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Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

A document dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus written by Pope Francis will be published in September

“To a world that seems to have lost its heart,” Pope Francis will address a letter on the Sacred Heart. At the end of his audience on Wednesday, June 5, he announced that he is preparing a document dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the first manifestation of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the monastery of Paray-le Monial.

The document will bring together magisterial reflections and spiritual traditions rooted in Sacred Scripture, and will be promulgated next in September, with the intention of leading the Church in the rediscovery of this cult.

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“I believe,” he said, “that it will do us much good to meditate on various aspects of the Lord’s love that can illuminate the path of ecclesial renewal; but also say something meaningful to a world that seems to have lost its heart. For this reason, the Pope appealed to the faithful to accompany him with prayer during this time of preparation before its publication.

June, the month consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

June is the month that tradition has consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and today, June 6, the first Friday after Corpus Christi, the Church celebrates its solemnity. In 1675, Jesus appeared repeatedly to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and showing her His Heart, He told her, “Behold that Heart which has so loved men and from whom He receives nothing but ingratitude and contempt.”

Blessed Elena Guerra in her contemplation of Jesus feels a similar invitation: “Open the eyes of faith and look at me,” Jesus says, “Who ever loved you more than me? Who desires your true good more than me? What other heart but mine was pierced and opened for you? Oh, what sweet rest, what sure peace would you not enjoy if all of you abandoned yourself on this heart….”

After these manifestations, St. Margaret from the cloister of the Visitation became the great apostle of this devotion; as our Blessed Elena Guerra, from Lucca, would become so of the Holy Spirit.

St. Margaret and Blessed Elena Guerra

S. Margaret described the Heart of Jesus as “A furnace that emits fire and flames, and rays of light, so as to make Christ and the space around Him shine.” Jesus Himself explained to Margaret the meaning of the vision, He told her, “My divine Heart no longer being able to contain in itself the flames of its ardent Love, feels the need to spread them through you and to manifest itself to men in order to enrich them with precious spiritual treasures.”

Blessed Elena Guerra will speak of the Holy Spirit as fire, “who has come and is coming and is coming for all, so that all may not only know Him, but still receive Him in themselves, and be filled with His precious gifts.”

These mystical women use the same language; they speak of the Heart and the Holy Spirit as a fire of love, because unique is the mystery of God’s Love. In the school of Scripture they learned to read the book of the science of Love, not of a love according to human praxis, but according to the divine alphabet, which is combined with faithfulness, mercy, grace.


Sacred Heart and Holy Spirit

Jesus̀ life, from incarnation to his glorification, is dominated by the Holy Spirit who molded his human and divine heart in the Virgin’s womb. It is the gift that flowed from the pierced Heart of the Redeemer; it is in the Holy Spirit that the Risen One reconciles humanity, appearing to the Twelve gathered in the Upper Room. The Spirit is the main protagonist of the Church’s life. “Sweet guest of the soul,” he comforts, suggests and inspires the lives of the baptized. It is the Holy Spirit, source of love and giver of life, who pulses in the hearts of the faithful and inflames them with the fire of his own love.

Blessed Elena Guerra, in Letter 450, also speaks of an original iconography that could express the union of the two cults, that of the Sacred Heart with that of the Holy Spirit; in the same image was to be represented, “The Heart of Jesus, from which the divine Dove (symbol of the Holy Spirit) comes out, spreading flames over many hearts.” Unfortunately, just as the Heart of Christ is covered with ingratitude, so the Holy Spirit is forgotten and ignored by men, who do not follow the breath of His counsel and do not allow themselves to be warmed by the fire of His Love.

As Pope Francis pointed out in announcing the document. Today, in a world often tied to what appears and to false riches, in order to make this time of ours more human, there is a need to recover the dimension of the heart, that is, to return to interiority and as Elena Guerra would say, to drive out “spiritual somnolence.”

Through the cult of the Sacred Heart and devotion to the Holy Spirit, man has the possibility to make a journey of interiority and true humanization, capable of combining together reason and faith, science and heart, rationality and feeling. Today, man seems to have more of a “heart of stone” (Ez 36:26-27), insensitive to the needs of his neighbor and closed to spiritual realities. To enter the heart of Christ is to penetrate the mystery of God, remembering the love with which he created, redeemed and loved us to the supreme gift of the Cross. But Christ’s Heart is also the open door to the mystery of man and the world, which were created by the one God. To enter His Heart is to make possible the transformation of the “heart of stone” into a “heart of flesh,” fully human. This transformation from “stone” to “flesh” is made possible by the Holy Spirit.

Jesuit Teillhard de Chardin

A great scientist and mystic of the twentieth century, the Jesuit Teillhard de Chardin, describes a magnificent vision that encompasses every creature and the entire universe in God: “At the center of your breast I see nothing but a furnace, and the more I fix my gaze on this fire, the more it seems to me that all around the features of your body magnify beyond all measure, until I discern no more features in you but those of a world on fire. – and continues – Here is The great secret, the great mystery: there is a heart of the world and this heart is the Heart of Christ.” Again Teilhard speaks of Christ, the Word made flesh, who possesses a “Cosmic Body, extending to the whole universe.” Similarly, Elena Guerra describes this universal dimension, writing, “The thought of God is eternal: his infinite mind contains every being, every subsistent and possible reality, and embraces all time, all space, eternity, immensity.”

Both St. Margaret and Blessed Elena Guerra, whose solemn canonization we are preparing, not only lead us to rediscover a cult and devotion, but also lead us to the way of the heart and the deepest dimension of being, by which man is called to respond to God’s love. “To love God with all one’s heart,” (Mk. 12:28-31), is a necessary experience so that man, touched by God’s mercy, is made capable of overcoming his own frailties and selfishness and opening himself to the love of his neighbor, making life a gift. “Do you tremble,” writes Blessed Helena, “at having to make me the sacrifice of your will and of the things that are dear to you?…. Fear not! I ask your heart, only your heart.” In the pierced Heart of Christ and in the Fire of the Upper Room God gives us a sign and grace of his infinite love, which solicits man’s response without imposing it, but as a beggar asks for an open heart, to make him capable of loving, as God loves.

As Elena Guerra says, again, “Jesus wants to possess your heart, to make it a true temple of the Godhead, dwelling there together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. If God comes to dwell in the heart of man it is a grace, the heart has a throb of eternity and a breath of infinity. “A creature who by Love,” writes Blessed Helena, “is called to being, and in Love lives and works, and through Love palpitates, thinks, and acts, will it not burn with love? If love is her element, will she be able to do anything but love? And shall not that Eternal Love, which with its beneficent effusions creates and recreates it, blesses and caresses it, preserves it and disposes it to enjoy the infinite joys in its most blessed bosom, have then from it the reciprocation of love?”

Taught by the vision of the Heart surrounded by flames of fire and the Holy Spirit Love coming forth from its wound, may this world of ours rediscover its own heart, the true and pure capacity of love that overcomes the great waters of evil and death that human selfishness causes (St. 8:6). “Elevating the heart to God is necessary,” said Blessed Helena, “in order to receive the Holy Spirit. May St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and Blessed Elena Guerra lead us into the Heart of Christ and may this world find its center in him, so that we can build an authentic civilization of love, open to universal brotherhood.





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