Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
In 1899, Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Letter Annum sacrum directed that the whole world be consecrated to the Divine Heart of Jesus. This was done on the 11th of June that year. As St. John Paul II indicated on the 100th anniversary of this consecration, Pope Leo wished to “obtain ‘extraordinary benefits first for Christianity, but also for the whole human race’ (Annum sacrum). Asking that … all people should be consecrated, he gave a new direction and sense to the consecration which had already been practised for two centuries by individuals, groups, Dioceses and nations.”
The Sacred Heart in Scripture:
Indeed! This Divine Heart is to be found in Scripture as well. For example, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), referring to the wounds of Christ in Vitis Mystica, brought out how, in the Song of Songs, the Bridegroom exclaims “Thou hast wounded my Heart” (cf Canticle of Canticles 4:9, Douay-Rheims). In 1 Samuel, we read “I will choose a faithful priest who shall do what I have in heart and mind” (2:35) and “The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart…” (13:14). Later, in the prophetic books, there is the assurance that God will appoint wise and prudent pastors after His own heart (cf Jeremiah 3:15).
And so, as Jesus undoubtedly explained on the road to Emmaus, these things in Scripture referred to Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Lamb of God, who fulfills these promises and instructs us, “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29). He makes good the pledge found in Isaiah 12:3, “With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation” by giving us living water drawn from the fountain of His Sacred Heart (cf Jeremiah 2:13, John 4:10-16, and John 19:34). The Gospel also describes how St. John, “the Disciple whom Jesus loved”, rested his head on Our Lord’s heart during the Last Supper. Today’s “devotion to the Heart of Jesus has given [the] form to the prophetic words recalled by St. John: “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (John 19:37; cf Zechariah 12:10), [the form of] … a contemplative gaze” (St. John Paul II).
The Sacred Heart in the Liturgical Calendar:
St. Gertrude the Great (1256 – ca. 1302) and St. Mechtilde (Gertrude’s younger sister) made veneration of Christ’s heart a central devotion which they practiced. When St. Gertrude asked St. John (who appeared to her in a vision) why he had not written about Jesus’ heart, John said it was because that “had been reserved for subsequent ages when the world, having grown cold, would have need of it to rekindle its love” (cf Legatus Memorialis Abundantiae Divinae Pietatis [The Herald of Divine Love]). Later, as is commonly known, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque promoted the devotion to the Sacred Heart just as Jesus commanded her to do. In 1670, a special feast to honor the Sacred Heart was established in France and later expanded to the entire Church as the solemnity we celebrate today.
First Fridays Devotion and Promises to Those Who Keep This Practice:
In addition, Christ asked St. Margaret Mary for the now-famous devotion of attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion, on nine consecutive first Fridays of the month, in reparation for those who do not receive Our Lord, those who do not love Him and those who wound Him by their sinful lives. To those devotions, Jesus gave these twelve promises:
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will give peace in their families.
- I will console them in all their troubles.
- They shall find in my heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
- I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
- Sinners shall find in my heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
- Tepid [lukewarm] souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
- I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.
- I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
- Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in my heart, and it shall never be effaced [erased].
- The all powerful love of my heart will grant to all those who shall receive communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; my heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.
Promises to Those Who Consecrate Themselves to the Sacred Heart:
As well, there are special promises for those who consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart and venerate it:
- This consecration rejoices the Sacred Heart and terrifies the devil, against whom it is a powerful weapon.
- Consecration to the Sacred Heart is a sovereign remedy against mortal sin.
- Consecration puts souls on the road to perfection.
- Consecration will procure peace.
- Consecration is the key which opens the Sacred Heart to us.
- Consecration to the Sacred Heart is a pledge of salvation.
These devotions to the Sacred Heart, through which Christ’s abundant love has promised an outpouring of graces, are a long-standing tradition in the Church. There are even more promises for particular states in life and particular situations. A veritable treasure chest of promises! So, if you have considered consecrating yourself/your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and you are now ready to do so, we are providing various consecration prayers below, suitable for that. If you have already consecrated yourself/your family, it is good to renew this consecration annually on today’s solemnity. May God richly bless you and may you be united to the most loving and merciful Sacred Heart of Jesus … now and forever!
Various Acts of Consecration:
- Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Abyss of Mercy and Source of every grace and blessing, I consecrate and unite myself to You without exception or reserve – all that I am and all that I have, both temporal and spiritual, past, present, and future, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your Mother. I leave myself entirely at Your disposal with complete confidence in Your Mercy and Love, and beg You to look upon my offering and use me for Your own glory, for the honor of Your Mother, and for the salvation of souls. Help me to seek You alone in all things. Hide me in the shelter of Your Most Sacred Heart and be my only consolation and refuge.
Grant me the graces I need to joyfully accept the Cross daily, to lead a holy life, and to die a holy death in Your service. Help me to trust completely in Your Mercy and Love and never to fear to humbly throw myself before the infinite ocean of mercy which is Your Most Sacred Heart. Through this weak and miserable instrument that I am, may Your Mercy, Love, glory and power shine forth. Above all, set my heart on fire with the Flame of Love which burns in Your Most Sacred Heart, and teach me how to return love for Your Love. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me. I put all my trust in You.
- This is one for consecrating one’s family:
Prostrate before You, Lord Jesus Christ, we consecrate to Your Sacred Heart ourselves and everything dear to us: our thoughts, words and actions; our sorrows, our hopes, our relatives and friends. We desire to belong entirely to You, to know all things, and to despise the pleasures, riches and honours of this world and everything which could be an obstacle in Your service.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach us, by Your example in the stable of Bethlehem and by Your whole life, meekness and humility. Teach us, by Your agony and sufferings on the Cross, patience and resignation to the holy Will of God. Teach us, in the mystery of the holy Eucharist, to admire Your power, wisdom and love. Three hundred years ago, You revealed to Saint Margaret Mary Your desire to receive the special homage of Your creatures. In obedience to that divine entreaty, behold us at Your feet to consecrate to Your service and love our hearts, our family and our home in a special manner.
Heart of Jesus, in the name of Mary and under the patronage of Saint Joseph we consecrate to You our whole household. Like Nazareth, may it always be a centre of faith, hope, charity and peace; a hive of prayer and true zeal for Your glory. Guide our lives, direct our steps, and sustain us in all our ways. We earnestly consecrate to You all the trials, afflictions, joys and events of our domestic life.
We beseech You to pour Your blessing upon every member of this family: those who are gathered here and those who are absent; those who are living and those who are dead. With confidence, we entrust them all to You. If, among them, there be any who have lost Your grace and grieved Your loving Heart by sin, with deepest sorrow we now desire to offer reparation and implore forgiveness for them.
We beg Your mercy and grace, also, for every family in the whole world. O Sacred Heart, shelter the cradle of the newborn babe; bless the child at school; guide the vocation of young men and women; sweeten the lot of the sufferer; support the aged; console the widow; be a Father to the orphan.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we entrust to You our own dear country and all those, who govern us.
O Jesus, source and infinite ocean of mercy, we beseech You assist us in the sufferings and agony of death. Unite us, then, still more closely to Your Heart and to the Heart of Your Immaculate Mother. Be our refuge and our place of rest; and when our souls have taken their flight to dwell for ever in Your Sacred Heart, may we see again in heaven every member of this family which we now so earnestly and unitedly desire to consecrate without reserve to You. Amen.
- This is the private act of consecration written by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque:
I consecrate and surrender to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person, my life, my difficulties and my sufferings, that I may henceforth live only for his love and glory. It is my firm and unwavering purpose to be his entirely, to do everything for his love and renounce wholeheartedly everything that could displease his divine Heart.
O Sacred Heart, I choose You as the sole object of my love, the protector of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the support of my weakness and the atoner for all the sins of my whole life. O mild and bountiful Heart, be likewise my refuge at the hour of death, my justification before God, and ward off from me the penalty of his just wrath. O loving Heart, I place my trust entirely in You. While I fear everything from my own malice, I hope everything from Your goodness. Destroy in me whatever may displease You or be opposed to You, and let Your pure love imprint You so deeply upon my heart that it will be impossible for me ever to forget You or be separated from You.
O Sacred Heart, by Your goodness, I implore You, let my name be deeply engraved in You, for in Your service and in Your love I will live and die.
- This one for religious was written by Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart (1863-1899 — her body is incorrupt), whose letter to Pope Leo XIII was the impetus for the consecration of the world to the Divine Heart. It can also be used by other people:
My most loving Jesus, I consecrate myself today anew and without reserve to Your divine Heart. I consecrate to You my body with all its senses, my soul with all its faculties: my whole being. I consecrate to You all my thoughts, words and actions; all my sufferings and labours; all my hopes, consolations and joys; and, above all, I consecrate to You my poor heart, that it may love only You and be consumed as a victim in the fire of Your love. Accept, O Jesus, my most loving spouse, the desire that I have to console Your divine Heart and to be Yours for ever. Possess me in such a manner that henceforward I may have no other liberty than that of loving You, no other life than that of suffering and dying for You.
I place in You unlimited trust and I hope, from Your infinite mercy, for the pardon of my sins. I place in Your hands all my cares, especially that of my eternal salvation. I promise to love and honour You to the last moment of my life, and to propagate, with the help of Your divine grace and as far as I am able, devotion to Your Sacred Heart. Dispose of me, O divine Heart of Jesus, according to Your pleasure; I desire no other recompense than Your greater glory and Your holy love.
Grant me the grace to find my dwelling place in Your Sacred Heart where I desire to pass every day of my life and where I wish to breathe my last breath. Make my heart Your abode, the place of Your repose, so that we may remain intimately united until, finally, I may praise, love, and possess You for all eternity, singing for ever the infinite mercy of Your Sacred Heart. Amen.
- This is the one taken from the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII of May 25, 1899 and contains the additions made by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in October 1925:
Most sweet Jesus, redeemer of the human race, look down upon us, humbly prostrate before Your altar. We are Yours and Yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with You, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Your most Sacred Heart. Many, indeed, have never known You while many others, despising Your precepts, have rejected You. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus and draw them to Your Sacred Heart. Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken You, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Be King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Your eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Your chosen people. Of old, they called down upon themselves the blood of the Saviour; may it now descend upon them, a layer of redemption and of life. Grant, O Lord, to Your Church, assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.
Art for this post on Consecration to the Sacred Heart: Partial Restoration of The Sacred Heart, Church of Nome di Gesù [Name of Jesus] in Venice, Lattanzio Querena, photographed by Didier Descouens, 30 May 2016 own work, copyright and released under a CCA-SA 4.0 International License not compatible with Facebook; Wikimedia Commons.