The Day of the Sacred Heart

Reflections on my Pilgrimage to Pellevoisin… on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Pellevoisin offers us an unusual specimen of Christian imagery: the Heart of Jesus on the breast of Mary. To find the Blessed Mother carrying her child – in her arms or in her womb – is common enough; and the image of Mary showing her own heart, suffering in sympathy with her Son’s passion, is familiar through the imagery of Fatima, Beauraing and the Green Scapular. But here, the Mother bears the Heart of her Son in exactly the same way in which she asks us to bear it – on a simple piece of cloth over her breast.

Here, then, we see Mary as a simple disciple, one who – like us – chooses to imitate the love shown by Jesus Christ and make it her own.

When Jesus spoke to St Margaret Mary in Paray-le-Monial in the seventeenth century, he made numerous promises, including one of blessings to any family or community which honoured Him by reverently displaying an image of His Sacred Heart. It is from Paray-le-Monial that we receive the establishment of today, the Friday in the week following Corpus Christi, as the special day which honours the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Our Lord asked for two special practices today. One – in an age where Catholics only rarely received communion because of an exaggerated respect for the holiness of the Blessed Sacrament – was to receive communion on this day. The other was to make an act of reparation for indignities committed against the exposed Blessed Sacrament: a theme which is also found at Pellevoisin.

If you are reading this too late to make such an act on the day devoted to the Sacred Heart itself, then recall that through St Margaret Mary, the Lord also invites us to make such an act of reparation on any Thursday evening, and to make a special effort to receive communion on the first Friday of every month. Above all, remember that the greatest act of reparation is to take stock of your own attitude to the Blessed Sacrament, and to choose to amend anything which falls short of what your King, Saviour and Friend deserves.