Q: Archbishop J, how do we celebrate June?
June has great celebrations for us Catholics. It is the month of Holy Trinity, the Sacred Heart, Corpus Christi. And then there is the Feast of the Uganda Martyrs, and the Apostles, Peter and Paul. In the major solemnities this month, the Church is speaking to the very nature of God as Trinity and the nature of Jesus and His Body and His Sacred Heart.
June is a month to fire the Catholic imagination and to recognise how great is this God who created us and calls us to be His body—Corpus Christi. As Christ’s Body, we must have a heart like the heart of Christ—broken and open to the whole world.
There is an ongoing attempt to replace our Catholic festivals with secular ones. Many people now will not wish you ‘Merry Christmas’ but rather ‘Happy Holidays’. June has been claimed for other celebrations; for us Catholics, June is the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
In 1673, Jesus appeared to St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690), a member of the Visitation Sisters. He asked for devotions to the Sacred Heart in the month of June. In a revelation to St Margaret, Jesus said:
Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love; and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in [the Blessed Sacrament] this Sacrament of Love. Therefore, I ask of you that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special Feast to honour My Heart…I promise you that My Heart shall expand Itself to shed in abundance the influence of Its Divine Love upon those who shall thus honour It and cause It to be honoured.
If there was callousness in the hearts of people in the 17th century, I believe our hearts have become more indifferent and insensitive because of all that we are exposed to.
Consider the current plight of humanity: about 40.3 million people live in slavery. In Trinidad, hundreds of migrant children are denied access to education which is a fundamental human right.
Look at the high murder rate and the violence in our nation. Listen to the way we speak to each other through the media, in the streets and in parliament. In so many ways, our callousness has grown. How much we need a heart like Jesus’, open and broken to love all humanity.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus seeks to draw the disciple to the boundless love of Jesus, who lived and died for us, holding back nothing, but giving everything out of love for us and for our salvation.
So often we see Christianity as duty and rules and obligation. This is far from the truth. At the epicentre of Catholicism is this pulsating heart, giving itself fully for you and for me, a heart that is inviting us to become lovers and to be transformed into love.
When we see Christianity from the key of love, everything changes. Our prayer is not obligation but immersion into love; our ministry is our response to this tremendous love. The Mass becomes our encounter with love itself.
Eucharistic Adoration is spending one hour with Him as He invited His disciples on the night before He died. To encounter this love—to experience it in every part of our being—is to be transformed into love.
What did Jesus ask of us?
There are eight ways that we are called to respond to this divine love.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart: for the salvation of souls, the reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians, I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
Lord Jesus Christ, today I renew my dedication to your Sacred Heart.
I remember your love for me.
I pledge my love in return, placing you at the centre of my heart and my family.
I wish to live my life in union with you and to share in your mission of love to all.
Lord, accept this dedication and keep me always in your Sacred Heart. Amen
All the prayers and devotions could be found on this site: https://carmelitesistersocd.com/devotion-to-the-sacred-heart-of-jesus/
Jesus made 12 promises to those who would participate in this devotion:
June is the month of the Sacred Heart which is the month of mercy.
All families, schools and parishes should participate fully in the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
John 20: 26–29