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For Jesuits
Chapter 7 - Heart of the Lord

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

+  "I praise thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and prudent, and didst reveal them to little ones. Yes, Father, for such was thy good pleasure. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Matthew 11:25-30

Heart of the Lord

The Heart of the Incarnate Word is rightly considered the chief index and symbol of the threefold love with which the divine Redeemer continuously loves the eternal Father and the whole human race. It is the symbol of that divine love which He shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but which in Him alone, in the Word namely that was made flesh, is it manifested to us through His mortal human body, since "in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily."

It is, moreover, the symbol of that most ardent love which infused into His soul, sanctifies the human will of Christ and whose action is enlightened and directed by a twofold most perfect knowledge, the infused and beatific.

Finally, in a more direct and natural way, it is a symbol also of sensible love, since the body of Jesus Christ, formed through the operation of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, has a most perfect capacity for feeling and perception, much more than the bodies of all other men.

Since Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic faith affirm that there is the highest possible harmony and agreement in the blessed soul of Jesus Christ, and that He clearly directed His threefold love to accomplish our redemption, it is therefore obvious that we may correctly regard and venerate the Heart of the divine Redeemer as signifying the image of His love, the proof of our redemption, and the mystical ladder by which we rise to the embrace of "God our Savior."

Consequently His words, actions, teachings, miracles, and especially those deeds which more clearly testify this love for us—the institution of the Holy Eucharist, His most bitter passion and death, His blessed Mother whom He lovingly gave to us, the founding of the Church, and the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and on us—all these we must consider as evidence of His threefold love.

In the same way we should lovingly meditate on the pulsations of His most Sacred Heart by which, so to say, He kept measuring the time of His stay on earth up to the last moment when, as the evangelists testify, "crying out in a loud voice `It is consummated,' bowing His head, gave up His spirit."

Then the beating of His Heart stopped, and His sensible love was interrupted until He arose from the tomb in victory over death. After His glorified body was reunited to the soul of the divine Redeemer, the conqueror of death, His most Sacred Heart never ceased and never will cease to beat with calm and serene pulsation. It will also continue to signify the three forms of love by which the Son of God is bound to His heavenly Father and the whole human race, of which He is by perfect right the mystical head.

Pius XII

The Sacred Heart and the Society of Jesus

There are five letters of St. Margaret Mary in which she refers to the commission from Christ to the Society of Jesus to propagate devotion to His Sacred Heart. The first two, dated July 4, 1688, and June 1689, were addressed to her former superior, Mother de Saumaise; the third was to Father Croiset, S.J., on August 10, 1689; the fourth again to the superior on August 28 of the same year, as also the last, to Father Croiset, on September 15. Quotations which follow are in sequence from these letters, citing the pertinent passages and omitting items which overlap. When St. Margaret Mary speaks of the "Fathers of the Society of Jesus," we know from the context and from the tenor of her other statements that all the members of the Society are concerned.

  1. "Then turning to Father la Colombiere, this Mother of Divine Goodness said: 'As for you, faithful servant of my divine Son, you have a great share in this precious treasure. For if it is given to the daughters of the Visitation to know and distribute it to others, it is reserved to the Fathers of your Society to show and make known its utility and value, so that all may profit from it by receiving it with the respect and gratitude due so great a benefit. In proportion as they give Him this pleasure, this divine Heart, source of blessings and graces, will shower them so abundantly on the works of their ministry that they will produce fruits far beyond their labors and hopes, even for the salvation and perfection of each of them in particular.' "

  2. "Our good Father Colombiere has obtained that the holy Society of Jesus be blessed … with all the graces and special privileges of this devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus … He promises that He will bless abundantly, even profusely, their labors for souls and the works of charity in which they are engaged."

  3. Although this treasure of love is a good everyone can claim and to which everyone has a right, it has hitherto been little known… . It is reserved to the Reverend Fathers of the Society of Jesus to make known the value and advantages of this precious treasure, of which the more one takes the more there is to take. All they have to do, then, is to enrich themselves abundantly with every grace and blessing from it. For it is by this efficacious means which He is entrusting to them that they will be able to carry out perfectly according to His desire the sacred ministry of charity committed to them. This divine Heart will so spread the sweet unction of His charity on their words that they will penetrate like a two-edged sword the most hardened hearts and make them susceptible to the love of this divine Heart. The most sin-ladened souls will be brought by this means to salutary repentance… . He expects much of your holy Society in this regard and has great designs upon it. That is why He made use of the good Father la Colombiere to begin the devotion to this adorable Heart."

  4. "This Sacred Heart will shower upon it [the Society of Jesus] grace and blessings in abundance… . To the daughters of the Visitation He has given the commission of revealing His Heart and making it known by establishing the devotion to this all-lovable Heart. He wants the Reverend Jesuit Fathers to make known its utility and worth. This is reserved for them."

  5. "If it is true that this most attractive devotion is to take its origin in the Visitation, it will be spread through the efforts of the Reverend Jesuit Fathers… . There is nothing more attractive or gentle and at the same time stronger or more efficacious than the unction of the ardent charity of this lovable Heart… . It will melt by His love the coldest hearts. This applies especially to the holy Society of Jesus, to which He offers His graces in order to give its members effective means for worthily and perfectly fulfilling the duties of their ministry of charity, for the glory of God, in the conversion of souls. The members of the Society ought frequently to exhort souls to avail themselves of the great treasures contained in this devotion to the Sacred Heart."

Twelve Promises

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

  2. I will establish peace in their homes.

  3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.

  4. I will be their secure refuge during life and above all in death.

  5. I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.

  6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.

  7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.

  8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

  9. I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.

  10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

  11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart never to be blotted out.

  12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the first Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their sacraments; My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Center of Our Hearts

O God, what will You do to conquer the fearful hardness of our hearts? Lord, You must give us new hearts, tender hearts, sensitive hearts, to replace hearts that are made of marble and of bronze.

You must give us Your own Heart, Jesus. Come, lovable Heart of Jesus. Place Your Heart deep in the center of our hearts and enkindle in each heart a flame of love as strong, as great, as the sum of all the reasons that I have for loving You, my God.

O holy Heart of Jesus, dwell hidden in my heart, so that I may live only in You and only for You, so that, in the end, I may live with You eternally in heaven. Amen.

Bl. Claude la Colombiere

Litany of the Sacred Heart

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Heart of Jesus,
Son of the eternal Father,
formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,
substantially united to the Word of God,
of infinite majesty,
sacred temple of God,
tabernacle of the Most High,
house of God and gate of heaven,
burning furnace of charity,
abode of justice and love,
full of goodness and love,
abyss of all virtues,
most worthy of all praise,
king and center of all hearts,
in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
in whom dwells the fullness of divinity,
in whom the Father is well pleased,
of whose fullness we have all received,
desire of the everlasting hills,
patient and most merciful,
enriching all who invoke You,
fountain of life and holiness,
propitiation for our sins,
loaded down with opprobrium,
bruised for our offenses,
obedient even to death,
pierced with a lance,
source of all consolation,
our life and resurrection,
our peace and reconciliation,
victim of sin,
salvation of those who hope in You,
hope of those who die in You,
delight of all the saints,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart,

make our hearts like unto Yours.

LET US PRAY O almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Your dearly beloved Son and upon the praise and satisfaction He offers You in behalf of sinners, and being appeased grant pardon to those who seek Your mercy, in the name of the same Jesus Christ Your Son, who live and reign with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

For the Living and the Dead

O divine Heart of Jesus, grant, I pray You, eternal rest to the souls in purgatory, the final grace to those who are about to die this day, true repentance to sinners, the light of faith to pagans, and Your blessing to me and to all who are dear to me. To You, therefore, O most merciful Heart of Jesus, I commend all those souls, and in their behalf I offer to You all Your merits in union with the merits of Your most blessed Mother and of all the angels and saints, together with all the Masses, Communions, prayers, and good works which are this day being offered throughout the Christian world. Amen.

Act of Reparation

Adorable Heart of Jesus, glowing with love for us and inflamed with zeal for our salvation! O Heart ever sensible of our misery and the wretchedness to which our sins have reduced us, infinitely rich in mercy to heal the wounds of our souls! Behold us humbly prostrate before You to express the sorrow that fills our hearts for the coldness and indifference with which we have so long requited the numberless benefits You have conferred upon us. With a deep sense of the outrages heaped upon You by our sins and the sins of others, we come to make a solemn reparation of honor to Your most sacred Majesty. It was our sins that overwhelmed Your Heart with bitterness; it was the weight of our iniquities that pressed down Your face to the earth in the Garden of Olives and caused You to expire in anguish and agony on the cross. But now, repenting and sorrowful, we cast ourselves at Your feet and implore forgiveness.

Adorable Heart of Jesus, source of true contrition and ever merciful to the penitent sinner, impart to our hearts the spirit of penance and give to our eyes a fountain of tears, that we may sincerely bewail our sins now and for the rest of our days. Would that we could blot them out even with our blood! Pardon them, O Lord, in Your mercy, and pardon and convert to You all that have committed irreverences and sacrileges against You in the sacrament of Your love, and thus give another proof that Your mercy is above all Your works.

Divine Jesus, with You there is mercy and plentiful redemption. Deliver us from our sins. Accept the sincere desire we now entertain and our holy resolution, relying on the assistance of Your grace, henceforth to be faithful to You. And in order to repair the sins and ingratitude by which we have grieved Your most tender and loving Heart, we are resolved in the future ever to love and honor You in the most adorable Sacrament of the Altar, where You are ever present to hear and grant our petitions and to be the food and life of our souls. O compassionate Jesus, be our mediator with Your heavenly Father, whom we have so grievously offended. Strengthen our weakness, confirm our resolutions of amendment, and as Your Sacred Heart is our refuge and our hope when we have sinned, so may it be the strength and support of our repentance, that nothing in life or death may ever again separate us from You. Amen.

As You Love Me

Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, inflame my heart with love for You and for those around me.

Grant, O Lord, that every moment of this day, in all my dealings with others, I may keep in mind Your words "… as long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me."

Grant that I may rule all my dealings with others according to Your command: "… love one another, as I have loved you."

Grant that I may think of them as You think of them and of me.

Grant that I may feel toward them as You feel toward them and me.

Grant that I may speak to them and of them as You would were You in my place.

Grant that I may bear with them as You bear with me.

Grant that I may regard it a privilege "… not to be ministered unto, but to minister."

Grant that I may seek opportunities of doing good to them in a kindly way—seeing You, serving You, in them.

Place Your thoughts in my mind, Your love in my heart, Your words on my lips—that I may learn to love others as You love me.

Heart of Your Mercy

Humbly prostrate at the foot of Your holy cross, I will often say to You in order to move the Heart of Your mercy to pardon me:


unknown and despised,
calumniated and persecuted,
abandoned by men and tempted,
betrayed and sold for a vile price,
blamed, accused, and unjustly condemned,
clothed with a garment of opprobrium and shame,
buffeted and mocked,
dragged with a rope round Your neck,
scourged unto blood,
reputed to be a fool and to be possessed by a devil,
to whom Barabbas was preferred,
shamefully stripped of Your garments,
crowned with thorns and saluted in derision,
laden with the cross, and with the maledictions of the people,
overwhelmed with insults, sorrow, and humiliations,
sorrowful unto death,
insulted, spat upon, beaten, outraged, and scoffed at,
hanged on the infamous tree in company with robbers,
set at nought and deprived of honor before men,
overwhelmed with all kinds of sorrow.

O good Jesus, who has suffered an infinity of insults and humiliations for love of me, imprint the appreciation and love of them on my heart and make me desire to endure them. Amen.

Solemn Consecration of the Society

O most amiable and adorable Heart of Jesus, O Heart infinitely compassionate and merciful, our refuge in all dangers, our hope in all trials, our comfort and consolation in all sorrows, behold us humbly prostrate before You to implore Your mercy, to claim Your protection, and to offer ourselves entirely to You. You see the dangers that surround us, the storms by which we are assailed. The powers of darkness have risen against Your holy Church and against us, Your unworthy but devoted servants. They have laid waste Your inheritance, they have overturned Your altars, they have persecuted those that love and honor Your sacred name. And now they glory in the evil which they have done and vainly boast that they have triumphed over You and Your Church, and have destroyed Your worship from the face of the earth. But You are almighty, and who shall resist You? You will arise in Your power and Your enemies shall perish from before Your face. You will command the winds and the waves and there shall be a great calm.

Animated with this confidence in Your power and Your love, O divine Heart, we present our supplication on this day of our solemn consecration to You. Deign to receive our offering, unworthy as it is, and grant our prayer for the Church and for Your devoted Society which now solemnly dedicates itself to Your honor. O merciful Heart, ever open to admit us into Your sacred and secure asylum. We Your servants, members of the Society of Jesus, desiring to give You a proof of our devotion and to receive from You the assistance and protection which we need in these calamitous times for the Church, for the Holy See, and for ourselves, do on this day publicly and solemnly consecrate ourselves entirely to You; our lives and our labors; our thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings. We pledge ourselves to You as Your devoted servants forever. We consecrate to You our persons, our houses, our missions, our sodalities, and all those for whose spiritual good we labor in Your service, that Your spirit may reign over them, Your love sustain them, Your grace sanctify them and make them at all times pleasing to Your sight. O sweet and adorable Heart of Jesus, accept this holocaust which we offer; inflame it with Your divine love, that it may ascend before You in an odor of sweetness; and that, united with Your infinite merits, it may bring down upon us, upon Your holy Church, upon our Holy Father, our much afflicted pontiff (NAME), and upon all members of our congregations, missions, schools, colleges, and houses, the abundance of Your blessing, the heavenly showers of Your graces, the rich treasures which You have promised to those who would honor You. Throw around us, Your servants, the shield of Your protection, guard us against the malice of the wicked, who hate Your Church because it is Yours and persecute us because we love Your holy name and defend Your honor. Let us find in You our refuge, our consolation, our hope. Be You our support in life, our confidence in death, our eternal enjoyment in heaven. Amen.

Consecration of the Human Race

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Your altar. We are Yours and Yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with You, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Your most Sacred Heart. Many, indeed, have never known You; many, too, despising Your precepts, have rejected You. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Your Sacred Heart.

Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken You, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be king of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd.

Grant, O Lord, to Your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor forever. Amen.

Offering of Claude la Colombiere

To make reparation for so many outrages and such cruel ingratitude, most adorable and lovable Heart of my lovable Jesus, and to avoid falling, as far as it is in my power to do so, into a like misfortune, I offer You my heart with all the movements of which it is capable. I give myself entirely to You, and from this hour I protest most sincerely, I think, that I desire to forget myself and all that have any connection with me. I wish to remove the obstacle which could prevent my entering into this divine Heart, which You have had the goodness to open to me, and into which I desire to enter, there to live and die with Your faithful servants, entirely penetrated and inflamed with Your love.

I offer to this Heart all the merit, all the satisfaction of all the Masses, of all the prayers, of all the mortifications, of all the religious practices, of all the acts of zeal, of humility, of obedience, and of all the other virtues which I shall practice up to the last moment of my life. Not only all this will be to honor the Heart of Jesus and its wonderful dispositions, but again I pray Him to accept the complete gift which I make to Him to dispose of as He pleases, and in favor of whomsoever He pleases. As I have already yielded to the holy souls in purgatory all that there is in my actions that is capable of satisfying the divine justice, I desire that this will be distributed to them according to the good pleasure of the Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach me perfect forgetfulness of self, since that is the only way one can find entrance into You. As all that I shall do in the future will be Yours, grant I may do nothing that will be unworthy of You. Teach me what I should do to come to the purity of Your love, the desire of which You have breathed into me. I feel in myself a tremendous inclination to please You, and a great impotence of succeeding without a great light and a most special help which I can expect only from You.

Lord, do Your will in me. I well know that I oppose it. But I dearly wish, I think, not to oppose it. It is Yours to do all, divine Heart of Jesus Christ. You alone will have all the glory of my sanctification if I become holy. That seems to me clearer than the day. But for You it will be a great glory, and it is for that reason alone that I would desire to be perfect. Amen.

Nine Offices of the Sacred Heart

The Nine Offices of the Sacred Heart are a familiar exercise of devotion to the Heart of Jesus. We can trace its origin to St. Margaret Mary herself. Two of the offices (Meditation and Reparation) were recommended to the saint by our Lord. She then added other offices to bring the total to nine, in union with the nine choirs of angels. In a vision she had seen Christ surrounded by the angelic choirs, who invited her to join with them in adoring the Sacred Heart. According to the saint, the Sacred Heart desires "a special union and devotion to the holy angels, who are chosen to love, honor, and praise the Sacred Heart in the divine sacrament of love, so that they who are in His divine presence would love Him for us and for all those who do not love Him, and also make up for the irreverences we commit in His holy presence."

The word "offices" is used here in the original meaning of duty or service given to another. There are various methods in use among the faithful. The method suggested by St. Margaret Mary is to take one office for a month, for nine successive months, whether assigned or chosen individually. Others prefer to take a different office each day or each week.

The practice of this devotion can also vary. Although it is good to say the suggested prayer each day in union with a choir of the angels, the emphasis should rather be in directing all the actions of the day according to the spirit of one's office. Some may want to dwell on its meaning in their morning meditation or incorporate its spirit into the particular examen for a month. Where the offices are shared by others, this community of devotion to the Sacred Heart helps to foster an awareness of cooperative prayer in the mystical body of Christ.

In the Eucharist

Lord Jesus Christ, in union with that divine intention by which on earth You offered to God Your praises through Your most Sacred Heart, and now offer them in the sacrament of the Eucharist everywhere on earth even to the end of time, I most gladly offer You throughout this day all my thoughts and intentions, all my affections and desires, all my words and deeds, in imitation of the most sacred, heart of the blessed and ever Virgin Mary Immaculate.

King of the Universe

O Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You king of the universe. All that has been created has been made for You. Exercise upon me all Your rights.

I renew my baptismal promises renouncing Satan and all his works and pomps. I promise to live a good Christian life and to do all in my power to procure the triumph of the rights of God and Your Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You my poor actions in order to obtain that all hearts may acknowledge Your sacred royalty and that thus the reign of Your peace may be established throughout the universe. Amen.

Eucharistic Heart

O most sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now as then Thou sayest, "With desire I have desired." I worship Thee, then, with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will.

O my God, when Thou dost condescend to suffer me to receive Thee, to eat and drink Thee, and Thou for a while takest up Thy abode within me, O make my heart beat with Thy Heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it, but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace. Amen.

Cardinal Newman

Triple Intention

Eternal Father, I offer You the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with all its love, all its sufferings, and all its merits:

First—To expiate all the sins I have committed this day and during all my life. Gloria Patri.
Second—To purify the good I have done badly this day and during all my life. Gloria Patri.
Third—To supply for the good I ought to have done, and that I have neglected this day and during all my life. Gloria Patri.

Sacred Heart Novena

Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.

V. O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,

R. that we may ever love You more and more.

Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica

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