Like the Eucharist, so many Catholics have ignored our Lord’s Sacred Heart – to their spiritual detriment. Love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and for the Eucharist is forever interconnected. One leads to the other. “In reality,” Mother Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche asserts, “they are only one and the same devotion”.
Is not the Holy Eucharist the living flesh of our resurrected Lord? Does not His Sacred Heart beat within the consecrated host?
Yet both devotions remain unappreciated and undervalued gifts from our loving Lord.
Philip Michael Bulman, the author of Sacred Fire - Practicing Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, wants to do something about this tragedy.
Among those who are familiar with Devotion to the Sacred Heart, many begin and end their understanding of this devotion by what they know of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. There is no doubt God used her to bring worldwide attention to His heart’s desire. She is obviously a central part of this book.
But you will enjoy and be enlightened by how He also used St. Gertrude, St. Teresa Margaret, St. Teresa of the Andes and St. Faustina, whose connections to this devotion the author so skillfully explores.
Along the way, Bulman highlights the wisdom and insight of so many others who preceded and followed St. Margaret Mary Alacoque - such as the Apostle St. John, Origen, Blessed Angela of Foligno, St. Catherine of Siena, Saint John Eudes, St. Catherine Laboure, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, Popes Leo XIII, Pius XII, St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.
It is this book’s attempt to tie all the history of this devotion together that makes it so valuable to someone drawn to the Eucharist and Devotion to our Lord’s Sacred Heart.
I was thrilled that the author introduced us to St. Theresa of the Andes. A quick glance at two of the quotations attributed to this Saint will endear her to your heart and lead you to His Most Sacred Heart:
“Dear Jesus, what do you say about this soldier who is so cowardly and so imperfect? Forgive me. The next time I’ll be better. I’ll throw myself into that immense ocean of the love of your Heart, to lose myself in It like a drop of water in the ocean and to abase my littleness in the greatness of Your mercy.”
“Try every morning, when you have the joy of receiving Communion, to ask our Lord to remain with you all day in your soul…When I think now of how I used to be envious of Mary Magdalene for having had Jesus in her home so often, for having heard Him, I’m ashamed, since He has not abandoned this world. He’s present in the Tabernacle. I gaze upon Him in faith, and hear Him.”
This book is not a one time read. The Chapters in Part II on The Eucharist, The Litany of the Sacred Heart, Reparation to the Sacred Heart, Scriptural Foundations, The Promises of the Sacred Heart, and its extensive Bibliography make it a lifetime resource - a treasure you will revisit from time to time.
I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking a more intimate relationship with the Lord Who remains with us and who seeks to dwell within us.