June 24: Sacred Heart of Jesus
While devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has a long and ancient history, this feast day is relatively recent. The Solemnity was first celebrated in France. The liturgy was approved by the local bishop at the request of St. John Eudes, who celebrated the Mass on August 31, 1670. The celebration was adopted in other places in France. In 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the universal Church.
On the 100th anniversary of the Feast of the Sacred Heart (written May 15, 1956) Pope Pius XII wrote a major encyclical on the Sacred Heart, Haurietis Aquas ( You Will Draw Waters). He based his encyclical on Isaiah 12:3, “with joy you will draw waters from the wells of salvation” which prophecies to the abundance of the supernatural graces which flow from the heart of Christ. Haurietis Aquas called the whole Church to recognize the Sacred Heart as an important dimension of Christian spirituality. The Church gives the highest form of worship to the Heart of Jesus because it is united to the “Person of the Incarnate Son of God Himself.” and it is the natural sign and symbol of Jesus’ boundless love for mankind.
“By encouraging devotion to the Heart of Jesus, we encourage believers to open themselves up to the mystery of God and of His love, and to allow themselves to be transformed by it. It is a fitting task for Christians to continue to deepen their relationship with the Heart of Jesus, in such a way as to revive their faith in the saving love of God and to welcome Him into their lives.”– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.