Devotion to the Sacred Heart

A treasure both ancient and modern

Open an old Catholic prayer book and it’s more than likely that you’ll find it crammed with various prayer-cards. In particular, the distinctive hallmark of Catholic spirituality was the devotion to the Sacred Heart. It inspired saints and religious communities. It lent its name to hospitals, schools and universities. No Catholic home was without a picture or statue. Yet thirty years ago a new broom swept away much of this devotional life. We are all familiar with stories of the removal of statues and ending of pious practices, as though inappropriate for the truly modern Christian. Devotion to the Sacred Heart suddenly became embarrassing to many – an apparently mawkish accretion to the Church at prayer. Yet it has never disappeared. In fact our present Pope, whose pontificate has been wholly focussed on the new millennium, has expressed his approval and encouragement to “all who in any way continue to foster, study and promote devotion to the Heart of Christ in the Church with language and forms adapted to our times”. A survey of the devotion – and in particular one form “adapted to our times” should show why the Pope is justified in assuring that the devotion to the Sacred Heart continues into the Church of tomorrow. Up to three or four decades ago, the practice of devotion per se was taken for granted by Catholics. It had of course sprung from the early Church. St Paul’s own pious ardor (2 Cor 5:14; 2 Tim 3:13) seems to have engendered the use of the term “devotion” even amongst present day evangelical Christians. For St Thomas Aquinas, devotion “appears to be nothing else save a willingness to give oneself readily to what concerns the service of God”.

* The value of devotions –>  www.faithmov.com , and:

* St. Margaret Mary and promotion of the Sacred Heart

* Divine Mercy: renewal and development of the devotion

* The spirituality of Teresa Higginson

* Vision of the Sacred Head

* The Head as ‘Seat of Wisdom’ and shrine of the soul

The Faith movement is a group of priests, religious and lay Catholics drawn together by a shared vision of Christ as “Lord of the cosmos and of history” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 668) and Lord of the individual mind and heart. Since the movement was formed in 1972, we have worked to foster the Catholic faith and spiritual life of many people, especially through youth events and various publications.

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