Now if, because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen, the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that then, too, already He derived somewhat of solace from our reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when “there appeared to Him an angel from heaven” (Lk. 22: 43), in order that His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation.
These words, drawn from Pope Pius XI’s 1928 encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, beckon the faithful to cultivate a spirit of reparation to Our Lord’s Sacred Heart. June, which Holy Mother Church designated as the month in which the Feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated, is a time for Catholics to make regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament, offering prayers and sacrifices for their sins and those of all mankind.
While honoring the Sacred Heart has roots stretching back to the early Church, this special devotion to Christ’s burning love for mankind is closely associated with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a 17th century Visitandine nun at the convent of Paray-le-Monial. It was to this humble nun that Christ revealed His desire that a special feast of reparation to His Sacred Heart be established on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi (or the third Friday after Pentecost). It is from Our Lord’s appearances to St. Margaret that the First Friday devotion emerged, a practice which ensures that reparations to the Sacred Heart are made throughout the liturgical year.
The feast and month of the Sacred Heart is not just a time for “simple” or passing prayer. Rather, it is linked to sacrifices, with reparation made for the offenses against Our Lord. Faithful Catholics should prepare to participate in this month fully, with their external actions, penances, and holy hours playing a vital role as desired by Pius XI.
But as with all the practices of Holy Mother Church, this is not just a one-dimensional feast of penance and reparation. There is plenty of space within this month to approach the Sacred Heart of Our Lord with sentiments of love and gratitude for His salvific love—a love so powerful that Christ submitted to torture, humiliation, and death on the Cross for the sins of the world.
An Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Although there are numerous prayers dedicated to the Sacred Heart available to the faithful, Pope Pius XI prescribed the following prayer of reparation to be recited on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. A partial indulgence is granted to those who recite this prayer. A plenary indulgence is granted under the normal conditions if it is publicly recited on the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
This prayer, along with the Litany to the Sacred Heart, is also available on this printable prayer card.
Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.
Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law.
We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holydays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints.
We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected; for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege of the very Sacrament of Thy Divine Love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.
Would, O Divine Jesus, that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou didst once make to Thine Eternal Father on the cross and which Thou continuest to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past.
Henceforth, we will live a life of unwavering faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.
O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Ghost Thou livest and reignest, God, world without end.