In the past three to four hundred years, many Spiritual Directors have entrusted those discerning a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This devotion, which is composed of eucharistic adoration, reparation and consecration, has led many closer to the Lord (regardless of where their discernment has led them).
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has always been a foundational part of Catholic spirituality and devotion, as far as this particular devotion is understood to be based on Divine Revelation’s message that God is love and in the mystery of the incarnation God has loved us with a human heart (Gaudium et Spes #22). As Pope Benedict XVI stated, concerning the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “Moreover, not only does this mystery of God’s love for us constitute the content of the worship of and devotion to the Heart of Jesus, but in the same way it is likewise the content of all true spirituality and Christian devotion. It is consequently important to stress that the basis of the devotion is as old as Christianity itself.” (Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI on occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Encyclical Haurietis Aquas)
To adore the Lord through this venerable image of his wounded and fiery heart calling us to communion with Him is a gateway to discern how exactly the Lord wants us to serve Him. Discernment requires a true “trust” in the one we are discerning with, namely the Lord. He must have free reign in our hearts and lives in order to lead us, without bypassing our freedom. Discernment is an act of freedom to transcend one’s circumstances, limitations and inadequacies to follow the Lord wherever He may lead us. Let us commend ourselves to the Heart of Jesus, whose wounded heart calls us to trust in the abundance of His sacrificial love. “It was only the experience that God first gave us his love that has enabled us to respond to his commandment of love” (cf. Deus Caritas Est, # 17).
We’ll close with the words of Pope Pius XII:
“Consequently, it is clear that the revelations made to St. Margaret Mary brought nothing new into Catholic doctrine. Their importance lay in this that Christ Our Lord, exposing His Sacred Heart, wished in a quite extraordinary way to invite the minds of men to a contemplation of, and a devotion to, the mystery of God’s merciful love for the human race. In this special manifestation Christ pointed to His Heart, with definite and repeated words, as the symbol by which men should be attracted to a knowledge and recognition of His love; and at the same time He established it as a sign or pledge of mercy and grace for the needs of the Church of our times.”
(Encyclical Haurietis Aquas by Pope Pius XII, #97)