The Heart of the Priest Abides in the Heart of Jesus

As you know, the entire month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus! The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is always the Friday after the Corpus Christi and so this year Fri., June 7, is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Saturday following is always the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (June 8). It would be lovely to have a “Sacred Heart Altar,” in one’s home, with an image of the Sacred Heart and flowers throughout the month. On that day I, along with a good number of our priests, will be on retreat at the Mercy Center in St. Louis, MO. In one sense, it is regrettable because it will not allow for a good number of our parishes to celebrate Holy Mass on that beautiful Solemnity. But, on the other hand, how nice to be on retreat with priests, who each day are drawn into the mystery of the Heart of Jesus. Let us celebrate the Sacred Heart for the entire month of June.

Saint John Vianney, the Patron Saint of Parish Priests, said, “The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus.” In John 15:9, all members of the Church are invited, “to remain in His love.” But for the ordained clergy, the Eucharist becomes the way to remain and cultivate a love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Maybe that is why of the 12 promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, there is one specifically addressed to priests, promise 10: “I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.” As the heart of the priest abides in the Heart of Jesus, a priest’s heart can touch the hearts of the most hardened sinners, especially in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. The mercy extended in Reconciliation is an extension of the merciful, Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. Because of that promise, every priest should have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As a reminder, we celebrate this year the 350th anniversary of the revelation of the Sacred Heart. I encourage you to make a pilgrimage this summer to our 12 churches named in honor of the Sacred Heart. As we look to the future, I hope to have every parish school celebrate the First Friday in September, Sept. 6, the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart, as a special opportunity to pray for vocations. At that time, we hope to distribute to every student in our schools and PSR classes a badge of the Sacred Heart: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine.”

With the summer days upon us, I remind everyone—you can take a vacation but you cannot take a vacation from God. And why would we? There are no good reasons to miss Holy Mass while traveling. Whether traveling in another country or throughout the US, one can simply Google, “Roman Catholic Church near me,” and you can find a Catholic Church along the way. It was “on the way” that Our Risen Lord began to walk with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The two realized that their hearts were burning as Jesus explained the Scriptures to them, and it was “on the way” that he broke bread with them. Then, they realized who he was and Our Lord then disappeared from their sight. Look upon your vacation as an opportunity to experience Our Lord in Holy Mass “on the way” of your vacation.

With the Solemnity of Pentecost, we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and bring the Easter Season to conclusion. As we enter “Ordinary Time,” the two Sundays following Pentecost are very special, the Solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity, May 26 and Corpus Christi, June 2. Of special note is the Monday after Pentecost, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. While not a new feast, Pope Francis decreed the feast in order that we might grow in our piety and love of Our Lady.

I imagine that every Bishop, every priest will say that as we enter “Ordinary Time,” there is nothing ordinary about it. We are called to live the fullness of the life of Christ which is actually “extraordinary.” So, let us do our part to live an extraordinary life, a full and rich sacramental life, and let’s not fall behind during the summer.

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.”

Published in the May 24, 2024 issue of The Mirror.
Photo Credit: Getty Images