For Mind and Spirit
Learn about the key concepts behind devotion to the Sacred Heart, and find prayers to comfort and inspire.
Sacred Heart devotion
Returning Love for Love
Oblation, reparation and a devotion to the Sacred Heart are at the heart of who we are as Priests of the Sacred Heart. These are the fundamental concepts, based in the love found in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, upon which Fr. Leo Dehon built his religious community. They are the concepts upon which we base our lives.
When Fr. Dehon founded the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, he originally called us the Oblates of the Sacred Heart. He wanted the members of his community to unite with Jesus in offering themselves to the Father. For him the words of Psalm 40, repeated in the letter to the Hebrews in Chapter 10, carry the essence of our vocation: “Behold, I come to do your will.”
Each day we SCJs pray the prayer of oblation. It is a daily reminder of the purpose of our vocation: putting ourselves at God’s disposition, living out our union with Christ in our availability and our love for all, especially for the lowly, for those who suffer. The act of oblation is made possible by the conviction that God loves us infinitely.
One does not have to be a Priest of the Sacred Heart to live a life of oblation. For anyone who realizes how much we are loved by our God and what price Jesus paid to show that love, the only fitting response is to love totally in return, seeking what God asks of us, being available to do what God asks of us, being the person God calls us to be. That way of life is open to us all.
Number 23 of the Constitutions of the Priests of the Sacred Heart describes reparation as having four elements:
– A welcome to the Spirit (cf. I Thess. 4:8)
– A response to Christ’s love for us
– Communion in His love for the Father
– Cooperation in His work of redemption in the midst of the world
God initiates our ability to offer reparation by giving us the gift of the Spirit. Welcoming that gift, we can respond to and return the love manifested by Jesus in His passion and death.
The Spirit also reminds us we are finite creatures, incapable of offering a fitting love to our infinite God. And so we unite ourselves with Jesus in His offering of love to the Father—particularly in the Eucharist.
The final element of reparation moves us from prayer into action: the work of reconciliation. Where people are separated from God and from one another, we devote ourselves to proclaiming God’s great love. Reparation also calls us to treat lovingly those whose condition in life makes it difficult to believe in a loving God—the poor, the marginalized. We are called to reconcile, to help people become one with each other, and with God.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart helps us see Jesus in our hearts, our homes and the Eucharist. This devotion inspires us to love, to be compassionate and forgiving, and to reach out to those in need.
By faith, we believe Jesus is both God and human. In the Bible, we learn of His life and His dying for us. And at Mass, we pray to Him. But the story of Jesus can seem like any other story if we are not personally involved. At times, we may even find it difficult to pray.
It is at such moments that we need to remember Jesus is Mary’s son as well as the Son of God; that He lived and worked, ate and slept, laughed and cried, even prayed as we do now; and that He knows and understands us better than anyone else.
We recall that the story of Jesus is a story not yet finished. He is risen! He is alive, and He brings us into His story. We become part of the story-telling.
Jesus, with His title of “Sacred Heart,” is one of us—helping us to be one with God. This is both a comfort and a challenge, appealing as well as unsettling. The Sacred Heart of Jesus enters into our daily life, and we are profoundly different because of Him.
One special event or person can call believers back to Jesus. In seventeenth-century France, Jesus opened his Heart anew to a humble and prayerful Sister, Margaret Mary Alacoque.
Many people of that time saw Jesus as distant from their lives and chose not to receive Holy Communion. But when Margaret Mary knelt in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus showed Himself with His heart aflame with love. He invited her to receive Communion more often and to pray more fervently for those who felt cut off from God. And He asked Margaret Mary to help others understand how personal His love is.
The Sacred Heart’s words to Margaret Mary ultimately reverberated throughout the Church, resulting in special prayers to the Sacred Heart, more devoted reception of Holy Communion, now-familiar statues and pictures and a Feast of the Sacred Heart each June.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, this holy Sister was declared Saint Margaret Mary.
When Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Saint Margaret Mary’s convent, he stressed that devotion to the Sacred Heart does not belong to one time or place. It is at once ancient and modern; familiar, yet new and exciting.
Today the Sacred Heart of Jesus invites our hearts to be with those who are hungry, hungry both for food and for love. He asks that our hearts be with Thomas when we exclaim “My Lord and my God.” He asks that we know God’s love in our hearts, and share that love with others.
And so, through devotion, we regain the courage to pray, as if speaking with a good friend – one who has time for us, who is interested in us and who can do everything for us. We not only believe He is merciful, or know He dealt mercifully with sinners long ago. We pray for Him to show us mercy right now.
Prayer for Consecration and Oblation
Jesus, I feel within me
a great desire to please you
but, at the same time,
I feel totally incapable of doing this
Without your special light and help,
Which I can expect only from you.
Accomplish your will within me,
Even in spite of me.
(St. Claude la Colombière, SJ)
Trust in the Heart of Christ
O Heart of love,
I place all my trust in you.
I fear all things
from my own weakness,
but I hope for all things
from your goodness.
(Sr. Margaret Mary Alacoque)
Worthy to Serve
Make us worthy, Lord,
to serve our fellow human beings throughout the world
who live and die in poverty and hunger.
Give them through our hands this day
Their daily bread,
And by our understanding love
Give peace and joy.
(Bl. Teresa of Calcutta)
Vocation Prayers; Prayers for Guidance
you have blessed me
with many gifts and talents.
Grant me the wisdom to know
how best to use them
for the glory of your name.
Jesus calls, “Come follow me.”
I want to follow him
and be faithful to my call.
Help me to see in myself
what you see,
and give me the courage
to follow wherever
you may lead.
Bless the Church
with generous hearts,
eager to serve your people
and to spread your Word.
Jesus, our merciful priest,
when you came into the world you said:
“Behold, I come to do your will, O God.”
Make our hearts like yours.
May we learn obedience from what we endure.
May your Spirit make us
attentive to the will of God,
available to our brothers and sisters in this world,
and dedicated to your reign of love.
Accept this offering of our lives,
Lord Jesus, and keep us always in your service.
Lord, the desire I have for my own holiness
and that of my loved ones,
even the desire that the saints have
for the holiness of the world:
all these are nothing in
comparison to the ardent longing
of your heart to make us holy.
Lord, through your almighty power
give my heart the right dispositions
so that it may be able to welcome
the grace you bestow on it.
Prayer for Leadership
O Jesus, pervade our society,
our family life, and our souls
and rule as our peaceful leader.
Let those who labor
for the good of your people and the poor
be enlightened with the radiance of faith
and the love of your kind heart.
Infuse them with your own spirit,
the spirit of discipline, order and mildness,
and let the flame of enthusiasm
burn ever brightly in their hearts…
May we soon see the day
when you are once more the center of civic life
and carried aloft by your joyful people.
Prayer for the Feast of the Sacred Heart
God of love,
when we abandoned you
for a world made in our image, You did not forget us.
Nor did you ignore the violence,
and the misery caused by our sin.
Instead, you sent your only Son,
who is the image of your love for us.
He allowed his heart to be pierced,
that we might live.
we thank you for your mercy.
In grateful love,
we offer you our lives in reparation.
We pledge our common life and ministry
to the work of justice and life,
the good news of reconciliation,
and the task of showing the world
the depths of your abundant grace,
through Christ our Lord.
Feasts of Mary
God of love,
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
through the faith of Mary’s heart,
you gave us your beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
He freed us from sin and death,
and gave us the grace
to live in communion with one another
and with you.
God of grace,
Grant us the Spirit you gave Mary.
Give us a faith like hers,
that we may hear your word and keep it.
With Mary, grant us a disciple’s heart.
Send us into the world
to show the human race
the love you revealed in the heart of Christ.