Regarding devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Fr. John Hardon, S.J. tells us: “Two passages in Sacred Scripture are the revealed foundations for the Sacred Heart devotion. The first is Christ’s invitation to His followers, ‘Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.’ The second revealed foundation is Christ’s Sacred Heart being pierced on the cross by the soldier’s lance. From the very beginning, the followers of Christ were devoted to the Heart of Jesus.”
“We may say that devotion to the Sacred Heart began on Calvary. When the Heart of Christ was pierced on the Cross, it opened the door to realizing how deeply Jesus loves us. In return, He wants nothing more than for us to love Him with all our hearts. There is nothing that God wants more than for us to love Him without reserve.”
More from Fr. Hardon: How do we practice devotion to the Sacred Heart? The answer to this question is almost too obvious to express, but it is the most difficult task we have in our life. We are to love Him in the way He has been loving us and in the way He is presently loving us….
“How are we to return this love that Christ had for us and presently has for us? By totally and constantly conforming, submitting and surrendering our lives to Him. This is THE Sacrifice God wants of us during our lives – allowing Him to move our wills. God has given us a free will. Unless we had a free will, we could not love. God never coerces us but invites us to return our love for His selfless love of us. He invites us to do this by conforming, surrendering and sacrificing our wills to His. Not just by some will, but giving up our wills.
“What do I mean by ‘giving up’? I mean just that: giving up! We can give up with our hands, but even smile in doing it. Deep down inside we are still holding on. But we must give up our wills completely and unconditionally. In everything we do we must say, ‘Lord, I will do what You want me to do.’ ‘Not my will, but Yours.’ Every moment of our lives is a providential expression of God’s love for us, inviting us to respond no matter what the cost is to ourselves.
This novena prayer, which has also been called the Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was written by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) prayed it daily for all those who asked for his prayers, and the Sacred Heart blessed his simple prayers with thousands of miracles! We mustn’t view this prayer (or any other prayer) as a “candy dispenser,” but pray with sincerity and with trust that God will answer our prayers according to His will. (Another name for this novena is Padre Pio’s “Secret Weapon Prayer”!)
This novena can be prayed at any time, but an especially good time to pray this novena is on each of the nine days preceding the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, which is the Friday after Corpus Christi.
Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
I. O my Jesus, You have said, “Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Behold, I knock, I seek, and I ask for the grace of (here name your request). Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be… Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.
II. O my Jesus, You have said, “Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in My Name, He will give it to you.” Behold, in Your Name, I ask the Father for the grace of (here name your request). Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be… Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.
III. O my Jesus, You have said, “Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away.” Encouraged by Your infallible words, I now ask for the grace of (here name your request). Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be… Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours. Hail, Holy Queen… St. Joseph, pray for us.