The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

The following is an excerpt from the Marian Press book 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle:

“The Heart of Christ! His ‘Sacred Heart’ has given men everything: redemption, salvation, sanctification. St. Faustina Kowalska saw coming from this Heart that was overflowing with generous love, two rays of light which illuminated the world.”
— St. John Paul II, Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2001

Our Lord loves all of His children without exception. Sadly, though, at times, instead of loving Him back and appreciating His great love, we choose to live sinful lives and therefore wound Jesus’ Heart. This week’s spiritual exercise will discuss the Church’s teaching on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as well as St. Faustina’s devotion to Jesus’ Heart. Saint Faustina mentioned Jesus’ Heart in her Diary more than 200 times! In our reflection, we’ll also explore how the young mystic snuggled in close to His Heart and wholeheartedly trusted in God’s will for her. Let’s begin!


The Catechism teaches, “Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony, and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: ‘The Son of God ... loved me and gave himself for me’ [Gal 2:20]. He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that ... love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception” (CCC, 478).

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was given a tremendous boost in the late 1600s. Jesus appeared on several occasions in France to a Visitation nun named Margaret Mary Alacoque. He explained the devotion to His Sacred Heart during the apparitions, asked that people practice the devotion, and requested that He be honored in the symbol of His Heart of flesh. He also requested acts of reparation and frequent Communion, especially on the First Friday of the month, and for the faithful to make a regular Holy Hour. The Church approved the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus not only because of the personal holiness of St. Margaret Mary, but on the devotion’s own merits. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains, “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.” The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on to say that “one of the essential phases of the devotion is that it considers the love of Jesus for us as a despised, ignored love. He Himself revealed this when He complained so bitterly to St. Margaret Mary.”

We should never doubt God’s love, for it is immeasurable. Through the Incarnation, Passion, and Death of His only Son, Jesus, God poured out His love for us and continues to do so through the Holy Spirit in the Church. Our Lord continues to seek mankind’s ultimate good — our freedom from slavery to sin. He loves us more than we can imagine, no matter how we may have treated Him, even if it was with indifference, ingratitude, sin, and contempt. When we turn our backs on God, He searches us out and offers His mercy and love. He does not want us to suffer eternal damnation. God gifts us with free will, allowing us to ultimately choose where we will end up. Jesus told Sr. Faustina, “I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of Justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy” (Diary, 1588). Our dear Lord is compassionate. He is love and mercy itself. He told St. Faustina, “I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy” (Diary, 1146). Jesus desires that we seek His mercy through His Merciful Heart. Jesus asked His little bride, “Tell sinners that no one shall escape My hand; if they run away from My Merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands” (Diary, 1728).

Novena to Divine Mercy
As we know, on February 22, 1931, in Plock, when Jesus revealed the Image of Divine Mercy to His bride Sr. Faustina, He touched His garment at the breast and large rays emanated from His Heart. Jesus’ Sacred Heart is very much a part of the devotion of Divine Mercy. Sister Faustina was very devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Her devotion to Jesus’ Sacred Heart no doubt increased when Jesus dictated the “Novena to the Divine Mercy” to His humble bride. It is recorded in the Diary, entries 1209-1229. Jesus specifically asked St. Faustina or whoever would pray the prayers to “bring to My Heart” a different group of souls on each day of the Novena, and “immerse them in the ocean of My mercy” (Diary, 1210). Jesus also gave Sr. Faustina a beautiful prayer focusing on the Heart of Jesus that has become very popular among the Catholic faithful. We can pray it at 3 p.m. (the “Hour of Great Mercy) each day or at any time: “O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You” (Diary, 84). Remember, Jesus told Sr. Faustina that this prayer is powerful and can work conversions.

In his homily on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2001, St. John Paul II spoke about this aspect of St. Faustina’s spirituality:

The Heart of Christ! His “Sacred Heart” has given men everything: redemption, salvation, sanctification. St. Faustina Kowalska saw coming from this heart that was over owing with generous love, two rays of light which illuminated the world. “The two rays” according to what Jesus Himself told her, “represent the blood and the water” (Diary, 299). The blood recalls the sacrifice of Golgotha and the mystery of the Eucharist; the water, according to the rich symbolism of the Evangelist John, makes us think of Baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 3:5; 4:14). Through the mystery of this wounded Heart, the restorative tide of God’s merciful love continues to spread over the men and women of our time. Here alone can those who long for true happiness find its secret.

Sister Faustina and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sister Faustina knew just where to retreat in times of need — right near her Lord’s Sacred Heart. Earlier, we discussed when Sr. Faustina experienced a “great suffering and humiliation” and “snuggled closely to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,” as she wrote, letting Jesus know that she was ready for that for which she had offered herself (Diary, 138). Elsewhere in the Diary, Sr. Faustina recorded her experience on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. She wrote, “Today is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. During Holy Mass, I was given the knowledge of the Heart of Jesus and of the nature of the fire of love with which He burns for us and of how He is an Ocean of Mercy. Then I heard [Jesus’] voice: ‘Apostle of My mercy, proclaim to the whole world My unfathomable mercy. Do not be discouraged by the difficulties you encounter in proclaiming My mercy. These difficulties that affect you so painfully are needed for your sanctification and as evidence that this work is Mine. My daughter, be diligent in writing down every sentence I tell you concerning My mercy, because this is meant for a great number of souls who will profit from it’” (Diary, 1142).

Another time, Sr. Faustina recalled Jesus’ requests and how she once again nestled close to His Most Sacred Heart. She wrote:

October 10, [1937]. O my Jesus, in thanksgiving for Your many graces, I offer You my body and soul, intellect and will, and all the sentiments of my heart. Through the vows, I have given myself entirely to You; I have then nothing more that I can offer you. Jesus said to me, “My daughter, you have not offered Me that which is really yours.” I probed deeply into myself and found that I love God with all the faculties of my soul and, unable to see what it was that I had not yet given to the Lord, I asked, “Jesus, tell me what it is, and I will give it to you at once with a generous heart.” Jesus said to me with kindness, “Daughter, give Me your misery, because it is your exclusive property.” At that moment, a ray of light illumined my soul, and I saw the whole abyss of my misery. In that same moment I nestled close to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with so much trust that even if I had the sins of all the damned weighing on my conscience, I would not have doubted God’s mercy but, with a heart crushed to dust, I would have thrown myself into the abyss of Your mercy. I believe, O Jesus, that you would not reject me, but would absolve me through the hand of Your representative (Diary, 1318).

Something to Ponder
Recall how St. Faustina nestled close to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with so much trust. She did not doubt His mercy. She wrote, “I would not have doubted God’s mercy but, with a heart crushed to dust, I would have thrown myself into the abyss of Your mercy.” In your prayers, can you take time today and during the upcoming week to seek Jesus in His Sacred Heart, either in prayer where you are or in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and to trust Him fully with your life? We should never tire of moving in closer to Jesus’ Sacred Heart.

A Merciful Action
Pray earnestly this week, uniting your heart with Jesus’ Sacred Heart as you carry out your works of mercy. Pray the prayer to the Sacred Heart (below) and ask Jesus for the graces to offer loving works of mercy to all around you.

A Prayer of Mercy for this Week 

(To be prayed each day this week.)

Dear Merciful Jesus, I love You. Please allow me to come closer to Your Most Sacred Heart where I may rest awhile.
Mother Mary, show me the way
and please protect me.
Saint Faustina, please pray for me.
Jesus, I trust in You!

Prayer to the Sacred Heart

(From the Raccolta)

O MOST Sacred Heart of Jesus, pour down thy blessings abundantly upon thy Church, upon the Supreme Pontiff, and upon all the clergy; give perseverance to the just, convert sinners, enlighten unbelievers, bless our parents, friends, and benefactors, help the dying, free the souls in Purgatory, and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of thy love. Amen.

You can order 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle here:



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