Popes Pius XI and Pius XII on Sacred Heart devotion
In his encyclical on reparation to the Sacred Heart, Miserentissimus Redemptor, published in 1928, Pope Pius XI stated that:
“There is surely no reason for doubting, Venerable Brethren, that from this devotion piously established and commanded to the whole Church, many excellent benefits will flow forth, not only to individual men, but also to society, sacred, civil and domestic, seeing that our Redeemer himself promised to Margaret Mary that ‘all those who rendered this honour to his Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces’.”
In 1956 the next Pope, Pius XII, likewise published an encyclical on this topic, entitled Haurietis Aquas, with the intention of promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart. In this he wrote:
“It is altogether impossible to enumerate the heavenly gifts which devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has poured out on the souls of the faithful, purifying them, offering them heavenly strength, rousing them to the attainment of all virtues. We are perfectly justified in seeing in this same devotion, which flourishes with increasing fervour throughout the world, a gift without price which our divine Saviour the Incarnate Word, as the one mediator of grace and truth between the heavenly father and the human race, imparted to the Church, his mystical Spouse, in recent centuries when she had to endure such trials and surmount so many difficulties.”
Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI on Sacred Heart devotion
On 24th June 2002, St Pope John Paul II spoke of this devotion at an Angelus address in St Peter’s Square as follows:
“To celebrate the Heart of Christ means to go to the inner centre of the person of the Saviour, the centre which the Bible identifies as his Heart, the seat of the love that has redeemed the world. If the human heart is really an unfathomable mystery known only to God, how much more sublime is the Heart of Jesus in whom the very life of the Word is pulsating. Echoing the Scriptures, the beautiful Litany of the Sacred Heart suggests that we find in the Heart of Jesus all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and the whole fullness of divinity. To save man, the victim of his own disobedience, God wanted to give him a ‘new heart’that would be faithful to his loving will. This heart is the Heart of Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s masterpiece, which began to beat in Mary’s virginal womb and was pierced by the spear as Jesus hung on the cross, becoming for all an inexhaustible source of eternal life. That Heart is now a pledge of hope for every man and woman.”
Later, Pope Benedict XVI, in a letter dated May 2006, wrote to the Superior General of the Jesuits on the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius’s encyclical, stating:
“By encouraging devotion to the Heart of Jesus, the Encyclical Haurietis Aquas exhorted believers to open themselves to the mystery of God and of his love, and to allow themselves to be transformed by it. After 50 years, it is still a fitting task for Christians to continue to deepen their relationship with the Heart of Jesus, in such a way as to revive their faith in the saving love of God and to welcome him ever more fully into their lives.”
Pope Francis on the Sacred Heart devotion
Pope Francis, a Jesuit, has also been keen to promote devotion to the Sacred Heart. In his 9th June 2013 Angelus address at the Vatican, he said:
“The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the highest human expression of divine love. Just this past Friday, in fact, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the feast that sets the tone for the whole month. Popular piety highly prizes symbols, and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy – but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the centre, the source from which salvation for all humanity gushed forth… The Lord is always watching us with mercy, always awaits us with mercy. Let us be not afraid to approach him! He has a merciful heart! If we show our inner wounds, our sins, he always forgives us. He is pure mercy! Let us never forget this: He is pure mercy! Let us go to Jesus!”
This blog is extracted from our booklet Sacred Heart: Prayers and Devotions. Explaining the effects of devotion to the Sacred Heart over the centuries, the booklet is a practical and simple way for people to foster a devotional spirit and can be used individually or in parish groups.
Learn more about the devotion and the accompanying prayers by ordering your copy of Sacred Heart: Prayers and Devotions.