Sacred Heart (of Jesus), Feast of The

Sacred Heart (Of Jesus), Feast Of The, a festival of comparatively modern institution in the Roman Catholic Church, and for a time the subject of much controversy among Roman Catholics themselves. Its origin is traced to a vision recorded of a French nun of the Order of the Visitation, named Mary Margaret Alacoque, who lived at Paray-le-Monial, in Burgundy, in the latter half of the 17th century, and whose enthusiasm led her to practice a special devotion to the heart of the Saviour. This devotion was gradually propagated in France, and at length was approved by pope Clement XII in 1732 and 1736, and by Clement XIII in 1765. The festival is held on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.

This festival has for its principal object to excite in the hearts of those who celebrate it a feeling of love to Jesus. It has doubtless given origin to the societies of cognate title. The instructions to these for each day in the week are peculiar. Thus:

" Sunday. — Yon will enter into the opened heart of Jesus as into a furnace of love, there to purify yourself from all stains contracted during the week, and to destroy the life of sin, that you may live the life of pure love, which will transform all into itself. This day will be dedicated to a special homage to the blessed Trinity.

"Monday. — You will look on yourself as a criminal, who desires to appease his judge by sorrow for his sins, and who is ready to make satisfaction to his justice. Yon will enter in spirit into the heart of Jesus, in order to enclose yourself in that prison of love.

"Tuesday. — You will enter into the heart of Jesus as into a school, in which you are one of his disciples, In this school is learned the science of the saints, the science of pure love, which makes us forget all worldly sciences.

"Wednesday. — You will enter into the heart of Jesus as a passenger into a ship.

"Thursday. — You will enter into the heart of Jesus Christ as a friend who is invited to the feast of his friend. On this day you will perform all your actions in the spirit of love.

"Friday. — You will contemplate Jesus on the cross as a tender mother, who has brought you forth in his heart, with inexpressible pailis; you will repose in his arms as a child in the arms of its mother.

"Saturday. — You will offer yourself to the heart of Jesus as a victim coming up to the temple to be immolated and led before the sacrificer."

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