Pope Pius XI wrote that the Sacred Heart devotion was the “sum of all religion” and provided a key to living a life of holiness.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is not something new in the Church. It has existed in various forms since the very beginning of Christianity.
It is a beautiful devotion that unites our hearts with Jesus’ Heart, making us willing and ready to participate in his mission of compassion in the world.
When reflecting on this devotion in his encyclical, Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI wrote that it provided a succinct summary of the entire spiritual life.
“For is not the sum of all religion and therefore the pattern of more perfect life, contained in that most auspicious sign and in the form of piety that follows from [devotion to the Sacred Heart] inasmuch as it more readily leads the minds of [all] to an intimate knowledge of Christ Our Lord, and more efficaciously moves their hearts to love him more vehemently and to imitate him more closely?”
Pius XI explains in this passage how this devotion leads the faithful to an “intimate knowledge” and “love” of Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, Pius XI notes elsewhere in his encyclical how “the creature’s love should be given in return for the love of the Creator.”
As members of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network [Apostleship of Prayer], we affirm this fundamental truth in our Way of the Heart. In the First Step we recognize how, “His love is unconditional and notwithstanding. It is the principle and the foundation of our spiritual way. Our life starts by his love, is sustained by it, and one day will be received by that love. To acknowledge his love gives us the chance to love him in return.”
As we gaze upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus, may we be inflamed by his love for us and return that love through the Daily Offering of our lives.
Philip Kosloski is the Digital Content Manager for the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (USA) and is also a spirituality writer for Aleteia.org and has been featured on such places as The Huffington Post, Crisis Magazine, The Catholic Herald, Catholic Exchange, National Catholic Register and EWTN Radio.