The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart |
by Father Joseph McDonnell, S.J.
Reprinted with permission of Catholic Family News, see Editor's Notes below.
The Eleventh Promise:
"To those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced." *
First Point: Those who propagate this devotion (to the Sacred Heart)
What an honor, what a happiness, to be of the number of those who, whether as Promoters of the Apostleship of Prayer or in whatsoever other capacity, are devoted to the glorious task of propagating devotion to the Sacred Heart! Who can adequately describe the graces and blessings they are drawing down upon themselves and on their life and labors from the royal bounty of the King of kings. Listen to the words of Blessed Margaret Mary on this subject: "Oh! what a happiness is ours, how deeply we are indebted to this Divine Heart for vouchsafing to make use of us in the carrying out of this great design (the propagation of devotion to the Sacred Heart)! He has unspeakable treasures in store for those who, according to the opportunities He gives them, devote themselves to this great object" And again: "How happy are those who cooperate in making the loving Heart of Jesus known, loved and honored; they thus secure for themselves the everlasting benediction of this Immortal Lover of our hearts." (Letter 35). "Yes, in Heaven Jesus will form to Himself a crown of His dearest friends who, when on earth, shall have procured for Him the greatest honor. He will place them, like so many shining stars, around His Heart." (Letter 73). And she wrote to a former superior who was very zealous for the propagation of this devotion:
"I assure you I cannot but think with the greatest pleasure of the ardent zeal that the Sacred Heart has inspired you with to make It known and loved. Oh! how great a favor He has bestowed on you! Continue to use your very utmost endeavors, to procure Him honor, love, and glory. In all this I see a wonderful proof of His love for you." (Letter 70). Is it to be wondered at, in fine, that Blessed Margaret Mary should again and again assert that "those who are truly devout to the Sacred Heart will never be lost." (Letters 32,33, 48, 53, etc.).
O Jesus! prostrate here before Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, I most solemnly and with all the earnestness and fervor I am capable of, dedicate and consecrate my whole being, all that I have and all that I am, to the everlasting love and service of Thy Sacred Heart. Vouchsafe, in Thy loving goodness, to accept this offering in the odor of sweetness. Make me wholly and irrevocably thine. May I henceforth be Thine instrument, however worthless and unworthy, in the great work of promoting the devotion to Thy Sacred Heart. Only grant me the crowning grace of perseverance in Thy glorious service to the end. Amen.
2nd Point - Shall have their name written in My Heart
To have our names "written in the Heart of Christ" appears to convey at least an initial promise of salvation, or, to use the phrase of St. Thomas, a predestination to grace; which, if we persevere to the end, will become a predestination to glory.
To have a person's name engraven on one's heart is a metaphorical way of saying that that person is exceedingly beloved. "Put me as a seal upon thy heart" (Cant. 8: 6) is the mystical expression of the book of Canticles to denote the extraordinary love existing between Christ and His Church. Such a mode of speech suggests a very constant and affectionate remembrance of the object beloved.
To predicate such a wonderful love on the part of Our Lord for His creature is worthy of the infinite goodness of the Savior. No effort on our part would assuredly be too great to win such a marvelous favor with Christ, Jesus at the Last Supper told His Apostles that He would no longer call them servants but friends. He treats the apostles of His Sacred Heart with even greater distribution: their names, He tells them, are written in His Heart, in everlasting remembrance: "Remember me," said the thief on the cross to the dying Savior beside him, and lo! on the spot his name was written deep in the Sacred Heart for eternity.
O Jesus! may my name thus be written in Thy Divine Heart. Enable me by my earnest and persevering efforts in promoting this devotion to have my name written deep in Thy Heart. Fill me with zeal for Thy interests, with an ardent longing for Thy glory, that my greatest desire may ever be to spend myself, body and soul, in Thy service.
3rd Point - And it shall never be effaced
This is the most consoling and wonderful part of this Promise. It is a sort of prelude to the marvelous Promise that follows the Twelfth or Great Promise of the Sacred Heart. It seems to place the fervent clients and apostles of the Sacred Heart among those of whom St. Paul says, "Whom He foreknew He also predestinated to be made comformable to the image of His Son" (Romans 7: 29). It seems hard to imagine a clearer or more definitive promise of life everlasting than is contained in these words.
There are, indeed, certain privileged souls to whom God has given such unmistakable signs of His love and of their predeliction to Heavenly glory that they would be grossly wanting in confidence in God if they entertained serious doubts of being saved. Among these, marks devotion to the Sacred Heart holds a prominent place. "If I am not mistaken," writes Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, He has promised me that no one who is truly devout to the Sacred Heart will ever be lost" (Letter 32). The effect of devotion to the Heart of Jesus is to bring about in the soul that resemblance to Christ of which St. Paul speaks in the text I have cited above, and resemblance to Christ is predestination to glory.
Most loving Heart of Jesus, inspire me with a strong and efficacious will to spread on all sides a tender devotion to Thee. Permit me to consecrate my life, in an especial manner to Thy service, that thus my name may be written in Thee, and so to persevere that it may never be effaced. Amen.
"As it appears to me, He showed me how very many persons have their names written in His Heart, by reason of their desire to bring others to honor Him, and how for that reason He will never allow their names to be effaced from His Divine Heart." Letter 34 to Mother Greyfie, vol. 11, p. 70.
"I feel myself completely lost in this Divine Heart ... wherein He discloses treasures of love and of grace reserved for those who devote themselves to rendering and procuring for Him all the honor, love and glory in their power. But so great are these treasures [elsewhere she calls them endless blessings] that I find it quite impossible to give adequate expression to their value." - Letter 82 to Mother de Saumaise, vol. 11, p. 158.
"The Sacred Heart has made known to me that the desire that He has to be known, loved and honored by men is so excessive that He promises to all who consecrate and dedicate themselves to Him, in order to give Him pleasure, that He will never allow them to perish, that He will be their assured refuge against all the snares of their enemies, that He will receive them lovingly into His Heart, making their salvation sure." - Letter 100 to Pere Croiset, S.F., August 10, 1689.
For the List of Promises given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, see Twelve Promises
EDITOR'S NOTES: Since this site is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we are presenting the Meditations and Commentary first written by Father Joseph McDonnell, S.J. during the pontificate of Pope Saint Pius X. We have received the gracious permission of John Vennari, editor of Catholic Family News to reprint the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart in The DAILY CATHOLIC. We urge you to subscribe to John's excellent monthly publication for only $25 a year by calling 1-905-871-6292 or e-mail them at CFN.
The book by Fr. McDonnell has been a favorite of countless Catholics over the decades, and CFN gives it the highest praise, "especially because of the author's erudition in weaving solid doctrinal considerations into his spiritual commentaries. The work is as much a catechism as it is a book of meditations. It continually instructs and uplifts. We pray this series serves as an incentive for more people to practice the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus." We echo our 'Amen' to that and thank John and his publication for allowing us to publish this outstanding work in installments each issue. The one in this issue is reprinted from the November 2002 issue of Catholic Family News.
For all installments, see www.DailyCatholic.org/2002pro.htm Archives.
Early Summer Hiatus Issue
volume 14, no. 30
THE TWELVE PROMISES OF THE SACRED HEART