The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has always appealed to me. When I was a little girl, the bedroom I shared with my younger sisters had two diamond shaped images on the wall. The frames were like mirrors drawing attention to the figures on the glass: the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate heart of Mary. These fixtures helped assure me that God was watching over us.
In our Pauline communities every Friday is dedicated in a special way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our Divine Master. The Founder, Blessed James Alberione, was accustomed to praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus from his seminary days. He put a long prayer, called the Chaplet of the Sacred Heart into our Pauline Family's prayer book. In the prayer we thank Jesus for having given us the gospel, the priesthood, Mary as our Mother, the gift of religious--vowed--life, the Holy Eucharist and his very life on the cross.
Our publishing house, Pauline Books & Media, has published and republished countless times a Novena to the Sacred Heart. You may want to get a copy for yourself and for friends. Just go to http://www.pauline.org/ and under Store you will find the Novena to the Sacred Heart. Years ago I heard the story of a young man in Buffalo who was searching for a suitable wife. He was looking for a woman who was devout, and hard working as he was. The young man tried to go to daily weekday Mass. At each Mass he was asking God to inspire him to find the woman the Lord wanted him to marry. After a while he noticed a young lady who always seemed to attend the same noontime Mass. One day instead of rushing back to work, he followed the young woman. And, the rest is history. They were happily married, thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus who is the fount of all love. I remember a lady in Philadelphia whose son had married a lady who seemed to have no faith, least of all the Catholic faith. The dear mother-in-law kept praying for her son and daughter-in-law and their children. She would cry as she prayed thinking that the children were not even baptized. Although she did not give up praying, the woman was almost resigned that nothing could be done to change their hearts. Then one Sunday her son and his family came to visit. She was surprised that they offered to go to Mass with her. To her even greater surprise, when it was time to receive Holy Communion her son and his wife, and the older children approached the altar. The Sacred Heart had touched their hearts and brought them closer to him in the sacramental life of the church. The lady showed us Sisters the booklet she used for her devotion to the Sacred Heart. It was printed, I think, in the 1940's with simple illustrations and stories to enhance the text. In my home, we had the same booklet printed by the Society of St. Paul. I remembered the pictures which intrigued me, even though I did not know how to read at the time it first entered our home.
When we feel hard hearted toward someone, or if someone exhibits hardness of heart toward us, I suggest praying to the Sacred heart of Jesus. In the Bible Ezechiel tells of God's promise to give us a new heart, to exchange our stony hearts for hearts of flesh. The Gospel of John tells us that the heart of Jesus is a fountain of water springing up to life eternal. Jesus in Matthew's gospel said "Come to me, all of you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will refresh you." On the Feast of the Sacred Heart go to Jesus: if you cannot go physically to receive him in the Eucharist or in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, go to him with a simple prayer such as, "Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto yours;" or, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me;" or "Sacred Heart of Jesus, make me love you, more and more."
May the Heart of Jesus enfold you and your loved ones in his love.