Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Mother Alphonse Marie
and Her Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus 
For Mother Alphonse Marie, the Sacred Heart of Jesus was an extraordinary expression of Jesus’ love, God’s love for humans. The Immaculate Heart of Mary was, for her, a refuge from the snares of the world, as well as the mediation of God’s grace
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the last years weakens. Many people consider the image, litany and other prayers, songs, etc. of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, too sweet, trashy and emotional. Even the thought of repentance, which is associated with devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is not fit for many.
The heart is more touchy feelings than the mind. Therefore, the symbol of heart possibly does not express true feelings and all words with great meaning – heart, love, and “God” – tend to be diminished and abused.

The heart is, probably in all cultures, an expression for man’s interior. In many cases, a heart is an expression for a person, is innermost feelings and emotions, for thinking, and existence. The heart is crucial for understanding. This is expressed by unaccountable words and phrases. If anyone says: ”I lost my heart in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, etc.“, it is sure he would not find it in “Lost-and-found”.

If someone is “broken hearted” by loosing loved ones, the cardiologist cannot help in this case. If someone “has poured his heart” to a friend, the friend doesn’t need a bucket to catch it but he has to be “open heart”. “The heart has reasons but the mind doesn’t have ideas.“
In the Bible, the heart is not only the seat of emotions but also the seat of understanding, will and decisions. The heart is the innermost of the man is essentials. The Psalms speak about heart often. “He says in his heart” (Ps 10:11); “Therefore my heart is glad” (Ps 16:9); “Though you test my heart” (Ps 17:3); “My heart exults in the Lord” (1 Sam 2:1).
When Samuel was sent by God to anoint David as king, God said to him: “Man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart“ (1 Sam 16:7). In the Letter to the Ephesians the author asks: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened by God…” (Eph 1:18). (This thought poet Saint-Exupéry formed: “With the heart, one can see rightly.”) Jesus is “grieved at their hardness of heart” (Mk 3:5), found in many other places in the Bible.
The Bible says even about the Heart of God. It is written very nicely in the eleventh chapter of the Prophet Hosea. The Prophet leaves God to speak about His love to Israel and hardened hearts of people, and He, their God, had to destroy the nation because of their infidelity. Then God says: “My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.“ (Hos 11:8). The heart of God is more merciful than justice!
God has heart for His people. Thus, this Heart is called Jesus. His compassion for us asks God not destroy us, we shall lest perish, but to save us. Even at the cost of His own Son! God gives Himself to Jesus in death. The death of Jesus, therefore, is the fulfillment of God’s love. The love that is given to great lengths. In his dying Jesus bore all the sufferings and sins of the whole world. He bore it all with the ability of love and the suffering of His Heart. Jesus’ death is the highlight (or deepest point – as could also be explained) God’s love for us (Jesus descends in the biggest depth). John, in his Gospel, says that the soldier pierced the side of Jesus (the word ‘heart’ in not here but understood). From the open side of Jesus and the wounded Heart of Jesus spurt blood and water; from there comes salvation to people.
Mother Alphonse Marie, unceasingly, meditated on Jesus’ suffering. Not because the suffering was something good, but rather due to the fact that through it revealed in Jesus, the great love of God. Love taking all the pain and the Heart that bears the suffering.
Mother Alphonse Marie venerated the Heart of Jesus, the fount of love. Characteristically for her was her esteem not emotion or self-centered, but, practical. It is written in the First Rule  “Only the soul that burned with love for God’s suffering and abandoned humanity, tested by the fire of suffering, could take place the idea of such a rendition of work.” This is how the Sisters should act.

Spiritual Director Bernhard Weber