The family is where salvation began when Mary said “yes” to the Lord and she and St. Joseph raised the Son of God. The family today is where the battle for goodness, truth, and beauty remains. The hearts of the Holy Family give us a beautiful example of how we should love and exist within a family. Many families for generations have placed their families under the protection and care under the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We particularly love The Messy Family Project's Play and Pray Challenge. But did you know that there are three hearts in which we can ask for intercession and grace?
The first, and one you may be most familiar with, is the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This devotion is tied to the physical heart of Jesus Christ. Shown with a flame, pierced with a sword, and circled by a crown of thorns, Christ’s heart burns of love for us. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus began in the eleventh century when the faithful meditated on the five wounds of Christ. It wasn’t until 1670 that the first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated. St. Mary Margaret Alacoque, at the same time, had visions of Jesus and He allowed her to rest her head on his Sacred Heart.
The second holy heart is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Many times it is depicted with a sword piercing the heart surrounded with roses. The sword indicates the pain she suffered during her life as Jesus’ mother and the roses represent her pure and loving heart. The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary became popularized by St. John Eudes, a French Priest with great love for the Blessed Mother.
The third and lesser known heart is the Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph. His heart is shown with lilies surrounding it, representing his chastity as the earthly father of Jesus. Frequently, his heart often has carpenter’s tools recognizing his trade as a worker and protector of the Holy Family. St. John Eudes also started this devotion back in the 1600s. While not based on doctrine like the Immaculate Heart or the Sacred Heart, many saints and doctors of the Church taught that St. Joseph also shares in the grace of having his body in heaven, making his heart as alive as theirs.*
These hearts, so uniquely their own and so beautifully intertwined, a gift for us and for our families. We ask the Lord to be under the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Most Chaste Heart of Joseph.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for Us!
Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph, Pray for Us!
*Q&A Devotion to the Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph, Fr. Hugh Barbour, O Praem. http://Catholic.com , accessed 10/2/2023