Heart of Jesus: Remedy for the Evils of our Times
According to Recent Pontiffs
For private use
asked Saint John the Evangelist why he had rested his head upon the
chest of Jesus during the Last Supper but had not written anything
for us about of the depths and movements of the Sacred Heart of
Jesus. Saint John answered her, “My ministry in that time in which
the Church was being formed consisted in speaking solely upon the
Incarnate Word of God. The grace of hearing the eloquent voice of
the Heart of Jesus has been reserved for those in the end times.
When this voice is heard, the world, being weak in the Love of God,
will be renewed, will be lifted from its lethargy, and will be
enflamed in the flame of divine love once more.”
The Lord told us
through St. Gertrude that the renewal of the world – which then
would be tired, sluggish and without fire in the heart – would come
by listening to the beating Heart of Jesus – His beats of love.
Those times, which
were prophesized by Saint John to Saint Gertrude, are here now.
Jesus Himself has revealed the devotion to His Divine Heart. In
this final attempt of His love, He has given it to the world in
these last centuries in order to warm the frozen world; to save
souls that are being lost; to be a sure means of calming divine
justice and of reaching the mercy of God; and to serve as an
abundant fountain of blessings (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).
“My Divine Heart is
so full of love towards humanity that, not being able to contain the
flames of its ardent charity, it necessarily must give them away and
manifest them to all, so as to enrich mankind with its precious
treasures – treasures that contain sanctifying and saving graces
necessary to redeem man from the pit of destruction” (Jesus to St.
“The Church and
society,” said Pius IX on September 9, 1860, “have no other hope
than that of the Heart of Jesus; He alone will cure them of all
their aches…We are living difficult times. Everything is in danger,
both in the spiritual order as well as in the temporal. In the
midst of such great calamities which weigh upon the world, it is
absolutely necessary that we immediately revive our devotion and
together pray that the Divine Blood that flows from His Heart may
protect us, may attract us to Him with the bonds of the most ardent
charity, may inflame all men with the sacred fire that consumes Him,
may inspire in us the sentiments that motivate Him in order that
they may be made pleasing to God with a life full of good works and
merits” (cf. Audience with Fr. Chevalier).
Jesus told us
through St. Margaret that the human heart was becoming indifferent
and cold, that the fire He had brought into the world was being
extinguished in many hearts, that everywhere sin was overflowing,
and that many were falling into ways of perdition. In other words,
the prophecy of Matthew 24:12 was being fulfilled: “and because of
the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold.”
Because of this loss of love and coldness in charity, Jesus,
therefore, offered His Heart to re-animate the flame of love’s fire,
in order to give us the very fountain of Love itself: His Heart.
“The Heart of Jesus
is the providential reserve that is kept for our times by the
goodness of God…No other devotion is more appropriate for the needs
of modern times. To the selfishness of our era, to its sensual
tendencies, its religious indifference, the most delicate, pure,
disinterested, tender and compassionate cult is offered as remedy”
The devotion to the
Sacred Heart of Jesus responds perfectly to the needs of our times
as well, for it is an effective remedy against the human passions
that degrade man; it combats selfishness, concupiscence, ambition
and gives us the virtues that oppose them. In regard to the errors
of this generation, it provides victorious weapons to battle against
them and destroy them.
During the time of
Pope Pius IX, two great philosophical evils battled against the
Church, and he opposed and combated both with the Sacred Heart. The
first evil was rationalism, which was a consequence of the lack of
devotion. It rejected the supernatural, denied the divinity of
Jesus Christ and the authority of the Church, proclaimed
indifference to faith and religion, and asserted independence of
thought and will, promoting autonomy to decide what was good and
evil. However, when we contemplate the Heart of Jesus, we discover
The Heart of
God-made-man who entered in direct relationship with humanity.
Heart of God – from which the Church was born – robed in divine
strength and with a supernatural power that has the life of the
souls and of societies within it.
Because of this,
Pope Pius IX consistently told the Church that the Sacred Heart of
our Lord was the remedy destined to save the world; for this Heart
makes visible a God who reveals and manifests Himself in the life of
His people, a God who desires to establish a kingdom of love.
The second major
error was liberalism, the summary of all modern error. Blessed Pius
IX, in 1864 (Quanta Cura), described to us its
Pride: You will
know them because they manifest their disdain on all that
signifies a prompt, complete and absolute obedience to the
decrees and mandates of the Holy See. They will consider
themselves as wiser than the Church (cf. no.5).
towards the state: They worship civil power, without having the
courage to expose that which is contrary to the truth, and they
place themselves in the favor of a false liberty (cf. no.3).
A spirit of
division: This is the most dangerous error because it is hidden
behind a veil of charity and of mercy. They call the children
of the Church, antiquated, slow and obstacles to progress (cf.
The Heart of Jesus
is opposed to these tendencies:
pride with His profound humility and by becoming little.
independence with His obedience: “Obedient to death, even death
on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).
servility to the world with His noble and firm generosity. He
never bowed down to Caesar to gain favors, and He will never
bend to the multitude in order to gain popularity.
He opposes the
spirit of division with His immense charity and ardent zeal for
unity. This is illustrated beautifully in His priestly prayer in
John 17. The Heart of Jesus asks for true union; to break it
would signify great injury.
Blessed Pius IX saw
a remedy in the Heart of Jesus against liberalism, and therefore
approved, by a Solemn Consecration on June 16, 1875, a formula in
which is found a prayer for the conversion of liberalistic
As well, in his
words to the Founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Fr.
Chevalier, he said, “Grow and multiply. The Church and society have
no other hope but in the Sacred Heart of Jesus; He is the One who
will cure all evils. Preach everywhere devotion to the Sacred
Heart, for it will be the salvation of the world…Hurry in organizing
and forming it (Sept. 9, 1860).
For Blessed Pius IX,
the Sacred Heart was everything! He saw in it the Hope of the
Church and the salvation of modern society. When the consecration
of the World to the Sacred Heart was suggested to him, he agreed
that it was necessary for the Divine Heart to exert its sovereignty
over the world.
universal consecration of all Christians to the Sacred Heart that
was done on the 16th of June, 1875 was done on the 2nd
centenary of the Apparition of our Lord to Saint Margaret and on the
30th anniversary of the elevation of Pius IX to the See
Pope Leo XIII
continued the vision of Pius IX.
Pope Leo XIII
discovered Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and considered Her devotion
as the sure path to the Heart of Jesus in order to receive the
graces of which He is the origin. He animated the faithful to take
refuge in Her because she has all the treasures of the Heart of Her
Son in Her hands.
elevated the Feast of the Sacred Heart to a first class feast (June
28, 1889) and approved the Litanies to the Sacred Heart and its
public recitation (May 25, 1899 in Annum Sacrum). He
consecrated the month of June to the Sacred Heart and gave great
momentum to the devotion of First Fridays of the month.
He proclaimed the
Sacred Heart to be the salvation of humanity and the remedy of its
evils. He desired that nothing would be outside of the
influence of the Sacred Heart as He considered it to be the remedy
of all the problems of modern times.
In a particular
way, he considered that the Heart of Jesus was the path of
conversion for the youth, and he asked for youth groups dedicated to
the Sacred Heart. He commented that if the Sacred Heart of Jesus is
well pleased with the honor of the faithful, He is overjoyed with
that given to him by the youth. “Words can not explain how much
these devotional practices of piety towards the Sacred Heart are
useful for the youth. It is impossible that the constant
contemplation of the Divine Heart, together with an intimate
awareness of His perfections and ineffable love, would not mitigate
the impulse of impetuous passions and become, rather, the impulse
for the seeking and the practice of virtue.”
What else did the
Pope of the Sacred Heart, Leo XIII, do?
We must remember
that he is the pope who, in 1884, saw the image of the devil
challenging the Lord about the power that he wielded over the world
and the Church; therefore, he wrote the prayers to St. Michael.
As well, he had the
vision of an eagle that made him capable of understanding systems of
deceitful philosophies, materialistic doctrines and antisocialism
that were spreading themselves more and more. With this insight and
understanding, he was able to grasp the problems of his generation
with the sureness of a most profound vision, delving into the open
wounds that afflicted it and recognizing with clarity the dangers
present. Knowing that the Lord said in the Book of Wisdom that
nations are capable of being cured (1:14), he asked himself, “What
effective remedy we can apply?” After much prayer and mature
reflection, he proposed the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To a society
that was sick, the Vicar of Christ offered the only possible remedy
that could cure it.
On the 25th
of May, 1899, he promulgated the Encyclical Annum Sacrum,
which was on the consecration of humanity to the Sacred Heart. He
then did the consecration on the 11th of June – the Feast
of the Sacred Heart. In this encyclical, he explained the importance
of this consecration of the entire human race: “When the Church, in
the days immediately succeeding her institution, was oppressed
beneath the yoke of the Caesars, a young Emperor saw in the heavens
a cross, which became at once the happy omen and cause of the
glorious victory that soon followed. And now, today, behold another
blessed and heavenly token is offered to our sight - the most Sacred
Heart of Jesus, with a cross rising from it and shining forth with
dazzling splendor amidst flames of love. In that Sacred Heart all
our hopes should be placed, and from it the salvation of men is to
be confidently besought” (AS, 12). Together with the
encyclical, he sent out the formula for the Consecration.
As well, he asked
that the devotion to the Sacred Heart be extended to all the
faithful of the Catholic world, stating, “If the practice of the
First Fridays of the month and the month of June are promoted among
the Christian people and become an accustomed devotion, they would
render a frequent and regular affirmation of the divine and real
right that Christ has received from His Father over all humanity.”
Pope Pius XI:
Encyclical on Reparation of the Sacred Heart (Miserentissimus
In this encyclical,
Pope Pius XI centered his attention on the spirit of expiation and
reparation that was necessary in these times, highlighting the duty
of consoling Christ and of uniting oneself to His Passion in order
to expiate with Him one’s own sins and those of the entire world.
This coincided with the revelations of the Merciful Heart to St.
Faustina, which were also occurring during those times – “For the
sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole
seriousness in his tone, touching on civil and religious issues, the
Holy Father described why he considered the modern world to be in
the power of the evil one. He spoke of the prophecy in which the
love of many would grow cold. Because of all of this, he asked that
reparation be made, so that, through it, mercy and the graces
necessary for the salvation of the world could be brought down. He
knew that “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more” (Rom
5:20), but he believed that this abundance of grace would come only
through reparation. Therefore, he ordered the prayer of reparation
that he had promulgated to be prayed on the Feast of the Sacred
Pope Pius XII and
the great encyclical Haurities Aquas (1956)
theological and dogmatic foundations of the devotion, this was (and
still is) the encyclical par excellence on devotion to the
hope in eternal life has darkened, and the works of the impious grow
worse. More than ever, this seems to be incited by the infernal
enemy and his implacable hatred against God, the Church and him who
represents Christ on earth” (cf. HA, 117). In the midst of the
evils that besiege individuals, nations, families, and the entire
world, where can we find a sure remedy? Pope Pius XII concluded in
this encyclical that the devotion to the Sacred Heart satisfied the
current needs of the Church and of humanity. For what can be more
efficacious than the love of Christ revealed and manifested in His
As well, he
considered devotion to the Sacred Heart to be a sign and source of
unity, salvation, and peace. He did not hesitate in offering the
devotion to the Sacred Heart as a sure school of divine charity. In
this school, the Kingdom of God – so needed in souls, individuals,
families, societies, and nations – can be founded and established on
a most solid foundation. With this encyclical, he augmented the
devotion to the Sacred Heart so that its reign and empire of truth,
holiness, grace, justice, love and peace could be extended
throughout the world.
He concluded by
saying that in order for this devotion to produce greater fruit for
the good of humanity, the faithful should unite it to devotion to
the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for our salvation is the fruit of the
love and sufferings of Jesus Christ, which were intimately united to
the love and sufferings of His Mother. He also invited the faithful
to give the Immaculate Heart acts of love, piety, honor and
consecrated the Church and the entire world to the Immaculate Heart
in 1942, and he gave a special blessing to all those who consecrated
themselves to promoting and fomenting devotion to the Sacred Heart
His Holiness John
Paul II: Pope of the Civilization of Love.
“I have, on
different occasions, expressed my conviction that devotion to the
Sacred Heart corresponds, more than ever, to the expectations and
needs of our time. I have stressed the fact that the essential
elements of this devotion belong, in a permanent way, to the
spirituality of the Church throughout her history” (cf. John Paul
II, Paray le Monial, October 5, 1986).
Our Holy Father is
also convinced that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an
extraordinary remedy for the extraordinary needs of our time.
“Christ offers his human and divine Heart, source of reconciliation
and principle of new life in the Holy Spirit, to today’s men and
women who are immersed in a secularized world and risk losing the
centre of gravity in their lives” (John Paul II, Angelus Message,
June 28, 1998).
We live in a world
that has separated itself from God, and therefore, has lost its
center. Everything is altered: faith, relationships with God,
morality, family life, the identities of men and women, the values
of life, etc. Let us look more in depth at some of these realities
and how the Heart of Jesus can remedy them.
Lack of Faith –
Saint Thomas saw the Heart of Jesus, and this experience
penetrated his doubts; he placed his finger in the wound of His
Side and thus exclaimed with ardent faith, “My Lord and My God”
Lack of Unity –
His love brings all creatures to Himself and causes those who
believe in Him to have a single mind and a single heart. While
hatred divides, separates and destroys, love, on the contrary,
unites, brings peace and edifies. This is why only love
perfects all things. The essence of mutual love does not
consist in the fact that nobody causes us pain – which is
impossible while living amongst one another – but rather in
learning to forgive with promptness and perfection.
Lack of peace –
His Heart is a sign of reconciliation, which is the basis of
peace. In His Heart, man finds his weakness and misery, as well
as his greatness in being a child of God. Only from His Heart
does peace flow. When Christ appeared to the Apostles, He
showed them the wound of His Heart and told them, “Peace be with
you” (Jn 20:19). Peace is a fruit of the love of His Heart.
Abundant fear –
When one is able to contemplate the image of the Merciful Heart
of Jesus that pours forth graces and hear within the intimacy of
one’s soul what St. Faustina heard – “Do not be afraid of
anything; I am with you” – he will be able to respond with
confidence: “Jesus, I trust in You.” This dialogue of the Heart
of Christ with the heart of man is based on love, for “there is
no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 Jn 4:18).
A cold world –
Coldness is the fruit of selfishness. As iniquity increases,
the love of many will grow cold. For this reason, it is
necessary in our times to draw close to the flame of ardent love
and charity in the Heart of Jesus. The love of Christ does not
cease nor deteriorate in any way. His love is eternal. It is
the only love that is capable of transforming the world and
human life. It is the only love that is capable of causing
human hearts to become enflamed with love. “The devotion to my
Heat is my last effort to warm a world that has grown cold”
(Jesus to St. Margaret).
A world in need
of love – “God has made us for Himself [He created us for
love, to love and to be loved], and our hearts are restless
until they rest in Him” (St. Augustine, Confessions.
Italics added). Love is the force behind our existence. This
means that the fullness and maturity of our humanity is reached
to the extent that we experience the love of God, we know and
believe we are loved by Him, and we love others.
The human heart is always hungry and thirsty for love. Its
greatest desire is love. Therefore, if we do not live in love,
our hearts are robbed of its greatest desire. Our full human
development – on all levels, not only the spiritual – is reached
to the extent that the human person experiences love.
It is a grave error to think that we reach this fulfillment
outside of love. Selfishness robs us of our dignity and leaves
us in a state of immaturity. There is no fulfillment outside of
love. Our dignity is found in being children of God; therefore,
we live in and for love. “See what love the Father has given
us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1
of the family – In 1995 Pope John Paul II said to Cardinal
Vidal, “In this mystery of salvific Love, revealed in the Heart
of Jesus, we find the light and strength to save the Christian
family, so threatened today in its fundamental values.”
The breakdown of the family is because of selfishness and
lack of sacrifice. Love is nurtured on sacrifice. There is no love
without sacrifice. And in the works of God, nothing great can become
greater without suffering.
The Civilization of
Love: the Secret to Construct It
In a letter from
Warsaw on June 11th, 1999, on the 100th
centenary of the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart, Pope
John Paul II wrote these words: “From the Heart of Christ crucified
is born the new humanity redeemed from sin. 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” (quoting his own words from June 8,
1994; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 15 June 1994, p.
Man has erred. He
must return to the path of truth. Darkness has invaded souls, but
this darkness can be dissipated with the light of Truth. “Death has
seized upon us, and we must lay hold of life” (Annum Sacrum,
11). Those who contemplate the Heart of Jesus become transmitters
of light and of life; they recognize their own dignity and destiny.
The Heart of Jesus transforms the human heart, leading us to have
His sentiments. Therefore, the new evangelization must be
established by those who contemplate and live in the Heart of Jesus.
It is urgent that the world understands Christianity as the religion
of love; thus, it is necessary to have devotion to the Sacred Heart
so that missionaries of love and truth may rise up in the world.
This is why John
Paul II expressed his profound approval and support for all those
who, in some form, continue to promote the devotion, knowledge and
study of the Heart of Jesus, and it is why he asked for it to be
transmitted to future generations. Devotion to the Sacred Heart
allows us to transform stony heart to hearts of flesh. The Heart of
Jesus – since it is the burning furnace of charity, the fountain of
salvation, and the abundant source of grace and salvation – is our
On September 1st,
1939, Hitler’s army crossed the Polish border, massacring whomever
they found along the way. As a result, the Allies declared war
against Germany. On September 5th, 1939, the printing
machines of Niepokalonow, the City of the Immaculate, were silenced;
the storm was advancing. The German air force bombed Warsaw, and
when passing over Niepokalonow, they dropped some of their bombs
upon the Marian city, causing physical damage but no harm to any of
However, the civil
authorities ordered Father Maximilian Kolbe to disperse his
community. The six to seven hundred religious who lived there – the
largest monastery in the world – had to bid farewell to one
another. Their superior Father Maximilian, after giving his
instructions and spiritual recommendations, exhorted them as he said
his goodbyes: “Forget not love.”
Only the religion
that teaches the love of God and brethren can perfect the human
person. Jesus has taught us what perfect love is. The Incarnation
is the entrance of God into human life – into his culture, work, and
environment – in order to transform it. Culture, to be
authentically human, must accept love. The devotion to the Heart of
Jesus creates a culture of life, love and peace.
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