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Sacred Heart of Jesus #114795
12/01/03 06:16 PM
12/01/03 06:16 PM
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Canada
Orthodox Catholic Offline OP
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Dear Friends,

Could someone please explain the theology behind the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

The devotion to the Sacred Hearts has an historical presence in the lives of Eastern Catholics.

There is a view today that such is not in keeping with Eastern theology and spirituality.

Your comments?

Alex

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114796
12/01/03 06:29 PM
12/01/03 06:29 PM
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Columbus, Ohio
Sharon Mech Offline
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Alex,

If my rusty old memory is working, the devotion to the Sacred Heart originated with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. I'm kinda in a bit of a rush, and my books are home & I'm not, but you should be able to find a bazillion hits on the topic using any search engine.

Best,

Sharon

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114797
12/01/03 06:41 PM
12/01/03 06:41 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
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somewhere betwixt the Alpha an...
ebed melech Offline
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Just a quickie -

Ratzinger wrote an excellent work that is now out of print called "Behold the Pierced One". It has been ten years since I read it, but as I recall, he explores some of the Patristic roots of devotion to the heart of Christ.

I'll look for my copy later and share some of his insights.

To me, separated from the rank sentimentalism that you sometimes see associated with Sacred Heart devotions in the West, the Eastern/Patristic concept of the heart as innermost center of the person and the locus of communion with God opens up many new insights into Christology and spirituality. (I sometimes bring that connection into my own practice of the Jesus prayer - where heart speaks to heart.)

Also, let's not forget the Johannine roots of such a devotion.

Perhaps the greater issue tends to be in the use of the image of the Sacred Heart in Western (and sometimes Eastern) iconography. Some perceive the integration of what amounts to be a private revelation into a liturgical icon is anathema. Of course, one could also argue that the Feast of Holy Protection represents one of the greatest private revelations to be codified in the Eastern Calendar and iconographical canons.

Those are my initial thoughts for what it's worth.

Peace -

Gordo, sfo

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114798
12/01/03 06:41 PM
12/01/03 06:41 PM
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Dear Alex,

In a word, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is about Our Lord's unreasonable love for mankind (ok, 6 words).

Hear's what EWTN's Q&A says in response to a Protestant charging that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is "blasphemous":

The Sacred Heart is a symbol of what Jesus is at the core. Core, by the way comes from the Latin for heart. At His core, at that which is the very essence of who Jesus is--is infinite love. The thorns and the wound are symbols as well. Now what would the thorns be a symbol of? The crown on thorns? Correct! What is blashemous about the crown of thorns which Jesus willingly endured because of His love for us? Such a symbol is a sign of His love. It doesn't sound blasphemous to me! Same for the wound.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P

I am speaking from the Western Church tradition.

Best regards,

Paul

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114799
12/01/03 06:46 PM
12/01/03 06:46 PM
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Southern San Joaquin Valley, C...
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Tammy Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:

There is a view today that such is not in keeping with Eastern theology and spirituality.
It really irks me when East and West can't seem to accept each other's revelations. You'd think we worshipped a different deity or something. "Oh, EC's can't pray the rosary, it's Western." "Yes they can, they started it and the Western Rite stole it." Come on, we all venerate Mary; who cares who got the Rosary first? We can all pray it.

Same thing here. Who cares if the Sacred Heart of Jesus was a revelation to a Latin Rite saint? What, if the revelation isn't to an EC/Orthodox person, it isn't valid???

I'm not of Hebrew background. Does that mean I shouldn't read the Gospel of Matthew or the Epistle to the Hebrews? And EC's shouldn't read the book of Romans!

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114800
12/01/03 07:32 PM
12/01/03 07:32 PM
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somewhere betwixt the Alpha an...
ebed melech Offline
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Tammy -

I think in one sense you are correct. As Catholics in particular (and as Christians in general) we should regard all devotions of East and West to be part of our joint heritage. Certainly, crossfertilization of spiritual practices has a long and fruitful history - particularly in the first thousand years. (Thomas Merton has a wonderful quote that I can't locate right now - it has to do with the idea of reconciling all worlds within himself...does anyone know that quote?)

At the same time, I think that in order to fully appreciate the full and rich spiritual heritage that is ours as members of the EC, we should avoid being too eclectic with our devotional practices. Prayer devotions are born out of a particular theological vision and liturgical/ecclesiastical ethos. One runs the risk of creating unecessary spiritual dissonance within ourselves by adopting practices that were created outside of our spiritual context.

Of course, it's easy to become too narrow and too much of a "purist" in this regard, and sometimes creative tension can be very fruitful, spiritually speaking. That is the joy of discernment!

Just my two cents...

Peace -

Gordo, sfo

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114801
12/01/03 08:05 PM
12/01/03 08:05 PM
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Bonaventure Offline
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Alex,

The only real theology behind the Sacred Heart devotion is the infinite and immeasurable love that Jesus has for us. Just read St. Margaret Mary, St. Gertrude, or Sister Josefa Menendez (the way of divine love).

Frankly I think it is sad when some want to get rid of this devotion or try to stop others from praticing it because it is "not eastern". Theosis is the goal of our life here and this devotion has helped many to become much closer with our beloved Saviour.

Of course sappy sentimentalism should always be avoided. I would recommend the above mentioned book"The Way of Divine Love" about Sister Josefa. Our Lord let the devil punish and torment Sister Josefa very much and He also revealed His how His heart burns for souls to her. No sentimentalism here......

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114802
12/01/03 08:12 PM
12/01/03 08:12 PM
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Southern San Joaquin Valley, C...
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Tammy Offline
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Gordo -
I understand where you are coming from. When I asked my Latin Rite priest for guidance on the subject of prayer, he only confused me all the more. My personal "style" of prayer doesn't fit the Western Rite classifications of meditative, contemplative, etc. So when the priest tried to put my prayer style in a Western category, he said I was in the early stages of meditative prayer. He tried to give me advice on how to grow in meditative prayer, but my prayer life actually suffered because I couldn't do what he was talking about. frown By the time I figured out that I was trying to put a square peg in a round hole, I was so convoluted that I had a hard time figuring out how to fix it! (Actually, it isn't "fixed" yet!) confused

But that's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I need to be more careful to select a spiritual director who can help me mix Eastern and Western devotions without creating a a mess for myself! (Anyone out there interested in that job? biggrin )

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114803
12/01/03 09:18 PM
12/01/03 09:18 PM
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Illinois, USA
Hesychios Offline
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Greetings all,

I agree that all Catholics of the east and west should respect each others legitimate devotions whether they understand them or not. I could see some value in imaging the Sacred Heart as a devotion, much like praying before a crucifex.

For the benefit of those who have never heard of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, as promoted by St Mary Alacoque I post the promises here.
Quote

Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Of the many promises Our Lord Jesus Christ
did reveal to Saint Margaret Mary in favor of souls
devoted to His Sacred Heart the principal ones are as follows:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
9. I will bless those places wherein the image of
My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall
have their names eternally written in my Heart.
12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour
I was sure there were other promises, I remember a longer list, but I no longer have anything about it.

I do not particularly understand the real value of communing nine consecutive first Fridays. The concept is alien to me. It reminds me of those televangelist promises "just touch the TV screen" give oneself to Jesus and be assured of salvation. Like a "get out of jail free" card.

We don't get guarantees that strong with Confirmation.

Since the promises are post-Apostolic private revelation I consider that all Catholics are free accept or reject them as they see fit. I hope that those individuals that find value in it continue to do so, but I am not surprised the devotion has come under criticism.

In Christ
Michael

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114804
12/01/03 09:38 PM
12/01/03 09:38 PM
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New Mexico USA
paromer Offline
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Hello Michael,

Your post is informative.

The part about nine consecutive First Fridays has to do with the Latin word "novena" or nine.

The Apostles stayed in the upper room the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost in prayer with Mary, Mother of God, as the Lord commanded them to do. The tradition of praying for some cause for nine days comes from this New Testament practice. The nine consecutive First Fridays to receive Holy Communion is adapted from the novena prayer practice.

Paul

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114805
12/02/03 01:17 AM
12/02/03 01:17 AM
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Illinois
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Lawrence Offline
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Alex

Though the revelations weren't given to St Margaret Mary until the 17th century, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (based on the piercing of Christ's side) existed as far back as the 11th century. Like the similarly related Immaculate Heart of Mary (also found in Scripture, St Luke 2:35) Jesus' Sacred Heart is never worshipped apart from his entire person.

From my own personal perspective, when I look upon a Crucifix, I meditate first and foremost upon the great agonies Our Saviour endured on our behalf. When I look upon the manger or Infant Jesus of Prague, I meditate upon the reasons for Our Saviour's entering this fallen world, and when I look upon the Sacred Heart, I meditate upon the burning love that Our Saviour has for each of us.

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114806
12/02/03 02:23 AM
12/02/03 02:23 AM
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Illinois, USA
Hesychios Offline
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Dear Paul,
Thank you for pointing out that the nine first Fridays represent a novena of sorts, that makes more sense.

Dear Lawrence,
I love the way you have expressed your devotional practice as thoughtful meditation. It very closely matches my own lifelong meditative devotions.

I have no problem with the imagery whatsoever and I find it hard to believe that the imagery is what people are critical of. This is how I have always perceived the devotion to the Sacred Heart and the others you mentioned.

But I cannot reconcile myself to those promises, which I believe in some ways go too far, and reflect a certain way of thinking appropriate to another time.

Michael

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114807
12/02/03 02:36 AM
12/02/03 02:36 AM
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Blessed Basil Hopko was healed of an illness after having made a novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

From the Byzantine Leaflet Series #41:

"As the young Hopko was getting ready for his journey abroad he became sick and had to undergo several operations. In his Memoirs Bishop Hopko writes: "Having spent all my travelling money on doctors and hospitals, I gave up the hope of seeing my mother again. At that time I did not realize that it was God's holy will to keep me in my native land."

He ascribed his unexpected recovery to a "miracle" that resulted from his Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, He promised Jesus that if he would be cured, he would receive Holy Orders in celibacy. He was ordained priest by Bishop Paul P. Gojdich, O.S.B.M. on February 3, 1929."

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114808
12/02/03 04:27 AM
12/02/03 04:27 AM
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manila, philippines
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Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Friends,

Could someone please explain the theology behind the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

The devotion to the Sacred Hearts has an historical presence in the lives of Eastern Catholics.

There is a view today that such is not in keeping with Eastern theology and spirituality.

Your comments?

Alex
Hi Alex,
Here is a link from the site of Gerard Serafin:
http://praiseofglory.com/easternheart.htm

I just like to add that the Feast of the Sacred Heart was instituted not primarily because of the visions that St. Mary Margaret Alacoque received at Paray le Monial. The Church instituted the feast to counteract the heresy of Jansenism. DEvotion to the Sacred Heart predates the vision of St. Mary Margaret. It can be see in the writings of St. Gertrude the Great and St. mechtilde (both Benedictine nuns).

Re: Sacred Heart of Jesus #114809
12/02/03 08:35 AM
12/02/03 08:35 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
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Knoxville, TN
Dave Wells Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by CaelumJR:
Of course, it's easy to become too narrow and too much of a "purist" in this regard, and sometimes creative tension can be very fruitful, spiritually speaking. That is the joy of discernment!

Just my two cents...

Peace -

Gordo, sfo
Gordo,

Just out of curiosity, what does the "sfo" stand for behind your name? Would it happen to be "Secular Franciscan Order"?

Dave

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