The Institution for the Feast of the Sacred Heart was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. St. Margaret Mary suffered contempt from many people who refused to believe the authenticity of the visions. In these appearances, Our Lord told her twelve graces that He would give to anyone devoted to His Sacred Heart. Yet, it was not until 1856 that the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was placed officially on the Church calendar. However, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus dates back even to the Middle Ages.
In 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the whole Church, to be celebrated on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi. Pope Pius XII raised the feast to the highest rank, Double of the First Class, and added an octave - that octave was later suppressed in the 1955 reforms, which removed all but three octaves.
Up until 1955 but after the time of Pope St. Pius X, Octaves were arranged in the following hierarchical order:
- Privileged Octaves
- Privileged Octaves of the First Order
- Octave of Easter
- Octave of Pentecost
- Privileged Octaves of the Second Order
- Octave of Epiphany
- Octave of Corpus Christi
- Privileged Octaves of the Third Order
- Octave of Christmas
- Octave of the Ascension
- Octave of the Sacred Heart <----(Notice its rank)
- Privileged Octaves of the First Order
- Common Octaves
- Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM
- Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph
- Octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
- Octave of Saints Peter and Paul
- Octave of All Saints
- Octave of the Assumption of the BVM
- Simple Octaves
- Octave of St. Stephen
- Octave of St. John the Apostle
- Octave of the Holy Innocents
Psalm 17: 19-20
Look Thou upon me , O Lord, and have mercy on me: for I am alone and poor.See my abjection and my labor and forgive me all my sins, O my God. (Ps. 24: 1,2) To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, my God, I put my trust: let me not be ashamed. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
COMMEMORATION OF THE OCTAVE OF THE SACRED HEART - Let us pray. O God, Who in the Heart of Thy Son, wounded by our sins, dost mercifully vouchsafe to bestow upon us the boundless treasures of Thy love: grant, we beseech Thee, that we who now render Him the service of our devotion and piety, may also fulfill our duty of worthy satisfaction. Through the same our , Lord Jesus Christ who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
I Peter 5: 6-11
Lesson from the first Epistle of Blessed Peter the Apostle. Dearly Beloved, Be you humbled under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in the time of visitation casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you. Be sober and, watch, because, your adversary the, devil, as, a roaring lion, goeth about seekinq whom he may devour, Whom resist ye, strong in faith knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto the eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. To Him be glory and empire for ever and ever, Amen. Thanks be to God.
Cast thy care upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee. V. When I cried to the Lord He heard my voice, from them that draw near to me.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 7: 12) God is a just judge, strong and patient: is He angry every day? Alleluia.
Luke 15: 1-10
At that time, the publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus to hear Him: and the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them. And He spoke to them this parable, saying: " What man is there of you that hath a hundred sheep, and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders rejoicing and coming home, call together his friends and neighbors, saying to them; Rejoice with me because I have found my sheep that was lost? I say to you that even so there shall be joy in Heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need no penance. Or what woman having ten groats, if she lose one groat doth not light a candle and sweep the house,and seek diligently until she find it? And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbors, saying: Rejoice with me because I have found the groat which I had lost? So I say to you, there shall be joy before the Angels of God upon one sinner doing penance."
Psalm 9: 11, 12, 13
Let them trust in Thee who know Thy name, O Lord: for Thou hast not forsaken them that seek Thee; sing ye to the Lord, Who dwelleth in Sion: for He hath not forgotten the cry of the poor.
COMMEMORATION OF THE OCTAVE OF THE SACRED HEART Have regard, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to the inexpressible love of the Heart of Thy beloved Son: so that what we offer may be a gift acceptable to Thee, and an expiation for our offenses.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE (Preface of the Sacred Heart) - It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God Who didst will that Thine only-begotten Son, while hanging on the Cross, should be pierced by a soldier's spear, that the heart thus opened, a shrine of divine bounty, should pour out on us streams of mercy and grace, and that what never ceased to burn with love for us, should be a resting-place to the devout, and open as a refuge of salvation to the penitent. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:
Luke 15: 10
I say to you: there is joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.
POST COMMUNION -May Thy holy Gifts, O Lord, which we have received, give us life: and having purified us, prepare us for thine everlasting mercy. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. R. Amen.
COMMEMORATION OF THE OCTAVE OF THE SACRED HEART -Let us pray. May Thy holy mysteries, O Lord Jesus, impart to us divine fervor: whereby having tasted the sweetness of Thy most loving heart, we may learn to despise earthly things, and to love what is heavenly: Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.