June is traditionally devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Catholic Church. This long-standing devotion has its roots in the visions of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the late 17th century, in which Jesus appeared to her and expressed his desire for a feast celebrating his Sacred Heart.

The Sacred Heart represents Christ's profound love for all humanity. The heart has long been a symbol of love, and the Sacred Heart in particular symbolizes the paschal mystery - the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus by which we were redeemed and our broken relationship with God was restored.

The Sacred Heart is typically depicted as a flaming heart, surrounded by a crown of thorns and surmounted by a cross. The flames represent the burning love of the heart of Christ. The thorny crown symbolizes the suffering of his passion and death. And the cross represents the redemptive sacrifice that flowed from his love.

In honoring the Sacred Heart, we unite ourselves to the very fountain of eternal life and love. We express our gratitude for the incomprehensible self-emptying and self-gift of the God-man who loved us to the end. We seek to make reparation for the coldness, ingratitude, and outright rejection that the Heart of Christ so often meets in the world. And we implore the grace to have our own hard hearts made like unto the Heart of Jesus - a heart consumed with love of God and generous self-sacrifice for others.

This month, let us drink deeply from the life-giving streams of divine love that flow from the pierced Heart of the Savior. Through fostering this devotion, may our own hearts be liberated from selfishness, hardness and lukewarmness. And may we become in truth Christ's hands, feet and heart for the world, vessels overflowing with his merciful, sacrificial love.