Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, loves us so much that He died on the cross for us. “‘…[T]he Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation (cf. Jn. 19:34), ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that … love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ (Haurietis Aquas) without exception” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #478).
In Our Lord’s revelations to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century, He said: “Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love. In return, I receive from the greater part [of humanity] only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love” [Holy Communion]. It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of the Blessed Sacrament, be appropriated to a special feast to honor My Heart by receiving Communion on that day, and making reparation for the indignity that It [My Heart] has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of My Love on all who will render It this honor or will obtain My Heart being given this honor.”
Reparation is part of the wonderful devotion to the Most Sacred Heart. Every time we sin, we offend our dear Lord, who loves us more than we can imagine.
In an article about devotion to the Sacred Heart, Kathleen Beckman explains reparation: “‘True devotion to the Sacred Heart depends on a proper understanding of reparation, an old theological term that is related to atonement, expiation, salvation, and redemption’ writes Fr. Kubicki.
“In his Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI wrote, ‘God cannot simply ignore man’s disobedience and all the evil of history; He cannot treat it as if it were inconsequential or meaningless. Such “mercy” would be that “cheap grace” to which Bonhoeffer rightly objected in the face of the appalling evil encountered in his day.’
“Christ paid the debt of sinners. Sin continues. Believers can unite with Christ’s reparation and offer up our sufferings and sacrifices to help repair. Devotion to the Sacred Heart helps us to enter Christ’s reparative love. Thus, we reclaim territory, robbing the devil of so many souls that he’d carry to the abyss.”
One way we can make reparation is by prayer. This beautiful prayer of reparation was written by Pope Pius XI; it is at the end of his encyclical “On Reparation to the Sacred Heart” (Miserentissimus Redemptor), which was issued in 1928.
Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence, and contempt, behold us prostrate before You, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which Your loving Heart is everywhere subjected. Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Your pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow you, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their Baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Your law.
We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against You; we are determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in indecent dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holy days, and for the shocking blasphemies uttered against You and your Saints.
We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Your Vicar on earth and Your priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of Your divine love, and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which You have founded. Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood.
We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Your divine honor, the satisfaction You once made to Your Eternal Father on the cross and which You continue to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Your Virgin Mother and all the saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Your grace, for all neglect of Your great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past.
Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending You and to bring as many as possible to follow You.
O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to You, that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit You live and reign, forever and ever.