Earlier this week, Pope Francis recalled that the Catholic Church is close to celebrating the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. After the Sunday celebration of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the next date on the liturgical calendar to be commemorated. This festival takes place on the Friday after the second Sunday of Pentecost and this year it is celebrated today friday june 11, without a doubt for Catholics it is a clear invitation to find peace in their hearts and seek purification of everything earthly.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Catholic devotion referring to the heart of Jesus Christ, as a symbol of divine love and it is believed had its origin in a mystical current centered on the mission of Jesus Christ, who conceived the heart as a vital center, a reflection of his dedication and total love. In this sense, devotion to the Sacred Heart refers in particular to the feelings of Jesus, and especially to his love for humanity, As the Gospel of Saint John sums up: “Before the Passover feast, Jesus knowing that his time had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. ”
The truth is that many people still have some doubts about how to celebrate this day. More considering that the Roman Catholic Church in the United States encourages the faithful to abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year, although they can substitute it for a suitable penance. The sustenance of this practice is based on how to stop eating on Fridays throughout the year, it has always been a way of remembering the Passion of Jesus and offering a little sacrifice for god. This makes every Friday a gloomy occasion, dedicated to prayer and fasting.
Although, it is an unquestionable tradition for many faithful of the Catholic Church who comply with the measures fully, there is an exception and that is when a holiday falls on a Friday. According to the Code of Canon Law: “Abstinence from meat or any other food, as determined by the Episcopal Conference, must be observed every Friday, unless a solemnity falls on Friday.” Based on this, since the feast of the Sacred Heart is considered a “solemnity”, that is to say, the highest order of the liturgical feast, Catholics usually consider it as a Sunday. Therefore, being a day of Catholic celebration, any type of fast or abstinence from meat is temporarily lifted that day.
What is the origin of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
The traces of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus have antecedents dating from the period of the Middle Ages, more specifically in the thought of some German mystics such as Matilde de Magdeburg, Matilde de Hackeborn and Gertruda de Helfta and the Dominican Blessed Henry Suso. However, this cult only flourished in the 15th century by Santa Margarita Alacoque and San Juan Eudes, the first to whom the Bishop of Rennes granted celebrate a feast in honor of the Heart of Jesus in their community in 1672.
Later, in 1765, Clement XIII granted Poland and the Roman Arch Confraternity of the Sacred Heart the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and it was in this century that the debate arose. In fact, the Congregation of Rites affirms that the object of this cult is the heart of the flesh of Jesussymbol of their love, but the Jansenists interpret this as an act of idolatry. Only in 1856, with Pius IX, the solemnity was extended to the universal Church and it was officially inserted as part of the liturgical calendar. In such a way that it was established as a mobile feast set on Friday, the eighth day after Corpus Christi, followed by the Saturday dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. So now you know, for the Catholic Church today is an official celebration day and you can make an exception by enjoying a little meat in your diet. Just don’t forget offer your thanksgiving and promise a virtuous life in which love and respect for others reign.
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