The Political Dimension of Sacred Heart Devotion

Solange Hertz

When Longinus plunged his spear into the Sacred Body publicly exposed on the cross, he struck the heart of a King.  Christ the King! This was when the Sacraments flowed forth. (St. Augustine Expositions on the Psalms, On Psalm 127,4   The Church was born. The one and the true. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is essentially a political commitment as Solange Hertz explains.

Every time a Catholic priest performs the Consecration at Mass, the Heart of Christ the King is present on the altar of sacrifice.  Whole and entire the Body, Blood, Flesh and Divinity of the King !  The Word made Flesh !

The sign above the thorn-crowned Head of the Man enthroned on the Cross read plainly:  “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

Longinus was the agent of secular authority doing his duty which was to make sure the Man was dead, or to kill Him if he were not. Longinus was the ‘state.’

The Sacred fountain of Blood and water which gushed forth continues to do so to this day , sanctifying all the King’s willing subjects … those who search for the truth and find it in His Church which was born that day with that opening of the side of Christ … and whose Priests have the power given them by Jesus, Who had ordained them shortly before,  to consecrate Bread and Wine into His Body and Blood.  Real and True.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart is therefore no sentimental devotion to be pursued only in private.  Essentially, it is a political commitment.

The Sacred Heart of Christ the King is source and center of the Christian state, a human manifestation of the Divine Monarchy from which all monarchy takes its name.  Its temporal dimensions extend into eternity.

Only when viewed from this perspective can the true purpose of Sacred Heart devotion be discerned.  Otherwise it is simply a super-excellent practice among many others designed by God to bring the individual into greater intimacy with Him.

Sacred Heart devotion does this, to be sure, but its objective is ultimately and fundamentally political in the real sense of the word politics.

It was forged by the divine Wisdom to bring not only the individual but whole nations …  into intimacy with God.

Needless to say, the devotion was never preached in such terms in the USA, where democracy reigns supreme and separation of Church and state is dogma.  It was deemed too dangerous if not outright subversive.  We were led to believe that God, whose name the U.S. Constitution does not mention, is not really interested in politics anyway, that  religion is a purely private matter.  As a consequence, most of us are familiar only with the requests which our Lord made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque regarding the nine First Fridays of reparation and the institution of the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

No doubt we reaped immense spiritual profit from the devotion without being acquainted with the political framework in which the apparitions took place at Paray-le-Monial, and, without being aware of the political necessity which had dictated them.

Even Pius XII in his masterly encyclical on the Sacred Heart, Haurietis Aquas, published in 1956 for the centenary of the institution of the Feast, dwells almost exclusively on the spiritual, personal character of the devotion.  Although he prescribes it as the best antidote for the ills of society “such as cause” says he, “sharp conflict among individuals, families, nations and the whole world” he presents it primarily as a super eminent religious practice efficaciously rooted in charity.

The devotion actually began in the Gospels, particularly in that of St. John, who was privledged to lean familiarly on the breast of Our Lord at the Last Supper and also witnessed the opening of the divine Heart on the Cross.  As early as the third century, meditation on the piercing of Christ’s side was regularly practiced by the devout  every afternoon at three ‘clock. “Solange Hertz  Political Dimension of Sacred Heartt Devotion


Words of St. John to St. Gertrude about the Sacred Heart: 

“On his own feast day, St. John appeared to St. Gertrude and placed her by the wounded side of Jesus, where she could hear His beating Sacred Heart.  “Why is it, O beloved of God” she asked him, “that you who rested on his bosom at the Last Supper have said nothing of what you experienced then?”  St. John told her  “It was my task to present to the first age of the Church the doctrine of the Word made flesh which no human intellect can ever fully comprehend.

The eloquence of that sweet beating of His Heart is reserved for the last age in order that the world … grown cold and torpid … may be set on fire with the love of God”