Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Exercise
Praying with an Image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
As followers of Christ, our desire is to unite our hearts with his. This meditative prayer helps us do that by using the image of the Heart of Jesus as it is traditionally represented on the outside of his body — with thorns, cross, wound, and fire.
1. Look at the Heart of Jesus.
Why do you think it appears on the outside of his body? A child once said, “Maybe he loves us so much he can’t keep it inside.”
Jesus’ heart goes out to you. He does not hide his love. He makes himself vulnerable to you. His love is there for you to touch. The only barriers to his love for you are the ones you put around your own heart.
Let down those barriers and meet Jesus heart to heart.
2. Look at the thorns that encircle the Heart of Jesus.
This is no sentimental Valentine heart, for instead of lace we see thorns. The thorns signify his passion for you. If you were the only person in the world, he would have suffered and died just for love of you.
Remember how the soldiers crowned Jesus with thorns and mocked him. The world often despises vulnerable love. Have you been despised or disrespected for loving vulnerably? If so, you are suffering as Jesus did.
Jesus shares your suffering.
3. Look at the cross on top of the image of the Heart of Jesus.
Most of Jesus’ friends ran away and would not stand under his cross, but his mother did, along with St. John, who called himself the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Will you stand with them under that cross?
It is not easy to watch a person suffer and die. You don’t need to say anything. It is enough simply to be with Jesus now. Your being there lets him know of your love. His being there lets you know of his. If he could have shown his love for you in a more convincing way, he would have.
4. Look at the wound on the Heart of Jesus.
As Jesus hung on the cross, his side was pierced by a lance that also opened his heart. Blood and water poured from his wound, signifying the new life we have in Baptism and the Eucharist.
People try to hide their wounds, but the wounds of Jesus remain on his resurrected body, eternal signs of his love. The wound on his heart is a sign of his love for you. Touch this wound with your heart, and, like the Apostle Thomas, believe in the love of the One who suffered, died, and rose again.
5. Look at the fire blazing from the Heart of Jesus.
Peer into its light and feel its warmth. The blazing Heart of Jesus reveals to you how precious you are. The fire of his love kindles its warmth deep inside of you.
Resolve that you will no more allow your heart to become stone cold and hard. You will come often to the burning Heart of Jesus. You will catch his fire and return his love with all your heart.
His fire will become your fire, and you will go forth setting the world on fire.
This prayer exercise is from A Heart on Fire: Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Rev. James Kubicki, S.J.