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Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart by Lewis Williams, OFS

Artist Narrative:

Prayer to the Wounded Heart of Jesus

O my most Loving and Gentle Jesus, I desire with all the affections of my heart, that all beings should praise Thee, honor Thee and glorify Thee. I entreat Thee, by the precious Blood and Water that flowed from Thy Most Loving Heart, to take entire possession of me, eternally for that sacred wound wherewith Thy divine side was rent. I deposit, enclose, conceal in that wound and in that opening in Thy Heart, my heart and all my feelings, thoughts, desires, intentions and all the faculties of my soul, that Thou may guide me in all things. Consume me in the burning fire of Thy holy Love, so that I may be so absorbed and transformed into Thee that I may no longer be but one with Thee. Amen
—Lansperigius, the Carthusian

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The devotion to the Sacred Heart (also known as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacratissimi Cordis Iesu in Latin) is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ's physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity.

 

This devotion is predominantly used in the Catholic Church and among some high-church Anglicans and Lutherans. The devotion is especially concerned with what the Church deems to be the love and compassion of the heart of Christ towards humanity, and its long suffering. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675, and later, in the 19th century, from the mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart Droste zu Vischering, a religious of the Good Shepherd, who requested, in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism.

 

In the Roman Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart has been closely associated with Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ. In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI stated: "the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus". The Golden Arrow Prayer directly refers to the Sacred Heart.

 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart is sometimes seen in the Eastern Catholic Churches, where it remains a point of controversy and is seen as an example of liturgical Latinisation.

 

The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus' death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.

 

The Feast of the Sacred Heart has been in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost, always a Friday.