Long before my maternal grandfather converted to Catholicism, he carried with him a Sacred Heart of Jesus patch.
Tucked away in his wallet or pocket, this patch accompanied him throughout the many journeys he had in life—World War II battles in the South Pacific, the births of his four children, multiple medical procedures, the joys and struggles of daily family life, and even his own death. I never remember a time that he did not have it.
He was fiercely devoted to the Sacred of Heart of Jesus and lived his life not only embracing the love of Jesus but also sharing that love with others.
The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus each year on the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi.
While devotion to the wounded heart of Jesus originated in the early eleventh century, it wasn’t until Jesus revealed himself to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus spread in popularity. Today the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the most well-known devotions and depictions of Jesus, reminding all who look upon it of God’s infinite love for us.
God the Father loves us so completely, so unconditionally, that He gave his only Son for us.
And when we gaze upon the wounded heart of his Sacred Son we are reminded that Jesus’ heart was pierced for us so that we may have eternal life.
St. John Paul II said, “In the Sacred Heart every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden. In that Divine Heart beats God’s infinite love for everyone, for each one of us individually.” When we stop to contemplate this infinite, unconditional love, it is humbling and life-changing. What a precious gift we have been given! This gift is not meant to be contained.
The burning love of Christ is meant to be shared.
His mercy, compassion, and love are meant for all. We must do as Jesus himself commanded us to “love one another as I have loved you.” In our daily lives this can be as simple as a kind word or gesture. But today I challenge us all to take our love one step further. Give love this day until it hurts. Love today with your heart united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and pray that His love will fill all the places where your love is lacking.
I am forever grateful to my grandfather for introducing me to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I now carry his Sacred Heart of Jesus patch as a reminder of the burning, unconditional love that Jesus has for me. It is a tangible reminder to give love until it hurts, knowing that when I open my heart to the burning love of Jesus, and let His love overflow into my thoughts, words and actions I am helping to spread his love and mercy to the world around me.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which burns with love for us, have mercy on me and on the whole world.