The love of the Sacred Heart conquers all!
As the month of the Sacred Heart draws to a close, the reign of Christ the King, as manifested through the love of His Sacred Heart, has been made manifestly clear through the overturning of Roe v. Wade on the feast of the Sacred Heart. This monumental victory for the cause of life was delivered on such a feast by no accident. Now, as the Church moves gradually from the time devoted to the Sacred Heart to then dwelling on the Precious Blood of Our Lord in a few days, it is apt to revisit the words of Pope Pius XII in his 1956 encyclical Haurietis aquas – on devotion to the Sacred Heart.
The opening lines from his encyclical are ever timely, but perhaps especially more so in light of recent days:
“It is altogether impossible to enumerate the heavenly gifts which devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has poured out on the souls of the faithful, purifying them, offering them heavenly strength, rousing them to the attainment of all virtues. Therefore, recalling those wise words of the Apostle St. James, ‘Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights.’ We are perfectly justified in seeing in this same devotion, which flourishes with increasing fervor throughout the world, a gift without price which our divine Saviour the Incarnate Word, as the one Mediator of grace and truth between the heavenly Father and the human race imparted to the Church, His mystical Spouse, in recent centuries when she had to endure such trials and surmount so many difficulties.”
Indeed, underpinning the pro-life cause is the love of life, which has its origin ultimately in love of truth, of God Himself. For individuals to work and pray for an end to abortion is to exercise a form of that charity which is so essential to the spiritual life, and which – as Pope Pius writes – leads to love of the Sacred Heart:
“Holy Writ declares that between divine charity, which must burn in the souls of Christians, and the Holy Spirit, Who is certainly Love Itself, there exists the closest bond, which clearly shows all of us, venerable brethren, the intimate nature of that worship which must be paid to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. If we consider its special nature it is beyond question that this devotion is an act of religion of high order; it demands of us a complete and unreserved determination to devote and consecrate ourselves to the love of the divine Redeemer, Whose wounded Heart is its living token and symbol. It is equally clear, but at a higher level, that this same devotion provides us with a most powerful means of repaying the divine Lord by our own.”
Not pretending that the world had suddenly become perfect overnight – nor could such a statement be in any way made today – Pius XII nevertheless highlighted the importance of rendering thanks to God for each blessing received, which is a “gift of divine love.” The pontiff wrote:
“Therefore when We perceive so fruitful an abundance of healing waters, that is, heavenly gifts of divine love, issuing from the Sacred Heart of our Redeemer, spreading among countless children of the Catholic Church by the inspiration and action of the divine Spirit; We can only exhort you, venerable brethren, with fatherly affection to join Us in giving tribute of praise and heartfelt thanks to God, the Giver of all good gifts. We make Our own these words of the Apostle of the Gentiles: ‘Now to Him Who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations world without end. Amen’.”
Nor is this enough, as the Pope urged that in addition to thanking God for the blessings received, the Church must take time to dwell on, and come to love more, the Sacred Heart.
“But after We have paid Our debt of thanks to the Eternal God, We wish to urge on you and on all Our beloved children of the Church a more earnest consideration of those principles which take their origin from Scripture and the teaching of the Fathers and theologians and on which, as on solid foundations, the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus rests. We are absolutely convinced that not until we have made a profound study of the primary and loftier nature of this devotion with the aid of the light of the divinely revealed truth, can we rightly and fully appreciate its incomparable excellence and the inexhaustible abundance of its heavenly favors. Likewise by devout meditation and contemplation of the innumerable benefits produced from it, we will be able to celebrate worthily the completion of the first hundred years since the observance of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was extended to the Universal Church.”
As the fallout from the overturning of Roe v. Wade continues, it seems opportune to take this opportunity to thank the Sacred Heart for such a blessing, and continue to remain close to His Heart so that it might once more reign in the hearts of men throughout the world.