The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, seventy-five years after the death of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque to whom Christ appeared and revealed His Sacred Heart as a symbol of His love for mankind. In 1794, Pope Pius VI issued a decree approving the devotion and granting indulgences to those who practice it.
On June 11, 1899, in what he referred to as “the great act” of his pontificate, Pope Leo XIII solemnly consecrated all mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Consider what some other Popes have said about the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of its very nature, is a worship of the love with which God, through Jesus, loved us, and at the same time, an exercise of our own love by which we are related to God and to other men.
– Pope Pius XII
The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
In order that favors may flow in greater abundance on all Christians, even on the whole human race, from the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, let the faithful see to it that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God be closely joined to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus … It is, then, entirely fitting that the Christian people — who received the divine life from Christ through Mary — after they have paid their debt of honor to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, should also offer to the most loving Heart of their heavenly mother the corresponding acts of piety, affection, gratitude and expiation.
– Pope Pius XII
Vatican II and the Sacred Heart
“This therefore seems to us to be the most suitable ideal: that devotion to the Sacred Heart … now reflourish daily more and more. Let it be esteemed by all as an acceptable form of true piety, which in our times, especially because of the norms laid down by the Second Vatican Council, must be rendered to Christ Jesus, the King and Center of all hearts … We especially desire … that through a more intense participation in the august Sacrament of the altar, a greater devotion be given to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose outstanding gift is the Eucharist.”
– Pope Paul VI
The Sacred Heart and the Family
Always keep your eyes on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, King and Center of all hearts. From him you will learn the great lesson of love, goodness, of sacrifice, of piety, so necessary for every Christian family. From him you will obtain strength, serenity, authentic and profound happiness for your married life! You will draw down his blessing, if the image of his Heart — besides being impressed on your mind — is always exposed and honored on the wall of your home!
– Pope John Paul the Great
The Sacred Heart and Suffering
In this month of June, consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is natural and a pleasure for me to exhort you to recall to your minds your hope and your prayer to the Heart “which has loved men so much” and which continues to love us with his twofold love, divine and human, especially those who are more troubled, tearful and suffering. From the Heart of Christ, “full of goodness and love”, you can obtain strength and comfort in your sufferings, peace in your heart and merit in all your pains!
– Pope John Paul the Great
Devotion to the Sacred Heart and Love
In the Sacred Heart, “we can recognize in an ever clearer way the limitless love God has for us.”
“The pierced side of the Redeemer, is the source from which … we must draw in order to achieve a true knowledge of Jesus, … understand what it means to know the love of God in Jesus Christ, experience it fixing our gaze on Him, live completely on that experience of His love, and bear witness of it to others.”
“This mystery of God’s love for us, not only constitutes the content of veneration and devotion for the Heart of Jesus, it is, in the same way, the content of all true Christian spirituality and devotion. … In fact, being Christian is only possible with our gaze fixed on the cross of our Redeemer.”
“Faith, understood as the fruit of the experience of God’s love, is a grace, a gift of God. … Whoever accepts God’s love within himself, is formed by it. The experience of God’s love is lived by man as a ‘call’ to which he must respond. … The gifts received from [Jesus’] open side, from which ‘blood and water’ flowed, ensure that our lives become for others a source from which ‘shall flow rivers of living water.’ The experience of love we gain through veneration for the pierced side of the Redeemer, safeguards us from the risk of closing in on ourselves, and makes us open to a life lived for others.”
– Pope Benedict XVI