Fr. Dehon’s Meditations on the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

June is the month of the Sacred Heart. The Feast of the Sacred Heart is a moveable feast. It is celebrated on the first Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi. This year 2020 it will be celebrated on June 19. Among many different religious practices during this month is singing or reciting the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sometimes we do this without giving too much attention to the content and meaning of each invocation. In this connection, the Priests of the Sacred Heart would like to invite you to meditate on it together with Fr. Leo Dehon, the founder of the Congregation dedicated to the Divine Heart of Jesus.

The meditations are taken from the following address: http://dehoniansusa.org/feature-stories/meditations-on-the-litany-of-the-sacred-heart-of-jesus/ and supplied with the biblical references.

June 1
Heart of Jesus, Son of the eternal Father

(cf. Mt 16:16)

 The contemplation of God’s love for humanity is easy.  We live in the midst of the prodigious benefits of his love, for the greatest sign of God’s love for us is the gift of his only begotten Son.

The Life of Love towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 30th Meditation

June 2
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother

(cf. Lk 1: 31-35)

The incarnation is a work of divine love, for love is the special attribute of the person of the Holy Spirit.  It was fitting, then, that the Incarnation, the major work destined to achieve the sanctification of humanity, was an action proper to the Holy Spirit.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 2

June 3
Heart of Jesus, one with the eternal Word

(cf. Jn 1:14; Col. 2:9)

The Heart of Jesus is of flesh, but it lives.  Human love makes it beat; divine love fills it, thanks to its hypostatic union with the Word of God.  It is in this Heart that mercy and truth have met, that justice and peace have embraced; it is the place of the eternal kiss between God and humanity.

Crowns of Love for the Sacred Heart, Volume I, 1st Mystery, 3rd Meditation

June 4
Heart of Jesus, infinite in majesty

(cf. Mk. 14:62; Mt. 24:30; Rev. 11:15-17; 14:14; 19:1-2; 20:11)

 The Heart of Jesus participates in the majesty of the most holy Trinity.  The three divine persons have the same power, wisdom, goodness, spirit, will, and Heart.  From there comes the fact that our Savior, as God, has only one and the same Heart with the Father and the Holy Spirit; and as man, his Heart, humanly divine and divinely human, is but one also with the Heart of the Father and the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Trinity lives and reigns in all its majesty in the Heart of Jesus.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 4

June 5
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God

(cf. Jn 2:19-21; Heb. 10:9-10:1; 1 Cor. 6:19)

Let us pray in this sanctuary of petition, for all great causes, for the Church, for the just and for sinners, for the living and the dead.  Prayer here is all-powerful because it is united to the supplications of Jesus the Savior, and always welcomed with favor by his divine Father.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 5

June 6
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High

(cf. Heb. 9:11-12)

The Heart of Jesus is living in the tabernacle of our altars.  His Heart is there itself as a more intimate tabernacle, like the Holy of Holies.  Our spirit can penetrate into this delectable tabernacle by thought and unite itself to the actions of Jesus’ Heart, to the adoration and reparation he offers to his Father, to the prayers he addresses to Him, to his feelings of horror for sin, of love for purity, for humility, for gentleness and charity.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 6

June 7
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven

(cf. Jn. 10:9)

This house of God is the wedding house of our souls and the place of our repose.  This house of God is also a retreat and a shelter in temptation and difficulty.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 7

June 8
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity

(cf. Lk. 12:49; 22:15)

The Heart of Jesus is all-loving.  Oh! if we could understand the love which burns for us in the Heart of Jesus!  He has so loved us, that if all people, all angels, and all saints gathered all the love of which they are capable, it wouldn’t amount to even one thousandth of the love Jesus has for us.  He loves us immensely more than we love ourselves.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 8

June 9
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love

(Cf. Act. 10:38; Mt. 5:6; 3:15; 19:17; Jn 15:12-13)

The Heart of Jesus loved me and his love for me made him choose the poverty of Bethlehem, the labors of Nazareth, and the fatigue of the apostolate.  He loved me and his love for me made him find bearable the sufferings of his passion and death.  He loved me and has given me his body and blood in the Eucharist.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 10

June 10
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues

(cf. Col. 1:15-19)

What is it then to be lost in the chasm of the Heart of Jesus?  It’s being united to God in love, whose sanctuary is this Heart.  It is arriving at the sight of nothing other than Jesus in all and everywhere, through the intimate working of grace and our will.  It’s always choosing his spirit, his manner of seeing and appreciating things.  To be lost in the chasm of the Heart of Jesus is to appropriate the sentiments and affections of this adorable Heart—living his divine life.

 Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 11

June 11
Heart of Jesus, worthy of all praise

(cf. Phil. 2:9-10; Rev 5:9)

The desire to praise God, which holy benevolence excites in our hearts, is insatiable; for the soul who is touched by it would have infinite praises to give to his Beloved, because he sees that his perfections are more than infinite.  Finding himself far removed from being able to satisfy his wish, he makes efforts of extreme affection in some way to praise this all laudable bounty.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 12

June 12
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts

(cf. Eph. 3:19; Isa. 8:5-7; Zech. 9:9; Lk. 1:31-33; Mt. 28:18; Heb. 2; Rev. 1:5; 19:16)

Ever since our redemption has taken place, God the Father has given us his Son as our king.  Jesus has truly merited this, he purchased this kingdom at the great cost of Calvary.  We owe our life of grace to him, we belong to him.  Therefore, he has the right to reign over our hearts and over our entire life, and this is what he wants.  He wants his spirit, his ways of seeing, his ideas, his feelings, his ways of acting to reign in us.  He wants his divine Heart to reign over our hearts.  Let us give ourselves to him, because this is his right.  We should not be afraid; his yoke is gentle and his burden is light.  He rewards those who serve him with the peace and grace of his Heart in this world, and later with the joys of heaven in eternal union with him.

The Retreat with the Sacred Heart, 25th Meditation

June 13
Heart of Jesus, treasure-house of wisdom and knowledge

(cf. Rom. 11:33; Col. 2:2-3; 1Cor. 1:18.30; 2:7.8.12; 7:24-25)

The Heart of Jesus teaches us the infinite perfection of God and the admirable virtues of the Word Incarnate.  The justice and mercy of God explode in the mystery of the Incarnation.  Christ’s humility and detachment from earthly things are manifested in his birth at Bethlehem.  His tenderness, his obedience, his love of work and his spirit of order and prayer shine above all in his hidden life of Nazareth.  His generosity and zeal adorn his public life.  His patience, his devotion and his horror for sin shine brightly in his Passion.  The love of Jesus is the secret of all these mysteries.  Thus, the Heart of Jesus is the source of all the illumination we need.  It is the ever-open book which contains all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 14

June 14
Heart of Jesus, in whom there dwells the fullness of God

(cf. Mt. 3:17; 17:5; Lk .3:22)

As God is called the Ocean of Being, the Heart of Jesus could be called the Ocean of Grace; it is the meeting point of all graces, as the ocean is the meeting point of all waters.  And these immense waters are within him, with their energetic voices, their admirable forces, their astonishing power, and their inexhaustible fertility.  Ocean divine, ocean of life, the divine waves which you toss over this world bring it only fertility and peace.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 15

June 15
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased

(Cf. Mt.3:17; 17:5; Mk. 1:11; Lk. 3:22; 2 Pet. 1:17)

The Heart of Jesus is the object of the Heavenly Father’s delight, not only because it is the Heart of his beloved Son, the Heart adorned with all perfections of the Incarnate Word, but also because God the Father receives in the fullest measure from this Heart all that he waits for from his creation: adoration, praise, thanksgiving, offerings, and honorable reparation.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 16

June 16
Heart of Jesus, from whose fullness we have all received

(cf. Jn. 1:14.16; 15:11; 16:24; Eph. 3:19)

The fullness of light and graces of the Heart of Jesus is poured out upon souls in the measure to which they are disposed to it.  It is a sun which darts forth its rays; a spring that overflows.  Like the sun, the Heart of Jesus is destined to shine on the whole universe and to bring saving light everywhere, even to the most hidden recesses of souls.  The Heart of Jesus is also like a spring which empties its plenitude upon us.  Its mysterious waters give energy and health to the soul.  They make it grow in supernatural life and the ways of perfection.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 17

June 17
Heart of Jesus, desire of the eternal hills

(cf. Gen. 49:25-26)

It seems that physical nature itself had desired and waited for the Messiah, because he was the restorer of all things.  But one can also take the “hills” to mean eminent individuals, like the patriarchs and prophets who have so desired the coming of the Savior.  The saints of the Old Testament wanted to see the Savior, not only for their own salvation, but to be able to praise, adore, and love him.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 18

June 18
Heart of Jesus, patient and filled with mercy

(cf. Ps. 144:8; Heb. 7:25; Mt. 5:7; 18:21-22)

The Heart of Jesus speaks of this mercy when he depicted himself in the guise of the father filled with bounty who, in spite of the rejection of his son, doesn’t know how to resist him when he sees him coming in repentance, but who embraces him tenderly, and forgets all the injuries he has received from him.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 19

June 19
Heart of Jesus, generous to all who turn to you

(cf. Isa. 12:3; Ps. 35:10; Jn. 4:14; 7:38; 1Cor. 10:4)

We find in the Heart of Jesus all the benefits and graces that we have received, such as redemption, the call to faith, illumination, forgiveness of our sins, the help to resist temptation, and patience in adversity.  Let us always have confidence in his inexhaustible generosity because our confidence rests not on our merits, but on the infinite bounty of the divine Heart.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 20

June 20
Heart of Jesus, atonement for our sins

(cf. 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:7; Rom. 3:25; Isa. 53:6)

Yes, my Savior, you have shown me that you loved me with all the power of your Heart when you endured the mockery, the outrages, the blows, the crown of thorns, the nails, the cross, and the lance for me!  Yes, you have revealed all the force of your love for me when you suffered being betrayed, bound, beaten, bruised, treated like a buffoon, and condemned to death in order to purchase holy and eternal life for us.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 22

June 21
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with insults

(cf. Mt. 27:27-30; Jn. 18:30.39-40; 19:2-3.5-6)

One cannot doubt that the Savior has undergone sufferings and an incomparably broken heart. He has been crushed even more by the greater intensity of his feelings of compassion, he who saw not only the actions of people, but who probes their thoughts as well.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 23

June 22
Heart of Jesus, broken for our sins

(cf. Isa. 53:5)

Words are powerless to describe the sufferings of the Passion of our Savior.  There was not a word, not a step, not a detail of this drama, which did not strike at the deepest sentiments of his Heart.  Justice, truth, gentleness, pity, modesty, gratitude, respect, everything that he loved was trodden underfoot.  It was all this which broke his soul, while his body was torn by whips and pierced by nails.  The three hours of the crucifixion were hours of his supreme sorrow.  He was deprived of everything, betrayed by his friends, abandoned by his Father.  His whole body was but one wound and he gave his life for us.

The Life of Love towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 12th Meditation

June 23
Heart of Jesus, obedient even to death

(cf. Phil. 2:8; Heb. 10:9; Ps. 39:8-9)

It is on the cross that the obedience of the Sacred Heart presents its most sublime manifestation because it is here that the eternal Father asks the greatest sacrifice of his Son.  It was in return for this supreme obedience on Calvary that his Father accorded him the salvation of the human race.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 25

June 24
Heart of Jesus, pierced by a lance

(cf. Jn. 19:34.37; Zech. 12:10; Rev. 1:7)

The lance opened the human Heart so that we would know the wound of his spiritual Heart, of his love, which has been the instrument of our salvation and our redemption.  The wounded Heart of Jesus signifies that it was for love of us, and only out of love, that Jesus accomplished all he did: living in our midst, dying for us, and still living for us in heaven and in the holy Eucharist.

Crowns of Love for the Sacred Heart, Volume II, 5th Mystery, 1st Meditation

June 25
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation

(cf. Mt. 11:28; Jn. 14:16; 2 Cor. 7:3-5; Phil. 2:1-11)

“Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.”  With these words, our Lord himself has shown his Heart as the source of peace and consolation.  Come to the school of my Heart, Jesus tells us, and meditate on the dispositions of my Heart.  You will see that humility and gentleness are its main characteristics.  If you imitate this humility and this gentleness you will have found the secret of peace.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 27

June 26
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection

(cf. Jn. 10:28; 11:25; 20:31; 6:47.51; 1Cor. 15:12.20.21.23; 2Cor. 4:11; 1 Jn. 5:11.13.20)

Through baptism, Christians become members of Jesus Christ.  They are like a new branch grafted onto the divine trunk.  As a result, they must live the life of Christ and consider themselves as another Jesus Christ.  Each Christian should say with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 28

June 27
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation

(cf. Eph. 2:14-16; Lk. 7:50; Jn. 14:27; Acts 10:36; Rom. 5:1.10.11; GaI. 1:3; Col. 3:15; 1Thes. 3:16; Phil. 4:7; 2Cor. 5:18-19)

The immense love that the Sacred Heart of Jesus holds for the sinner would make Jesus the Lamb of God, who bears all the sins of the world; the Good Shepherd, who runs after the lost sheep; the father of the family, who joyfully receives a repentant prodigal.  The work of this love is eternal.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 29

June 28
Heart of Jesus, salvation of all who trust in you

(cf. Acts 2:21; 4:10.12; 13:26.47; Lk. 19:10; Rom. 5:9-17)

 It is our Lord’s love for us which inspired the entire Passion.  His agony is particularly the Passion of his Heart.  His love is especially manifested in it.  His love led him to suffer everything, even to die joyfully for us.

The Life of Love towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 7th Meditation

June 29
Heart of Jesus, hope of all who die in you

(cf. Jn. 11:25-26; Acts 7:55.56; Rom. 8:11; 1Thes. 4:13.16; Rev. 14:13)

It is above all, at the solemn and decisive moment of death that the favors of the Heart of Jesus make themselves felt.  He has said that, in general, the people devoted to his Heart will find in this adorable Heart a place of refuge during their life and especially at the hour of death.  What a precious promise!  Let us really conform our wills to that of our Lord, let us surrender the reins of our souls to him.  He will direct our life.  He will give us the kiss of peace in Extreme Unction and will lead us to heaven.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 32

June 30
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints

(cf. Heb. 11:16; Rev. 21:4.22)

It is the Heart of Jesus which is the joy and glory of all the saints and the just in heaven.  It is the Heart of Jesus, who, by his love and his sufferings has saved and ransomed us.  It is to him that God the Father has entrusted the care of glorifying us and making us happy.  We shall have the joy of resting on this divine Heart like St. John and he will reward us with unspeakable delights for all that we shall have done on earth for his love and glory.

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Day 33