A New Ministry Springs Forth

A Reflection by Lynn Garro

Awhile back, the One Book, One Church ministry held a four-week study of Emily Jaminet’s 130-page book, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Twelve Ways to Claim Jesus’ Promises in Your Life. As you may or may not know, One Book, One Church offers parishioners a book study of a high-quality spiritual book four times a year to encourage community-building in a faith-sharing environment and to enhance parish life. And, oh my goodness, did this little book deliver, plus some!

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 478, 

Jesus has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, “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” without exception.

With the understanding that a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus leads us to a closer, more authentic love relationship with Jesus, (of which all the group unanimously agreed was our desire) we plowed into those 12 promises. 

Our amiable assembly learned that our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque between 1673-1675. She heard Jesus make 12 promises to those who would respond to the pleading of His Heart and do everything possible to return His love. Here are the promises:

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
  2. I will establish peace in their homes.
  3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
  4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
  5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
  9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.
  10. 10.I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened souls.
  11. 11.Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written upon my Heart.
  12. 12.I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Each week a lively discussion ensued of the different promises as we explored, pondered, and prayed each promise. We shared personal stories of how we felt Jesus was working in our lives through these promises, showed our own paintings of the Sacred Heart including the one printed in the book, and talked a great deal about the heavenly gift of peace and how elusive it can be. Every discussion encouraged our own personal devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus strengthening our relationships with Jesus to more intimacy, plus each of us felt a connection to the others in the group. We really liked and enjoyed one another’s company!

On the fourth and last day, our close band of devotees met again to finish our discussion of the book. We were a little sad our study was coming to an end, but once more we delved into the promises and felt the gifts of each. As we summed up our discussion of Promise #12, someone suggested we pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus after morning Mass on the next First Friday, which was only a few days away, and we have been doing so for almost a year now! If you attend morning Mass, and you happen to be there on the First Friday of the month, please feel free to join us in this meaningful devotion. Who knows if any of us has attended nine months consecutively, but we do know the peace we feel as we pray the litany, and we all can attest that our personal relationships with Jesus are stronger than when we began. Blessings abound!

Join us at St. Margaret Catholic Church after the 7:00AM daily Mass on the first Friday of each month to pray the Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.