June and the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Do not be afraid to be pious

Just a reminder that the month of June is traditionally dedicated to foster devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

You might give consideration to what you may do in your own devotional practices.

Don’t be afraid to be pious.

We lose nothing in being devout and we gain ineffable benefits.

Do not be afraid to bend yourself down before God especially and also to the angels and saints our intercessors and patrons and be simply pious.  Man was made to be pious.  This is the essence of religion, without which we are empty shells: to give due reverence to God.  The sin of our first parents came from trying to be the opposite of pious: self-sufficient self-gods.  That was defiance of due piety.  But people can drift into the same emptiness of life by neglect of piety and devotion, neglect of fostering the habits of devotion.

Consider the benefits of devotion for a moment, and then consider the downside of being – not impious, in the sense of being wicked – but slothful and haphazard and lukewarm.

How did our Lord describe the fate of the tepid?  It wasn’t good.

On the other hand, if you are hesitant about the notion of piety, and what you know is going to be the result – giving up things that are incompatible with true piety – here is something from Benedict XVI’s sermon for his inaugural Mass in 2005.

“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great.”

To develop a habit, and being pious and devout is a habit, start small.

First, examine your conscience daily, in the evening, looking not just for sins you committed, but also how you sinned by omission.  That is where we ferret out our negligence in regard to the virtue of religion, negligence in respect to God and to neighbor.

Second, during the day, silently to yourself, perhaps say a brief prayer.  Pick one.  How about, “Jesus, meek and humble of heart: Make my heart like unto Thine.”  That just drips with in-your-face piety, doesn’t it?  That little prayer has it all.  And no one need know you have ever said it, unless you are reciting the Litany of the Sacred Heart.  Which brings me to the …

Third, find out opportunities for public devotions and start attending.  Never mind that they are unfamiliar.

Just start with that.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Augustin57 says:

    Father Z, I’m glad you posted this! I just remembered that I bought a dual picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary and stuck it in my glove box of my car! I had forgotten about it. Now, I need to remember when I get home from work to take it out and place it in a place of honor in my home? (On the fireplace mantle?)

    God bless! :)

  2. The Sacred Heart Of Jesus was a powerful influence in my Conversion to the Catholic Faith, or better put, my journey to COMPLETE Christianity. I thought I was a “Christian” as a Baptist, until I found out what Catholicism truly was, and found out just how much I and all protestants were missing. Thank the Lord I had the courage to see where the Truth lead me, Home to the Catholic Church. Praise be to Christ Jesus! Thank You Father Z for posting this.

  3. MichaelJ says:

    Don’t be afraid to be pious

    Somewhat ironic, don’t you agree, coming on the heels of a rather well commented post about chapel veils? The lady whose question spurred all of those comments was afraid of appearing “too pious”. [Ironic? No. Not really. And there may be a point to this post.]

  4. kat says:

    In the 1962 calendar, the feast of the Sacred Heart falls on the feast of the Precious Blood this year, July 1! Precious Blood got translated to July 2. I thought that was pretty neat when I was making the school calendar last year. Obviously the two feasts go together pretty well; but I don’t think that occurrence would happen very often!

  5. ZDHayden says:

    Hello all, this is my first post. I have been a fan of this blog for several months, since I discovered it.

    What I found interesting a while back was that, as I was exploring Catholicism, I was drawn immediately to the devotion to the Sacred Heart. I was born on the feast day of St. John the Baptist (24th of June, with June being the month devoted to the Sacred Heart). I discovered this coincidence after I had purchased a handmade rosary with a center depicting the Sacred Heart.

    I have planned to start reciting the Little Office of the Sacred Heart, in Latin, gradually accompanied by, at Terce, Sext, None, and Vespers, a Mystery of the Rosary (one for each, in Latin). This may sound like much, especially for a lay college student, but considering I have found I tend to slide into sin when I do not have a great amount of structure, I’d rather take upon myself an enormous amount of structure than fall into sin. If I may, please pray for me that I may fulfill, if it be God’s Will, what I have here said and not fall into slothfulness. Thank you.

  6. q7swallows says:

    Thank You, Father, for this post. Having exhausted myself for hours thinking and reasoning to compose a comment for another of your posts, this is sheer relief.

    To be allowed to be simply loving and pious and not have to justify it . . .


  7. JKnott says:

    An excellent book on the Sacred Heart, published as “The Heart” by Dietrich Von Hildebrand
    is excellent, especially for today. I think it speaks quite well to Father’s invitation to true piety.

  8. bmccoy says:

    This post has had a profound effect on me. I will simply say: Thank you for being a priest, may God grant you many more years of service.

  9. fieldsparrow says:

    Rather odd that I was just thinking along the same lines today; then again, maybe it’s not a coincidence.

  10. GoZagsGo says:

    *10 points for “ineffable”*

  11. JKnott says:

    Charles E Flynn: Thank you for the link!

  12. Laura R. says:

    Consider the benefits of devotion for a moment, and then consider the downside of being – not impious, in the sense of being wicked – but slothful and haphazard and lukewarm.

    How did our Lord describe the fate of the tepid? It wasn’t good.

    When I first came across the Novena to the Divine Mercy, I was struck by the fact that prayers on the ninth day are to be offered for the lukewarm. I believe that I read somewhere in St. Faustina’s Diaries that it is the souls of the lukewarm who wound Our Lord’s heart most.

  13. Dr. Eric says:

    It was the Sacred Heart that pulled me back into the practice of The Faith back in 1998. We have a picture of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts in our dining room.

  14. americangirl says:

    Thank you Father Z! This particular post so touched my heart. It moved me to tears.
    May the Lord Bless and Keep You Always!
    Please pray for my son who is discerning a call to the Priesthood. He has an interview this Friday.
    A prayer I often say throughout the day is one said during the traditional Stations of the Cross. I don’t often hear it recited any longer but none the less it is a small ejaculation I have come to treasure. The words are so beautiful I would like to share this with your readers who may not be acquainted with this prayer:
    I love thee Lord Jesus my Love
    I repent of ever having offended thee
    Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again
    Grant that I May love Thee always
    Then do with me what thou wilt

  15. mrsmontoya says:

    And I didn’t read this (or know about it otherwise) until after I finished making a rosary with a Sacred Heart of Jesus joiner, which I’m giving to a friend in the hospital.

  16. Art says:

    With regards to short prayers that get straight to the point, how about the Jesus Prayer:

    Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

    It seems remarkably like the Divine Mercy chaplet.

  17. guans says:

    Thank You, Father, that was beautiful.
    Also, thank you all the commenter posts too.

  18. RosaMystica says:

    Thanks, Father, I needed to hear that.

  19. inara says:

    @americangirl ~ wow, that *is* beautiful, thank you for sharing it! I wonder…would that be suitable as an Act of Contrition?

  20. evener says:

    Thank you father for the prod. I begin our daily before mass rosary, which we say aloud, with intentions. For some time I wanted to say the 1st Friday rosary in reparation for sins that offend the most sacred heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, as we do for Our Lady on the 1st Saturday.
    for her Immaculate Heart.
    Tomorrow’s a good day to begin.

  21. JMGDD says:

    The nearby Carmelite convent holds an all night Adoration vigil for First Friday/First Saturday. I have wanted to go several times, and with this push, I finally will be attending. Relating to another post, Father, I am privileged to remember your intentions during the vigil.

  22. Laura R. says:

    I’d like to add my thanks to those of others for this post, Father. I didn’t know that June is traditionally devoted to the Sacred Heart and, as a relatively new Catholic, haven’t really understood much about this devotion, but I now plan to learn and enter into it more.

  23. seeker says:

    I would so like to kneel for Holy Communion, but don’t want to appear pointlessly different, critical or overly pious. This comment helps. I really miss the Communion rail.

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