Have a Heart!

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By Chris Sparks

Each June, we celebrate the Sacred and the Immaculate Hearts on two separate feasts. But the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart always comes the Friday before the Saturday celebration of the Immaculate Heart.

Now, Fridays have been associated with our Lord and His Heart since Good Friday itself, since He was crucified and died at 3 p.m., the Hour of Great Mercy, before the start of the Sabbath. Around 3 p.m., our Lord's Heart was pierced by a lance when a Roman soldier (according to pious tradition, the future St. Longinus) made sure that Jesus had died. And Saturdays have been associated with Our Lady, her faith, and her sorrow ever since her vigil on Holy Saturday, awaiting the Resurrection.

More recently, of course, our Lord famously asked St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) to spread the First Fridays devotion, and Our Lady asked Sr. Lucia dos Santos (1907-2005) to tell the world of the First Saturdays devotion. In fact, the devotions to the Two Hearts have been proposed as the solution to the evils of our present age.

But why?

Well, on the simplest level, it's because Jesus is the one-word answer to every problem in the world, as Dr. Peter Kreeft has repeatedly said, and where Jesus goes, His mother also goes. The Catechism tells us:

The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw." The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose 
life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant. (Catechism, 2563)


So when we are devoted to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, we aren't just weirdly focusing on two organs, but rather on the two greatest human beings to have ever walked the planet, on two people who love us perfectly and purely, who are all powerful to help us, if only we ask and trust in the will of God.

Delving deeper, we are offered the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts both as our help and as our models because these are the models for human life. The New Adam and the New Eve reveal to us the human race's destiny and true dignity. Through Jesus and Mary, all graces flow. Divinity encounters creation, and from the Incarnation comes every grace and blessing. In the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, divine love dwells and is met by the fullness of human love, creaturely love.

Further, one of the defining problems of our present age is the separation of creation from the Creator. Our fellow citizens of the world look around and all too often think they see either a materialistic world, lacking any signs of a Creator, or believe in a world haunted by spirits, where (they think) magic is powerful and goodness does not reign. Secular atheism or pagan Gnosticism, the way of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, seem dominant today, and the way of supernatural faith, of the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the way of the tree of life that is the Cross and whose fruit is the Eucharist, is maligned or forgotten.

So continue to pray and ponder the teachings of the saints and the Church on these great gifts to us all. Make the First Friday and First Saturday devotions faithfully, trusting in Heaven's promises attached to them.

Visit TheDivineMercy.org to take part in the monthly First Friday and First Saturday devotions at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.

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