The Basics of Devotion to the Sacred Heart

  1. THE most ancient special devotion of Christians is doubtless that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Son of God. The holy Sacraments and the other objects of devotion did not yet exist, when the Blessed Virgin Mary found her delight in worshiping the most Sweet Heart of her Jesus; already did Holy Joseph clap that Heart to his bosom; even then were the Shepherds and the Magi, Simeon and Anna, the Apostles and the Disciples attracted to It and by It: they longed to show to It the affection and love of their hearts. But after Jesus had called upon all men to learn, "that He is meek and humble of Heart;" after He had drawn from the treasury of His heart that best of all gifts, the Sacrament of the Most Blessed Eucharist; lastly, after He had willed that, upon the Cross, His Heart should be opened, and continue open, as a place of refuge for all; then was devotion to His Divine Heart wonderfully increased. The Apostles now spread it throughout the world as a special worship. Thenceforth, the Fathers of the Church themselves practiced it most tenderly, and commended it most carefully to others. The Saints of every after age became devoted disciples of the Heart of Jesus. But when came the fullness of time, at which He had decreed to pour forth all the riches of His Heart, the goodness and kindness of the Savior were made manifest, and Himself revealed His wish that, thereafter, this devotion should be a most especial one; since He declared and promised that He would lavish the abundance of His graces upon all who should consecrate themselves to the worship of His Heart.

  2. The object of this worship is the Heart Itself of Jesus. And since in Jesus Christ there are two natures, the Divine and the human, and only one person, the Divine Person; the Heart of Jesus Christ is the Heart of the Divine Person, the Heart of the Word Incarnate. And because the Divine Person is to be honored with the highest worship; the worship to be paid to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which can neither be separated nor taken away from the Divine Person, is likewise supreme. This is a Catholic truth, which has prevailed over all contrary errors.

  3. The end of this devotion is threefold. The first, to make Jesus a return for that boundless love, of which His Heart is the symbol, that made Him do so much and suffer so immeasurably for our sake; and induced Him to bestow upon us that sweetest and most precious of all gifts, the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The second, that, through the fervor of our piety, we may, as far as we can, make amends for all the insults which have been, or are even now offered to His most Sacred Heart, which He exhibits to us as the throne of His affections. The third, that imitating what we worship, we may be inspired with the same affections, the same sentiments that animated His Heart during His life of toil and suffering, and still animate It in His blissful and Sacramental life.

  4. From its antiquity, object, and manifold end, it is plain that this devotion is most excellent, most profitable, most solid, and most consoling. But since to imitate what we worship is the abridgment of religion, and since the other ends are contained and reduced to practice in a true Imitation; therefore, in order to insist on this Imitation, and, as far as it is allowed, to direct this little work is presented to all.

  5. This presentation, which contains a summary of Ascetic Theology, and embraces the doctrine, as well as the practice, of the spiritual and interior life, will supply ample matter for daily meditation, throughout the whole year. By using the text only page set up for printing, the reader will be enabled to keep each week's offering, and thus, repeat it every year, to examine it more closely, and press it more deeply on his mind and heart.

  6. For very weighty reasons, things are not proposed here in general and in common, as is usually done in works for meditation, but everything is laid down specially and in particular, both in regard to the evil to be avoided, and the good to be practiced. First, that the reader may not be left in uncertainty or beating the air, aiming and grasping at whatever presents itself by the way, and yet gain, or secure nothing. Secondly, that having assiduously before his eyes something determinate, he may direct his strength and efforts, as well in time of prayer and meditation as during self-examination and the performance of good works, to this, that he subdue what is to be subdued, that he acquire what is to be acquired. Lastly, that by destroying separately those things which are the causes, or, as it were, the roots of other evils, he may the more easily and the more efficaciously demolish the rest; and that, by learning and acquiring separately those capital virtues of which, in the lowliness and charity of His Heart, Jesus has given us the example, he may the more readily and the more certainly obtain all other virtues.
  7. What regards the manner of writing, although it is most true, that the testimony of Christ must not be announced in loftiness of speech or wisdom, since the kingdom of God consists not in speech but in virtue; yet, it seemed proper to attend carefully to two things: first, that the style should everywhere be suited to the subject; secondly, that the diction should be sufficiently pure.

  8. Finally, it must be observed, that the character of this little work is such, as to require, not that it should be read in public to others, but that every one, who desires to use it, may read it privately to himself alone. For its form, its reasoning demand that, in order to relish it, you should, in some manner, converse alone with Jesus, face to face, heart to heart.


  1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, nor has the heart of man conceived, what things I have prepared for them, that love and serve Me faithfully to the end. Who can portray for those who have not experienced it, what Heaven is,-----that blissful abode from which all ills are banished, in which there is an overflowing of all good things?

    No labor shall be there, no sorrow, no temptation. no danger: all these things have passed away with mortal life; they have given place to perfect rest, to endless joy, to a peace that cannot be disturbed, to a security that none can take away.

  2. There shall be neither cold, nor heat; neither inclemency, nor change of seasons; neither unpleasant days, nor gloomy nights. Those realms of bliss are illumined by My everlasting glory, softened by the Divine serenity of My countenance, enlivened by the infinite sweetness of My Heart so that everything smiles in the purest light, in the newness of a heavenly spring, for evermore.

    Blessed are they that dwell therein! They neither hunger, nor thirst; nor are they subject to aught that is unpleasant; nor shall they be weakened in vigor forever.

    There they are replenished and inebriated from the torrent of the delights of God; they flourish in perpetual youth, and, immortal, they shine brighter than the sun for all eternity.

  3. My Child, there thou shalt behold Me as I am, and gaze upon Me face to face, in the most entrancing splendors of My Majesty.

    There, by the intuition of My infinite perfections, thou shalt be rapt with admiration, and overflow with bliss; in the excess of thy joy thou shalt, of thy own accord, burst forth in boundless praises, and exaltation of My most lovely Attributes.

    Then also thou shalt understand the mysteries of faith, and the secrets of nature.

    All the science of philosophers is but ignorance, when compared with the knowledge possessed by the least of the Elect.

    Then shalt thou view all the display of My everlasting kingdom, its unbounded treasures, its ever enduring dignities.

    At the contemplation of a loveliness so varied, and so great, thou shalt be inflamed with an ineffable love for Me.

  4. Then, My Child, then, wilt thou love Me, in a perfect manner, without any division of thy affections, without remissness, without end.

    Now, thou art sometimes in trouble, because thou knowest not whether thou art worthy of love or of hatred: then, to thy unutterable joy, thou shalt know with certainty, that thou lovest Me, and wilt love Me forever; and that, in return, thou art loved, and shalt be loved by Me, throughout eternity. Then shalt thou repose on My Heart, with perfect security; and thou shalt taste how delightful it is, to love Me, and to melt away in My love.

    Thou shalt be inebriated with an exceeding great sweetness, and rapt above thyself; thou shalt swirl in an ocean of love, with the Angels and the Saints amid jubilant hymns of love, for evermore.

    Thus shalt thou spend ages, and while away eternity, ever wishing, and ever longing, to love; and, at the same time, ever sated, and ever blissful, with love; Then, at last, Child, shalt thou possess Me, and enjoy Me forever: which is the completing of beatitude.

    Thou shalt be wholly Mine, and I wilt be wholly thine: thou shalt enjoy Me, in a manner ever new, ever most delightful.

  5. In Me thou shalt possess every good, and have whatever thou canst wish or desire. Let thy mind conceive. if possible, how beautiful, how wonderful, how charming, all things are there: how rapturous to behold the glory and exquisite adornment of the heavens, to be present among the choirs of the Angels, to exult unceasingly with the Saints, to contemplate and love the most Blessed Virgin, the glorious Queen of the Heavenly kingdom; and, in return, to attract Her sweet looks, and gain Her love.

    What delightful dwellings, O My Child! what pleasant companionship! What charming beatitude and all to endure forever and ever!

    Behold, My Child, behold the exceeding great reward of those that serve Me with their whole heart. Can the world give such things? Or even promise them?

    Lift up thy eyes, therefore, and see what awaits thee, if thou art faithful to Me; even to the end. Be of good cheer, My Child; and as much as thou art able, with the Divine grace and thy own co-operation, cleanse thy heart and preserve it pure. For nothing defiled, be it ever so little, shall enter into Heaven.

    But the purer thou art here, the more glorious shalt thou be there; and the nearer to Me, and the dearer to My Heart.

  6. The voice of the Disciple.-----O Jesus, how blessed are they, that dwell in Heaven with Thee!

    O happy mortals they, who serve Thee with a clean heart! What ineffable beatitude shall they enjoy in eternity! yea, who is more happy than they, even in time!

    O bliss-creating service of Jesus, which gains such a reward! thou renderest easy and pleasant all things, that lead to so great a glory and blessedness.

    O most sweet Jesus, bid me do, bid me suffer, for Thy sake, whatever Thou wilt: willingly and gladly do I embrace everything, that I may please Thee in time, and possess Thee in eternity. By Thy most Sacred Heart, do I entreat Thee, lead me safe, through whatever way Thou mayst choose, into Thy kingdom; that, with the Angels and Saints, I may behold Thee, love Thee, enjoy Thee, for evermore. Amen.

Fr. Peter J. Arnoudt, SJ,
with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat, 1904, TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS.