June 7-9, 2002
volume 13, no. 106

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.
Part Twelve

Meditation on the Sixth Promise:
"Sinners Shall Find in My Heart the Source and Infinite Ocean of Mercy."

1st Point

Mercy of the Creator


    God has shown great mercy as Our Creator, in calling us forth from the abyss of nothing. He has chosen us out of an infinity of possible beings, to create us to His own glorious image and likeness, and to place us at the very summit of His vast creation, "little less than the Angels," making us the lords and rulers of this beautiful world of ours, with all its marvelous and varied wonders of the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal creation. For this act of mercy we owe Him endless thanks. Our being and all we have, both in body and soul, are His, arid should be unceasingly and unreservedly devoted to His service.

    And not merely has He thus created us, but, furthermore, He has raised us to a supernatural destiny, namely, to be with Him in His Heavenly Home, as courtiers round His Kingly Throne for all eternity.

    And when we fell away from Him and lost our Heavenly birthright by the fall of our First Parents, instead of casting us from Him forever, He has sent His Son from Heaven above to live and suffer and die on this ungrateful earth for our redemption, and thus restore to us far more than we possessed before. What endless gratitude we owe to God as our Creator for these three incomparable benefits of creation, supernatural elevation, and redemption.

Affections and Petitions

        My Lord, my God and my Creator! from the bottom of my heart I give Thee thanks for Thy great mercy. All that I have and all that I am are Thine. To Thee do I restore them, Keep me from offending Thee again. Give me but Thy grace and Thy love. Fill me with the most unbounded confidence in Thee: Thou art my Father and Thou lovest me with infinitely more than any father's love. Oh, keep me true to Thee, let me never fall away from Thee, and bring me, in Thy boundless mercy, to the glory of Thy everlasting Home above. Amen.

2nd Point

The Mercy of the Redeemer


    Of all the wonderful works of God, there is none in which His mercy so conspicuously and marvelously shines forth as in the Redemption of the human race. The Redeemer is, as it were, God's mercy incarnate, walking here amongst us. The Redemption is the immortal drama of God's mercy, the tragedy of His relentless love. As a tiny, helpless Infant trembling in His straw-spread manger; as the Man-God leading a sequestered life for our instruction, forgotten and ignored, for thirty years, amid the wilds of Nazareth; as the toiling Savior of the world, preaching, teaching, healing, praying, winning souls to God, throughout His three years' life of missionary work; as the Victim of our expiation in the cruel sufferings of His Passion and Death ------Christ Jesus, the Redeemer, is the incarnation of God's boundless mercy, the hope, the strength, the comfort of poor fallen, sinful man. Assuredly we may well cry out with the Psalmist, "With the Lord there is mercy: and with Him plentiful redemption." [Ps. 129: 7], or with St. Paul, "Where sin abounded grace did more abound." [Rom. 5: 20]

Affections and Petitions

        O Jesus, my Redeemer! remember Thou hast come "not to call the just but sinners" to repentance. To Thy Heart I turn, as to an infinite ocean of mercy wherein Thou wilt "cleanse me yet more from my iniquities and wash me from my sins." To the infinite merits of Thy Passion and Death I look with most entire confidence for pardon. Thou wilt wash me in Thy Precious Blood. Through Thy Sacraments, and most of all through those of Penance and the Eucharist, and of Extreme Unction on my bed of death, Thou wilt communicate to me the priceless graces of Redemption------graces that will carry me unharmed through the dangers of this world of sin, that will support and comfort me in death, and bring me to the crowning mercy of eternal life. Amen.

3rd Point

The Mercy of the Sacred Heart


    Mercy, as we have seen, springs from charity or love, and is scarcely distinguishable from it. Now the love of Jesus has its center in His Sacred Heart, which, at least morally speaking, is looked on as the seat of the affections. Hence the mercy of the Redeemer may be specially attributed to His Divine Heart. It was that Heart of love that prompted all the endless acts of tender mercy that were so marked a characteristic of Our Lord's career on earth.

    And still more in His Eucharistic life upon our altars, the Heart of Jesus is the source and well-spring of His boundless mercy. It is in truth "the source and infinite ocean of mercy" to which sinners may at all times have recourse with most absolute confidence that their cry of heartfelt repentance will be heard and win them pardon. "How powerful," writes Saint Margaret Mary, is the Divine Heart, to appease the anger of Divine Justice, which the multitude of our offenses has aroused . . . It turns aside the rigors of God's justice, by placing Itself between it and sinners, and thus obtaining for them mercy." [Letter 110] And again she writes in another letter, "The Sacred Heart seeks to re-establish Its reign in our midst, only in order to grant us more abundantly Its greatest mercies and Its richest graces of sanctification and salvation." [Letter 95]

Affections and Petitions

        O Heart of Jesus, full of tenderest love and mercy for repentant sinners, let us turn to Thee as to an infinite ocean of mercy, for the pardon of our many and most heinous sins. No matter how unworthy we may be of pardon, no matter how hardened or ungrateful, we are always sure to find in the Wound of Thy Sacred Heart an ever flowing fountain of repentance and forgiveness. Stand between us and the justice of our Heavenly Father, that in Thee and through Thee we may find in life, in death, and at Thy judgment seat, the mercy Thou hast purchased for us with Thy Life-Blood on the Hill of Calvary. Amen.

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 $20 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 January 2001 issue of Catholic Family News.

For past installments of the Archives of The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart, see

For the List of Promises given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, see Twelve Promises

Friday-Sunday, June 7-9, 2002
volume 13, no. 106
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