Where did the Sacred Heart Devotion come from?

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a well-known devotion among Catholics. The image is easily recognizable—a heart encircled by a crown of thorns, topped with flames of love and mercy, and above that, the holy cross. But where did this devotion come from, and how did it begin?

Devotion to the Sacred Heart can be seen throughout the centuries as saints and ordinary Christians contemplated the wounds of Christ and His great love for us. But it wasn’t until the eleventh or twelfth century that we start to see the devotion referred to by name.

“Through these sacred wounds, we can see the secret of his heart, the great mystery of love, the sincerity of his mercy with which he visited us from on high.” – St. Bernard of Clairvaux, approx. 1130 AD

But the saint most strongly connected to the Sacred Herat devotion is St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Between the years 1673 and 1675, our Lord appeared several times to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a humble French nun, and spoke to her about His Sacred Heart. From these revelations come the First Friday devotion and the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus—both requested by Christ in His apparitions.

In the nineteenth century, Pope Pius IX added the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the Universal Church Calendar, which we continue to celebrate on the Friday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost.

The Sacred Heart Devotion is, understandably, quite popular. Jesus told St. Margaret Mary of twelve promises He makes to those who have fervent devotion to His Sacred Heart, and they include all the graces necessary for one’s state in life, blessings on one’s family, comfort from afflictions, protections at the hour of death, and mercy.

But did you know that Christ has promised, “I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored”? If you don’t have an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home, now is the time! And if you do, two won’t hurt! Our families need all the graces and blessings we can get.

This week, August 15-19, is the Relevant Radio Summer Pledge Drive. In our work to bring the Good News of Christ to the world 24/7, 365 days a year, we need your support! You can make a difference in the lives of so many who desperately need to hear the message of Christ’s love and mercy.

This week only, when you make a generous gift of $100 a month ($1200 a year) to support the life-giving work of Relevant Radio, you will receive a gorgeous Sacred and Immaculate Hearts Keepsake Box as our thank you. This beautiful wooden box is handcrafted in the USA and the lid features a stunning image of the Sacred Heart, while the underside of the lid carries an image of the Immaculate Heart. We know this image will bless your home. Dimensions: 4″W x 6″D x 2″H

To donate, click HERE!  Thank you for supporting Relevant Radio with your generous donations and prayers!

“Announce it and let it be announced to the whole world, that I set neither limit nor measure to my gifts of grace, for those who seek them in my Heart.” – Christ’s revelation to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.