by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO
Many have heard of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Merciful Heart of Jesus (associated with the Divine Mercy mysteries). How do they interrelate? Fewer have heard of the Suffering Heart of Jesus. How does it interrelate with the other two? Why are there different Hearts of Jesus? What is the appeal of the different Hearts of Jesus?
Jesus has only one Heart, so they all must be either the whole Heart or part of the entire Heart.
When we study the Hearts of Jesus, we observe that the Sacred Heart mysteries include all aspects of the Merciful Heart mysteries and all aspects of the Suffering Heart (also known as a Wounded Heart) mysteries. We also find that the Merciful Heart and Suffering Heart emphasize different aspects of Jesus' love while the Sacred Heart emphasizes the whole mystery of Jesus' love.
For a detailed explanation of devotion to the Sacred Heart, see New Advent's Catholic Encyclopedia, under Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
For a detailed discussion on the Merciful Heart of Jesus, see The Image of Divine Mercy by Robert Stackpole.
So the Sacred Heart of Jesus represents his whole heart while the other two represent different aspects of it, his mercy and his suffering for us. We can think of it like a coin. Just as there are two sides of a coin, there are two key aspects of Jesus' heart.
Each of the three devotions have value for each of us. The Merciful Heart appeals to those in sin (i.e. all of us sinners) seeking a way to be free; the Sacred Heart appeals to those more sure of their faith, seeking a closer union with Jesus through love; the Suffering Heart appeals to those faithful who are suffering and mystics who want to be one with Jesus. Mature Christians will find that at different times in their lives, different devotions will appeal more to them, but all devotions to the Jesus' Heart are valuable at any time.
O Beloved Jesus,
Thank You, Jesus,
Grant us, Dear Jesus, the ability
The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has a number of prayers to the Sacred Heart on their site.
Discourse and prayer by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO © 2001-2002. Permission granted to copy for personal use.
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Last Modified 6 Nov 2008.