Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on April 30th, 2016 and has been revised.
Seeing the article far below about the popular “devotion” within Catholicism to Jesus’ “sacred heart” brought back memories. I grew up as a Roman Catholic in the 1960s and 1970s and back then there were a lot of sacramentals in our home and in the homes of our friends and extended family. Crucifixes, statues, rosaries, and palm fronds were frequently displayed. It was taught that sacramentals blessed by a priest brought good luck to a house and to those who dwelt inside.
One popular statue that didn’t appeal to me at all was the statue of Jesus with his heart exposed. Why worship one of Jesus’s organs? Even to my young, credulous mind it seemed that worshiping a body organ was going beyond reasonable religious piety.
The practice of worshiping Jesus’s heart had some earlier advocates, but gained great popularity in the late 17th-century when a French nun, Margaret Mary Alacoque, claimed Jesus appeared to her several times and instructed her on the rubrics of the sacred heart devotion. The alleged Jesus apparition promised several special graces to those who worshiped his sacred heart. Most significantly, to those who went to mass and received communion on the first Friday of each month for nine consecutive months in honor of his sacred heart, the Jesus apparition promised “the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.” In other words, following the “Sacred Heart First Fridays” formula was a ticket to Heaven.
Catholicism has several other salvation formulas involving the wearing of scapulars and medals, saying the rosary, practicing the Five First Saturdays, etc., etc., etc.
Worshiping one of Jesus’s body parts is idolatry. Nowhere in the Gospels or the epistles does it insinuate that we should worship Jesus’ heart or any other of His body parts. No one will go to Heaven by engaging in religious rituals for nine months or any other period of time. They’re all just man-made, anti-Biblical traditions. God’s Word says we must repent of our sin and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith alone. Put religious rituals and formulas aside. Accept Jesus as your Savior by faith. Trust in Him alone.
Legalistic Rabbit Hole Question: If a Catholic observed six Sacred Heart First Fridays in a row, but came down with a bad case of the flu on week #7 and couldn’t attend mass, would they have to start all over again or could they continue the streak intact the following month? Just asking.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
5 Things Catholics Should Know About First Fridays: Learn about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the graces that come from observing First Fridays
Postscript: Many, many Catholic churches across the country are named “Sacred Heart.”