Throwback Thursday: Worshiping Jesus’ heart?

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.

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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
http://aleteia.org/2016/04/29/5-things-catholics-should-know-about-first-fridays/

Postscript: Many, many Catholic churches across the country are named “Sacred Heart.”

37 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Worshiping Jesus’ heart?

  1. Absurd! I remember we had one in our house not to worship but because the frame was beautiful and it looked super impressive on the wall. These days looking at sacred heart paintings does something to me. So evil.
    It’s a sad old dark world filled with great deception and gullible people that will believe everything but the truth and after watching Justin Peter’s latest video I am a bit disturbed, I think 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Crissy. This sacred heart “devotion” is so, so bad and exemplifies the pagan and superstitious nature of Catholicism, i.e., they focus on a “physical” aspect of Jesus Christ rather than understanding His spiritual message and their spiritual need.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. As a former pagan/modern new ager, I can tell you there’s SO many similarities between Catholicism and modern paganism, including worship and prayers to saints and angels, which then become “spirit guides.” Also an extreme focus on items for “good luck,” pretty altars, and placing a lot of importance on statuettes and other similar items.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Yari. I have read a only few books about New Age practices so I’m sure you are aware of a lot more about the similarities with the RCC. The Catholic church has a long history of experiential “mysticism” and that is a link to many other religions.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hadn’t heard of him, probably because I no longer buy for-Christian books.

        However, from reading the synopsis of his book “The Universal Christ,” I can tell you that it is pantheism & new age, not Christianity. The synopsis says:

        “God loves things by becoming them.” That is called pantheism. So is this other part of the synopsis: “humanity has never been separate from God.”

        In the new age we are very much told that god is everything, and that we can learn to do anything and everything Christ did. (Lord, forgive me for even writing that!).

        I like to say Progressive Christianity = “Instead of fear of God, fear of being cancelled.”

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Hey, Crissy! So, Nathan and I watched all 4.5 hours of Justin Peter’s video. I (we) have a good friend who is stuck in the NAR/prophetic movement. How anyone can believe these people is just astounding and it angers me so much. Other than disturbed what did you think of Peters video?!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi Mandy, I found the video very informative. The Lord used Justin Peters years ago to bring me out of the Pentecostal/ WOF movement. (Back then it wasn’t as bad as what it is now)
        I have problems understanding how people can be so gullible. These self appointed prophets are making a mockery of the God of the Bible.
        How do you and Nathan deal with your close friend?
        I also have a close friend who is involved in all this nonsense.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hey, Crissy! First and foremost, I am sorry, I did not realize you were affiliated with the WOF/Pentecostal movement. Forgive me if I was insensitive. I absolutely agree with these “prophets” making a mockery of God, they are truly harming the cause of Christ.

        To answer your question Nathan and I deal with my friend calmly. She is saved, I am convinced of that, she is misguided. My friend has always been more charismatic; however, it is getting to a point that is really unbiblical. From her use of the The Passion Translation to (TPT which as you know is NOT a translation) to some qanon stuff to the prophetic voices for Trump my friend is losing her way. My friend’s family started attending a new church in my town which is very experiential. And apparently they had Jeremiah Johnson speak at their church on Dec 4-5 2020. I have again calmly spoken with my friend about the dangers of the TPT and these false prophets with Covid and Trump. I am praying about sharing/watching this Justin Peters video with her. Now, I will admit, I am not a staunch cessationist nor staunch continuationist so I am praying if Justin Peter’s is the right person to share with her. I also thought about sharing with her the atheists videos against the prophetic Trump movie may be more helpful. If you have any suggestions I would LOVE to hear them! Nathan and another friend of ours are really concerned about her! Lots of love, prayers and blessings!!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Hi Mandy, you don’t need to apologise, you were not being insensitive. The Lord lead me out of the Pentecostal church over twelve years ago. I wasn’t too involved in the WOF but I did get caught up in the Toronto blessing as a baby Christian. The Holy Spirit guides into all truth and I am so grateful and humbled.
        I can truly understand your concern for your friend as I am for mine. I believe my friend is on dangerous ground, she believes “whatever” but rejects truth. After so many years it’s beginning to affect our friendship. At the end it’s all about their choice. Eve, was deceived by the serpent in the garden, she also had the command of God yet she made the wilful choice to disobey God. Mandy I pray that you will be able to reach your friend, through prayer, the Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Love and blessings.🙏

        Liked by 2 people

  2. You said, “sacramentals blessed by a priest brought good luck to a house” and it reminds me of the superstitions that surrounded religion in my family (growing up), which I found very off-putting. The point you make in the penultimate paragraph can sum up so much of what goes on today: it is “Nowhere in the Gospels or the epistles.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Yari! Yes, the RCC set aside God’s Word and elevated its own traditions as equally authoritative. The RCC claims to be the source and defender of Scripture, but they subvert it at every turn.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Re: claims to be the source and defender of scripture

      This claim is bankrupt and based on delusions of grandeur. You see, the early church didn’t know of some kind of “infallible” interpreter.

      Augustine (354-430) : But wherever their meaning is clear, there we must learn how they are to be understood in obscurer places. After all, there is no better way of understanding what was said to God in the verse, Take up arms and shield, and arise to help me (Ps 35:2), than from that other place where we read, Lord. You have crowned us as with the shield of your good will (Ps 5:12)…But where a possible meaning emerges which cannot be made entirely clear by other certain testimonies of the holy scriptures, it remains to elucidate it with arguments from reason, even if the writer whose words we are trying to understand did not perhaps intend that meaning. But this habit is risky; it is really much safer to walk along with the divine scriptures; when we wish to examine passages rendered obscure with words used metaphorically, either let something emerge from our scrutiny that is not controversial, or else if it is so, let the matter be settled from the same scripture by finding and applying testimonies from anywhere else in the sacred books (The Works of Saint Augustine, John Rotelle, Editor (Hyde Park: New City, 1996), Volume I/11, Teaching Christianity, De Doctrina Christiana, Book III.37, 39, pp. 185–186).

      Basil of Caesarea (AD. 329-379): What seems to be said in an ambiguous and veiled way in certain passages of inspired Scripture is made plain by the obvious meaning of other passages. W. K. L. Clarke, The Ascetic Works of Saint Basil, Translations of Christian Literature Series I, Greek Texts (London: S.P.C.K., 1925), The Shorter Rules, Answer #267 (CCLXVII), p. 329.

      Ambrose (c. 339-97): In most places Paul so explains his meaning by his own words, that he who discourses on them can find nothing to add of his own; and if he wishes to say anything, must rather perform the office of a grammarian than a discourser. See William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd edition, 3 Volumes (London: John Henry Jackson, publisher, 1853), Vol. 3, p. 262, Cf. also Chemnitz, Vol. 1, p. 167, and Whitaker, pp. 398, 492, who all render plerisque as “most.” In plerisque ita se ipse suis exponat sermonibus, ut is qui tractat, nihil inveniat quod adjiciat suum; ac si velit aliquid dicere, grammatici magis quam disputatoris fungatur munere. Epistola XXXVII.1, PL 16:1084. The translation found in Fathers of the Church, Vol. 26, Saint Ambrose: Letters 54. Ambrose to Simplicianus (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1954), p. 286

      Jerome (347-420) : A: This passage to the ignorant, and to those who are unaccustomed to meditate on Holy Scripture, and who neither know nor use it, does appear at first sight to favor your opinion. But when you look into it, the difficulty soon disappears. And when you compare passages of Scripture with others, that the Holy Spirit may not seem to contradict Himself with changing place and time, according to what is written, “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water spouts,” the truth will show itself, that is, that Christ did give a possible command when He said: “Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,” and yet that the Apostles were not perfect. NPNF2: Vol. VI, St. Jerome Against the Pelagians, Book I, §14.

      John Chrysostom (349-407) : Anyhow, in case by wanting to make a display of these people’s stupidity we, too, find ourselves induced to utter unseemly remarks, let’s have done with their folly and turn aside from such idiocy; let us follow the direction of Sacred Scripture in the interpretation it gives of itself, provided we don’t get completely absorbed with the concreteness of the words, but realize that our limitations are the reason for the concreteness of the language. Human senses, you see, would never be able to grasp what is said if they had not the benefit of such great considerateness. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 74, Homilies on Genesis 1-17, 13.8 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1986), p. 172.

      John Chrysostom (349-407) , Commenting on v. 4 of Psalm 45: These words are a particular indication of the inspired author’s longing, seeing what has already been achieved and the world’s being led towards truth. Hence he employs an exhortatory style in his manner of expression. It is customary with inferiors, remember, when moved with ardor for their betters, to employ these expressions. In the cause of truth, gentleness and righteousness. He uses the qualification of truth. Do you see how Scripture interprets itself, showing the victory to be intellectual and spiritual? How, that is, the one made mention of weapons, sword and bows, here makes mention of gentleness? Robert Charles Hill, trans., St John Chrysostom: Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 1, Psalm 45 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998), p. 268.

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  3. Responding to your comment: Wow rainy and snowy next five days, makes me appeciate our weather here I suppose. Day is going well, finished teaching Genesis 18 to my kids and about to go on my long range pastoral visitation in 15 minutes on the road…will read this later!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow I’ve seen memes of Jesus’ heart and never even thought about it or played close attention; what a strange Catholic practice that I suspect Evangelicals have shared pictures without knowing its root. Strange that they would worship a human organ of Jesus! Good post!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, brother! This “sacred heart” devotion is extremely weird (in addition to being anti-Biblical) but it’s so pervasive within Catholicism that people don’t even give it a second thought.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Enjoy the 🍔 ! Sounds good! And have a good couple’s meeting! My wife has a pot of hot lentil soup waiting for when I get home but I have a bag of spicy barbecue pork rinds for the drive home.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Yes, it’s unsettling to contemplate that hundreds of millions of lost RC souls superstitiously put their “faith” in traditions/devotions such as the sacred heart.

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