, , , , , , , ,

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Ninety-eight years ago this month, Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio (When in the Inscrutable Designs of God). In this encyclical written at the end of World War I, he described the state of human society…

A much more serious and lamentable evil than these threats of external aggression is the internal discord which menaces the welfare not only of nations but of human society itself. In the first place, we must take cognizance of the war between the classes, a chronic and mortal disease of present-day society, which like a cancer is eating away the vital forces of the social fabric…from this class war there results frequent interruptions of work, the causes for which most often can be laid to mutual provocations. There results, too, revolutions, riots, and forcible repression of one side or other by the government, all of which cannot but end in general discontent and in grave damage to the common welfare. To these evils we must add the contests between political parties, many of which…originate[in]…the desire for power and for the protection of some private interest which inevitably result in injury to the citizens as a whole.[1]

Sound familiar? After nearly 100 years, we are still plagued with these same issues. As Ecclesiastes says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun” (1:9).

In this encyclical, Pope Pius summarized the state of the family…

It is most sad to see how this revolutionary spirit has penetrated into that sanctuary of peace and love, the family, the original nucleus of human society. In the family these evil seeds of dissension, which were sown long ago, have recently been spread about more and more by the fact of the absence of fathers and sons from the family…frequently we behold sons alienated from their fathers…often likewise have we seen both the sanctity of the marriage tie and the duties to God and to humankind, which this tie imposes upon men, forgotten.[2]

His words ring prophetically true for our time.

Ninety-five years ago this week, Pope Pius XI issued a follow up encyclical Quas Primas (In the First). In this encyclical, he instituted the Feast of Christ the King which the Church just celebrated two Sundays ago. We celebrate this feast annually on the last Sunday of the liturgical year.

Because Pope Pius XI lived in tumultuous times, he used this encyclical to consecrate the whole human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He saw that conforming our hearts and minds to Jesus was the only hope for lasting peace in a world fraught with dissension, division, and despair.

Pope Pius closed this encyclical with these profound words…

The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God. [Romans 11:13] If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection. It is Our fervent desire, Venerable Brethren, that those who are without the fold may seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ, and that we, who by the mercy of God are of the household of the faith, may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy, with love, with devotion; that having lived our lives in accordance with the laws of God’s kingdom, we may receive full measure of good fruit, and counted by Christ good and faithful servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal bliss and glory with him in his heavenly kingdom (emphasis added). [3]

In light of the turbulent times we live in, please join us in consecrating your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with this prayer…

Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
by Pope Pius XI[4]

Most sweet Jesus,
Redeemer of the human race,
look down upon us,
humbly prostrate before Thine altar.

We are Thine and Thine we wish to be;
but to be more surely united with Thee,
behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today
to Thy Most Sacred Heart.

Many, indeed, have never known Thee;
many, too, despising Thy precepts,
have rejected Thee.

Have mercy on them all,
most merciful Jesus,
and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart.

Be Thou King, O Lord,
not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee,
but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee,
grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house,
lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions,
or whom discord keeps aloof
and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith,
so that soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who even now sit in the shadow of idolatry or Islam,
and refuse not Thou to bring them into the light of Thy kingdom.
Look, finally, with eyes of pity upon the children of that race,
which was for so long a time Thy chosen people;
and let Thy Blood, which was once invoked upon them in vengeance,
now descend upon them also in a cleansing flood of redemption and eternal life.

Grant, O Lord,
to Thy Church,
assurance of freedom and immunity from harm;
give peace and order to all nations,
and make the earth resound
from pole to pole with one cry:
Praise to the Divine Heart
that wrought our salvation:
to it be glory
and honor forever.


[1] Pius XI, Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, internet: http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19221223_ubi-arcano-dei-consilio.html (accessed December 5, 2020), §12.

[2] Ibid., §13.

[3] Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Quas Primas, internet: http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_11121925_quas-primas.html (accessed December 5, 2020), §33.

[4] Catholic Online, Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, internet: https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=3039 (access December 5, 2020).