Sacred Heart

Various months of the year have different themes or devotions. June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (May, incidentally, is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I blew it in not talking about it. I’ll make up for it over time. This blog is still new and wobbly.)

The Sacred Heart of Jesus has special significance to sober alcoholics, especially to those who are familiar with AA. If you know your AA history, back in its early days one of the co-founders of the movement, Dr. Bob Smith, was greatly assisted in his treatment of alcoholics by a Catholic nun by the name of Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin, an administrator of St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio. After an alcoholic completed his stay at the hospital, Sister Ignatia would “award” him with a Sacred Heart Badge, sort of a “graduation” gift, I suppose. This eventually developed into the practice of AA’s recieving medallions or coins representing whatever sobriety anniversary they were celebrating. This is detailed in the book Sister Ignatia: Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2nd Ed., by Mary C. Darrah; Hazelden Pittman Archives Press; 2001 (ISBN 1-56838-746-6. Probably available through Amazon, or Hazelden)

Anyway, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the oldest and most Catholic of devotions, next to the rosary. Quite simply it is a devotion concerning a person’s healing and also reparation for sins committed against Jesus.

The “Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” illustrates the nature and meaning of the devotion. A litany is a Catholic prayer in which an individual prayerfully repeats various titles or invocations of God, Mary, or a Saint. The idea is that it will “tune” your heart and mind to the virtues of the prayer.

Litany of the Sacred Heart

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in the Father was well pleased, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of everlasting life, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke you, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, obedient to death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation for those who trust in you, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in you, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
R. Make our own heats like yours,

Let us pray. Almighty and eternal God, look upon the heart of Your most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which he offers You in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Your mercy, in Your great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with Your forever and ever. Amen.

(Thanks to the Sacred Heart website.)

Say the prayer slowly and meditatively. Think about each of the invocations (the parts immediately before “have mercy on us”) and ponder their meaning to you. Allow them to help you grow spiritually.

The Sacred Heart is about Love.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"