On June 1, 2008, at his weekly Angelus address, Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics "to renew, in this month of June, their devotion to the Heart of Jesus." The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a moveable feast, but it most often takes place in June, and thus June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart, as the Holy Father explained, is a symbol "of the Christian faith that is especially dear, to ordinary people as well as to mystics and theologians, because it expresses the 'good news' of love in a simple and authentic way, encapsulating the mystery of Incarnation and Redemption."
The Sacred Heart reminds us that Christ is not God simply appearing as man; He is truly man, just as He is truly God. As Pope Benedict put it, "From the boundless horizon of His love, God entered the limitations of history and of the human condition. He took a body and a heart so that we can contemplate and encounter the infinite in the finite, the invisible and ineffable Mystery in the human Heart of Jesus of Nazareth." In that encounter, we feel the presence of Christ's heart within our own.
We can follow Pope Benedict's example in renewing our devotion to the Sacred Heart by making use of these prayers for June, the month of the Sacred Heart. O Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
(Sacred Heart of Jesus statue next to right side altar in St. Mary's Oratory, Rockford, Illinois. Photo by Scott P. Richert.)