Thursday, May 30, 2013

Relation and Difference between Devotion to the Holy Eucharist and Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Note: Father Joseph de Gallifet (1663–1749) was a French Jesuit priest, known for his promotion of the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was under the direction of St. Claude de la Colombière, the confessor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

There is an intimate relation between devotion to the Holy Eucharist and devotion to the Sacred Heart. Both tend to honor the same Man-God, Our Lord Jesus Christ. We offer acts of homage to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus; nevertheless these two devotions should not be confounded one with the other; they are two separate devotions.

“There have been,” says Father Gallifet in his admirable work The Adorable Heart of Jesus, “from the beginning, people who asserted that there was no essential difference between devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and that to the Sacred Heart, and who consequently rejected the latter as only adding a new name to a very old devotion.”

“These two devotions differ from each other: first, in their objects; secondly, in the motives for honoring these objects; thirdly, in the essential end of their institution. This is to say—they differ in the three most important points which can distinguish devotions one from the other.”

“They differ in the first place in their object; for in the one is proposed alone the adorable Heart of Jesus Christ, without any reference to the rest of His body. In the other the entire body of Jesus Christ is proposed under the sacramental species, without any special reference to His Heart.

“They differ, in the second place, in the motives for honoring the object, for in the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament the motive for honoring the body of Jesus Christ is the infinite dignity of this adorable flesh, which, through its union with the Word, is worthy of the adoration of angels and men. In the devotion to the Sacred Heart the essential motive for honoring it is the love with which it is inflamed, and the sufferings it endured through the ingratitude of men, which has relation to the divine Heart, and to no other part of the body.”

“In short, in instituting the feast of the Blessed Sacrament the object was to render to Jesus Christ, abiding amongst us, the adoration, the gratitude, and the love which are so justly due to Him in this ineffable mystery. It is in order to satisfy these obligations that the Church has instituted the festival of the Blessed Sacrament with its solemn octave, with processions, decorations, and all the pomp and magnificence with which this feast is celebrated. But in that of the Sacred Heart the principal object of its institution is to make reparation to Our Lord for the insults His love has received in the holy sacrament through the ingratitude of men—a reparation which Jesus Christ desires should be directed to His Heart, which is, as it were, the source and the seat of this love.”

“The Heart of Jesus is the symbol of His love; the Blessed Sacrament is the effect of His love. While these two devotions are very distinct one from the other, nevertheless there is a bond of union between them, since the body of Jesus Christ, really present in the Holy Eucharist, contains this adorable Heart, which is the object of a special worship.”

“In her Divine Office the Church herself reveals the motive of the worship we render the Sacred Heart of Jesus, when she declares that the feast of the Sacred Heart was established in order that the faithful might honor with more devotion and zeal, under the symbol of the Sacred Heart, the love of Jesus Christ, which induced Him not only to suffer and to die for the redemption of mankind, but also to institute the sacrament of His body and blood in commemoration of His death.”

The Blessed Sacrament Prayerbook, pp. 625-627
by Fr. F.X. Lasance