Cardinal Collins: Rediscover the ‘treasure’ of the Sacred Heart devotion this month

Despite being so rooted in intellectual truth, the love of Christ’s Sacred Heart should also move us to practical action, he said. 

Christian social justice needs a foundation in the spiritual wisdom of the Sacred Heart devotion, for a shadow side of the passion for justice can be an abstract and generalized concern for justice for humanity, forgetting the individual. The Sacred Heart devotion is a corrective to that: we are called to serve the cause of justice for all by recognizing the dignity of each individual, each person loved as Jesus loves, fully, warmly, and one at a time.”

“Intellect and action without relational love are fruitless, and can be destructive, but in devotion to the Sacred Heart intellect, affectivity, and will are harmoniously joined: head, heart, and hands. The Sacred Heart symbolizes the personal love of Jesus for each of us, and we respond with an intense personal love for Jesus, and a commitment to show to others by our actions the love Jesus shows to us.”

The Christ we encounter in devotion and meditation on the Sacred Heart is the “real” Christ, Cardinal Collins said. 

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“Accept no substitutes, no false ‘Jesus’ of my imagination, who is a nice person who never challenges me but who smiles in approval of whatever I want to do. Especially in the midst of our struggles, we need to meet Jesus himself, our Lord and our God, who calls us to repentance, and challenges us to embrace the life of holiness shown in the Sermon on the Mount, but who also calls us to be not only servants but friends.”

“People have come to reject the idea that we do not own our own lives, but that we are entrusted with life by God,” Cardinal Collins said, referencing a pervasive “proud autonomy” that interferes with many people’s capacity for self-giving love. 

“Although the exaltation of autonomy is the root of many if not most of the evils we face in these days, its very sterility provides an occasion for divine grace and an impetus to conversion….to seek another way of life that is more fruitful, represented by the love for others symbolized by the Sacred Heart.”

The Sacred Heart is not representative of a “sentimental” love, Cardinal Collins warned, because it represents a love founded on objective truth, and on true repentance. 

“Sentimental Christianity, which consists of a warm pleasant emotion detached from a concern for the objective truth of the Gospel call to repentance and holiness, can cause people to replace the life-changing challenge of our faith with a cult of niceness. Such sentimentality is an illusion, and there is no future in that.”

Cardinal Collins noted that the Sacred Heart is celebrated in a special way during the month of June, and also every Friday of the year. 

In order to foster devotion to the Sacred Heart, Cardinal Collins recommended taking time daily for a holy hour; reading part of the Gospels daily; participating in Mass whenever possible; and placing an image of the Sacred Heart in one’s home, and if possible in one’s parish church.

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