Friday, June 11, 2010

Faith Facts Friday


Solemnity of the
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today this solemn feast is celebrated in the Church. It is important to realize that there are foundations for the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I thought that it would be worthwhile to highlight these foundations: historical, theological and philosophical. The following information is taken directly from the Catholic Encyclopedia Online.

(a) Historical foundations

In approving the devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Church did not trust to the visions of St. Margaret Mary; she made abstraction of these and examined the worship in itself. Margaret Mary's visions could be false, but the devotion would not, on that account, be any less worthy or solid. However, the fact is that the devotion was propagated chiefly under the influence of the movement started at Paray-le-Monial; and prior to her beatification, Margaret Mary's visions were most critically examined by the Church, whose judgment in such cases does not involve her infallibility but implies only a human certainty sufficient to warrant consequent speech and action.

(b) Theological foundations

The Heart of Jesus, like all else that belongs to His Person, is worthy of adoration, but this would not be so if It were considered as isolated from this Person and as having no connection with It. But it not thus that the Heart is considered, and, in his Bull "Auctorem fidei", 1794, Pius VI authoritatively vindicated the devotion in this respect against the calumnies of the Jansenists. The worship, although paid to the Heart of Jesus, extends further than the Heart of flesh, being directed to the love of which this Heart is the living and expressive symbol. On this point the devotion requires no justification, as it is to the Person of Jesus that it is directed; but to the Person as inseparable from His Divinity. Jesus, the living apparition of the goodness of God and of His paternal love, Jesus infinitely loving and amiable, studied in the principal manifestations of His love, is the object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, as indeed He is the object of the Christian religion. The difficulty lies in the union of the heart and love, in the relation which the devotion supposes between the one and the other. Is not this an error long since discarded? If so, it remains to examine whether the devotion, considered in this respect, is well founded.

(c) Philosophical and scientific foundations

In this respect there has been some uncertainty amongst theologians, not as regards the basis of things, but in the matter of explanations. Sometimes they have spoken as if the heart were the organ of love, but this point has no bearing on the devotion, for which it suffices that the heart be the symbol of love, and that, for the basis of the symbolism, a real connection exist between the heart and the emotions. Now, the symbolism of the heart is a fact and every one feels that in the heart there is a sort of an echo of our sentiments. The physiological study of this resonance may be very interesting, but it is in no wise necessary to the devotion, as its foundation is a fact attested by daily experience, a fact which physiological study confirms and of which it determines the conditions, but which neither supposes this study nor any special acquaintance with its subject.



Prayer before an Image of the Sacred Heart

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, pour out Your benedictions upon the Holy Church, upon its priests, and upon all its children. Sustain the just, convert the sinners, assist the dying, deliver the souls in purgatory, and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Your love. Amen.

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