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Beginning when she was a teenager, and for several years, she experienced a near continuous vision of a bright moon with a dark line across it. Eventually she had a dream where the Lord explained to her that the moon represented the Church year with all its feasts and the line depicted the lack of such a special day that honored the Eucharist. Jesus asked Juliana to establish a feast day during which the faithful would adore the Blessed Sacrament, when they would seek pardon for the times they had distanced themselves from Jesus in the sacrament.

How three female saints promoted devotion to the Eucharist, Jesus’ heart and his mercy

She was uncertain that she could accomplish the task that Jesus commanded and, on several occasions, asked that the cause be given to someone else. For how could I do it? I am not worthy, Lord, to tell the world about something so noble and exalted. Walters, Vincent Corrigan and Peter T.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus | Amsterdam University Press

But Jesus had made his choice, and he would be with her, guide her and place others along the way to help. Juliana waited nearly 20 years, when she had been selected as the superior of her convent, to make her visions known. She delivered the secret to her confessor, Canon John of Lausanne, who, in turn, explained the visions to others outside the convent.

The reception was mixed, but one who believed Juliana and recognized the value in a feast day to honor the Eucharist was Robert de Thorete, bishop of Liege. He ordered such a feast within the Liege diocese to begin around Unfortunately, Bishop Thorete died before the feast was implemented, and it was not added to the diocesesan calendar.

The idea more or less was shelved; in fact, some argued that Holy Thursday was already the feast of the Eucharist, as that day celebrated the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus. But Holy Thursday is part of the Triduum, a sad period focused on the passion of Christ. It did not celebrate Jesus in the Eucharist.

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As God designed, at the time Juliana made known her visions, there was an archdeacon named Jacques Pantaleon in the Diocese of Liege who favored a feast day dedicated to Jesus. Jacques would become Pope Urban IV r. He issued a papal bull adding the feast to the universal Church calendar, but as was the case with Bishop Thorete, Urban died before the feast was instituted.


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It would be left to Popes Clement V r. In most of the world Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday and is a holy day of obligation; in the United States the solemnity is moved to Sunday. Over the centuries, and stemming from Juliana, we have many rituals and devotions during which we eagerly and publicly honor the Eucharist — for example, through processions such as those on the feast of Corpus Christi, and the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament Eucharistic adoration including Forty Hours of adoration.


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These rituals and special events draw us closer to Jesus. Of course, such activity is capped by receiving Jesus in holy Communion. Residents of Elche de la Sierra, Spain, cover the streets with alfombras de serrin carpets of sawdust using multi-colored sawdust to create elaborate street murals.

Wikimedia Commons. Eucharistic processions are held all around the world on the feast of Corpus Christi. Some traditions process the Blessed Sacrament from one house of worship to another. Others entail parishioners setting up altars in their front yards to display the monstrance.

Still, few traditions are as vibrant as those seen in some countries, such as Poland and Spain, where colorful carpets guide the procession route. In Spycimierz, Poland, a small village with a population of less than people, pilgrims and tourists flock every year to witness the flower carpets arranged for the feast of Corpus Christi. The path depicts Bible scenes, images of the Eucharist and the sacraments, and intricate designs all created from flower petals set upon beds of sand, leaves and grass. Following Mass on Corpus Christi, the Blessed Sacrament is led down this path, and many locals join in full traditional dress to celebrate the occasion.

This tradition has continued for more than years. Similarly, in Elche de la Sierra, near Albacete, Spain, residents cover the streets with alfombras de serrin carpets of sawdust during the early morning hours of Corpus Christi. Imitating the flower carpets from other parts of the world, a small group in started their own tradition of using multi-colored sawdust to create elaborate street murals. Over 50 years later, the entire district participates in a large festival, and though it has become a secular event, the Eucharistic procession is still a main part of the day.

Every liturgical year on the third Friday following the great feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The heart has always represented the whole person, and the heart of Jesus is the symbol of his eternal love for us. The solemnity is our opportunity to acknowledge his love and offer repentance for the times when we have ignored his affection. Saints, theologians, writers and individuals have long recognized the Sacred Heart as the source of endless blessings, mercy and love. But for centuries it was mostly a personal devotion.

In the 17th century, Catholicism was under attack from the spread of Protestantism and the heretical beliefs of Jansenism. The Jansenists, who were Catholics, claimed that only a chosen few people would reach heaven and that God was to be feared.

They degraded the humanity of Jesus, including his heart, and wanted the Church to return to rigorous penances of the past. Both Protestantism and Jansenism impacted the fervor the faithful had for many Church teachings, including devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus would confront this falling away through Sister Margaret Mary. Beginning in and over a period of more than 18 months, Sister Margaret Mary claimed to have received visions during which our Lord Jesus displayed his Sacred Heart as the symbol of his love for mankind and told Sister Margaret Mary that she was to be his instrument to spread a universal devotion to his divine heart.

According to Margaret Mary, Jesus told her that despite loving mankind so much that he gave his life for them, he was being treated with irreverence, coldness and ingratitude. He wanted the world to recognize the love he continually poured out for them symbolized by his Sacred Heart and for mankind to make amends for their ingratitude. In another vision, Jesus asked her to establish a Church feast day to honor his Sacred Heart, one to be held on the third Friday following Pentecost.

On that day, those faithful to Jesus would attend Mass, receive holy Communion, profess their love and offer reparations for the way he had been insulted by mankind.

History of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

These visions are the basis for the first Friday devotions and the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus we have today. When Margaret Mary first attempted to explain the visions, many around her were skeptical. It was St. Claude de la Colombiere, her spiritual adviser, who recognized the holiness, fervor and sincerity of Margaret Mary. Even when she was believed, as a cloistered nun there was little she could do to foster her visions outside of her order. Thus it was St.

Colombiere, along with St. John Eudes, who would continue promoting a Sacred Heart feast day to the faithful and to the Holy See. Pope Pius XII r. In our time, the devotion is celebrated every first Friday Mass, and the solemnity is part of the Church liturgical calendar. The devotion is acknowledged through numerous prayers and depicted in thousands of images, including the image of Our Lord holding his flaming compassionate and merciful heart.

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Many homes are consecrated to the Sacred Heart. Margaret Mary died in and was canonized in Some argue that, like in the 17th century, our fervor for the Sacred Heart is again waning today. Between and , a young nun named Sister Maria Faustina claimed to have experienced a series of visions, messages and conversations in which our Lord Jesus asked her to establish a devotion to his Divine Mercy. Helen Kowalska, Sr. When she was 20 she entered the convent and lived there her entire life. She began receiving messages and visions of Jesus soon thereafter. Her deep love of the Eucharist and love of the Blessed Mother were likely among the reasons Jesus chose her to share his message of mercy.

The messages imparted to Faustina were received during an era of growing unrest throughout Europe: economic disaster, Hitler and the Nazis were taking over Germany, as were Mussolini and the fascists in Italy.