Feast of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts – Devotions Jesus Wanted

newestBy Donal Anthony Foley –

This week, June 3 and 4, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Given the attention to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart in the Fatima message this is a feast which is dear to all Fatima supporters, but the Sacred Heart devotion is also part of this message. In fact, Jesus told Sister Lucia that He wanted devotion to the Immaculate Heart placed alongside devotion to his Sacred Heart (Letter to Rev. Jose Gonzalves, May 18, 1936).

During the first apparition of the Angel of Peace in the spring of 1916, after he taught the children to pray the “pardon prayer” he said, “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.”

From the very beginning, the two Hearts of Christ and His Mother were portrayed as joined in a union of attentiveness to the prayers of the young seers – and, by implication, to our prayers as well.

St. John Eudes, who lived in the seventeenth century, was one of the saints most prominent in promoting veneration of the Two Hearts, but it was not until after the revelations concerning the “Miraculous Medal” made to St. Catherine Labouré in 1830, at Rue du Bac in Paris, and the establishment of a society dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, at the Church of Our Lady of Victories in Paris in 1836, that this particular devotion became really well known.

Since then, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has gradually grown more widespread in the Church, particularly since the apparitions at Fatima, where there was an explicit manifestation of the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Heart.

Miraculous_medalAt Rue du Bac, Catherine saw an apparition of Our Lady with golden lettering about her that read: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee,” and was told to have a medal struck after that model, with the promise that all who would wear it would receive “great graces.” Then the whole apparition revolved and Catherine saw a large “M” surmounted by a bar and cross, with two hearts beneath it, one crowned with thorns, the other pierced with a sword, all encircled by twelve stars; this indicated the design for the reverse of the medal.

The interesting thing here is that this design sees the two hearts joined together, indicating how closely these devotions are related to each other.

Meanwhile, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord had been greatly enhanced when Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673, at Paray-le-Monial, in France. He revealed his Sacred Heart as a symbol of his love for mankind in a series of revelations which resulted in the Nine First Fridays devotion becoming part of Church life.

During the last third of the nineteenth century, the idea of consecrating the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had become more popular in the Church, along with a similar consecration to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Various petitions were addressed to the Holy See, and in 1899, after close study of the question, Pope Leo XIII decided to consecrate the world to the Sacred Heart. That this was not a mere pious formality is shown by the fact that he thought this act was the greatest of his pontificate. This consecration gave an impetus to the idea of consecrating the world to the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Heart in the early years of the twentieth century, with many petitions to this effect being sent to Rome. This movement eventually bore fruit in 1942, when Pope Pius XII carried out this decisive act.

Meanwhile, apart from Fatima, there was also an emphasis on the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Beauraing in Belgium, where the Blessed Virgin appeared in late 1932 and early 1933 to five children. On December 29, one of the children, Fernande Voisin, saw Our Lady with a heart of gold surrounded by rays. This was also seen by two of the children on December 30, as Mary repeated the phrase she had used previously, “Pray, pray very much,” which was only heard by Fernande. On the last day of 1932 all the children saw Our Lady’s golden heart. This has been seen as indicating a connection between Beauraing and Fatima, with its emphasis on devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, although at the time few people in Belgium had heard of the events in Portugal, and they did not become widely known until later on.

This year the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary also falls on the First Saturday of the month, so there is a further Fatima connection there, too. In sum, we can say the fact that the Church has placed these two special Feasts so close together ought to be an impetus for us to be devoted to the Two Hearts and see devotion to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart as the best way to be truly devoted to the Sacred Heart. This is because such a devotion is not an end in itself, but really the best way for us to truly love God. As in all things Marian, the Blessed Virgin leads us to God.

Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, including Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World, and maintains a related web site at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also a written a time-travel/adventure book for young people, called the Secret of Glaston Tor, available in our Gift Shop.

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2 Comments
  1. Such good information should be preached in the Churches and printed in Diocesan papers and Division newsletters. Very good in this Bulletin and needs to placed in the lap of as many of the Faithful as possible. Do we have permission to use the article in our newsletter? God be with you

    • John, you can use any article we publish as long as you cite the source. Do you want me to email it to you?

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