June is Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
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June is widely recognized as the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus primarily because the solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated during this month. This year, the solemnity falls on June 16. The specific date changes annually as it is observed on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi or the Friday after the second Sunday after Pentecost.
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The Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Beyond the timing of the solemnity, there are additional reasons why June holds significance for the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
The origins of the feast trace back to 1673 when Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun from the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, started experiencing visions of the Sacred Heart. In these apparitions, Jesus revealed methods of venerating His Sacred Heart and conveyed His boundless love for humanity. The visions depicted Jesus with His heart visibly exposed outside His chest, aflame and encircled by a crown of thorns.
These practices included participating in a holy hour on Thursdays and receiving the Eucharist on the first Friday of every month. Jesus instructed Sister Margaret Mary, saying, "My Sacred Heart is so full of love for mankind, and especially for you, that unable to contain within itself the flames of its burning charity, it needs to spread them abroad through your means."
These visions continued for a period of 18 months.
On June 16, 1675, Jesus instructed Sister Margaret Mary to promote a feast dedicated to His Sacred Heart. He also revealed 12 promises for all those who venerate and spread devotion to the Sacred Heart. Jesus requested, "I ask of you that the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be set apart as a feast to honor My Heart by receiving Communion on that day and making reparation to it by a solemn act, in order to make amends for the indignities which it has received during the time it has been exposed on the altars. I promise you that My Heart shall expand itself to pour out abundantly the influence of its divine love upon those who shall thus honor it and cause it to be honored."
Sister Margaret Mary passed away in 1690 and was canonized by Pope Benedict XV on May 13, 1920.
Initially, the Vatican displayed some hesitancy in establishing a feast dedicated to the Sacred Heart. However, as the devotion gained popularity in France, the Vatican granted permission for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be celebrated in France in 1765.
In 1856, Pope Pius IX designated the Friday following the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart for the universal Church. Since then, the month of June has been devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His immeasurable love for all humanity.
On the current liturgical calendar, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated as a solemnity, the highest-ranking feast in the liturgical calendar, although it is not a holy day of obligation.
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