Heart particularly reveals the generosity of God towards sinners. God's reaction to sin is not to lessen his love, but to expand it into a flow of mercy which becomes the initiative of the Redemption.

Condensed from L'Osservatore Romano on the Web at www.vatican.va,, English edition, 15 June 1994.

 

Condensed from L'Osservatore Romano. . The full text is available at www.vatican.va, the Vatican Web Site.   You can receive the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano,where this article also appears by e-mailing a request for a subscription to Dmedinger@aol.com or by calling (410)547-5380. The subscription rate is $151.00 U.S.

 

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