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When Jesus revealed the Sacred Heart devotion, he promised to bless every place his image is honored. Many Catholics hope that includes the Internet this June.
The image of the Sacred Heart is popping up everywhere, showing all the creativity of Catholic artists. In addition to the classic images of the Sacred Heart, I’ve seen images of his heart shining in the chest of the infant Jesus in his mother’s arms, in Jesus on the cross, in simple drawings and in majestic statues.
Elizabeth Nunez posted the image in her Facebook rosary group with a simple quote from the Catechism: “Only the Heart of Christ who knows the depths of his Father’s love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way.”
Rosario Reilly in Manassas, Virginia, posted the image with a poem beginning, “O Sacred Heart, O love divine, Do keep us near to Thee.”
Paul A. Zalonski posted it in a Communion & Liberation group in Connecticut with a prayer.
The desire to share the image far and wide seems to have occurred to many people at once, so I think it’s the Holy Spirit’s idea. But in my case — and many others — the Holy Spirit used Rebecca Teti, a Catholic writer, to plant the idea. It was because of her that I first wrote about this practice in 2019.
Rebecca describes what she felt Jesus was asking of her back then.
“In the course of some research I came across a graphic depiction of the promises of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary,” she said. “I never think about these promises at all, nor have they usually meant that much to me. I’ve never been much attracted to private revelation. In my own prayer I just think of Jesus’ heart as the embodiment of all the things I feel called to live: charity, zeal for souls, mission.”
But now, promise No. 11 caught her eye. It says: “I will bless every place in which an image of my heart is exposed and honored.”
“I got to thinking, ‘including the internet?’” she said. “And then I thought about Christ’s promise, ‘If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.’”
She wrote to friends: “What if, in this month of the Sacred Heart, we flood the internet, so saturated with all that is coarse and angry, with a visual antidote? No commentary necessary, no opposition, no lectures. Just a different image, one which the Lord himself has promised has power?”
Pope Francis is asking the same thing.
“Today we begin the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, source of love and peace,” Pope Francis said on June 1. “Open yourselves to this love and take it ‘to the ends of the earth,’ witnessing to the goodness and mercy that flow from the Heart of Jesus.”
A great way to witness to that is to put the image on your social media.
“I definitely put it up on my social media pages as a way to start the month off right,” Erika Cunis Ahern, a mother of six in Hamden, Conn., told me. “I work in journalism and use a lot of social media, which is where a lot of Pride Month’s propaganda happens. As a Catholic, I believe in the power of images to move the heart. They are a sacramental. In a world of social media, where images rule, we ought to offer the world sacramental images of God’s mercy and love.”
She doesn’t want to start an argument, she said. Instead, “I want to offer ‘another way’ with my image of the Sacred Heart. Most people will just scroll by, but I hope that someone will scroll by and stop to pray for the conversion of souls and the salvation of the world.”
To share this image is to share an icon of true love.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus delivers powerful lessons without using words — lessons the world needs now more than ever: God loves us with a human heart, and united with his, our human love becomes divine.