As a person passionately in love with Jesus the Savior, it is no surprise that Eugene had a strong attachment to the devotion to the Sacred Heart. In 1819 he had made the Oblate Church of the Mission the center for this devotion in Aix. When he moved to Marseilles, he tried to return to Aix every month to be with the Oblate community on first Fridays.

… You know quite well what a pleasure it would be for me to spend the Feast of the Sacred Heart with you. But various reasons oblige me to be absent. In the first place a pastoral visitation has been fixed for the vigil and the day after ….

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 5 June 1833, EO VIII n 446

Now that he was a bishop, it appears that he was to preside at the procession through the city on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Pastoral commitments in Marseilles did not make this possible.

René Motte writes about how Eugene instilled a sense of the importance of the love of Jesus Christ in others.

Eugene is quoted as saying to Father Timon-David:

There is no need for me to recommend to you to develop in your young people a thorough understanding that in adoring Our Lord’s Sacred Heart, they should not so much focus their attention on this sacred object of their love as they should extend it to the living person of Jesus Christ who is present.

Blessed Joseph Gerard’s reaction to the news of Eugene’s last illness is one of many illustrations of this devotion when he wrote: “I have just learnt that your Lordship has fallen seriously ill […] We remember with edification your great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and we are going to appeal to this Sacred Heart with the most ardent confidence”.

(See R. Motte, “Sacred Heart” in )



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One Response to THE SACRED HEART

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Reflecting this morning with Eugene on the Sacred Heart I realize that I had for so many years an unspoken devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I would sit quietly in Church before the Blessed Sacrament – wanting to be as close as possible to my Beloved. Over and over I would ask God to help me empty my heart so that he might fill it with his own. Plain and simple words. As the years passed I would place myself before the tabernacle, with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as I looked up at and through the statue of the Sacred Heart – asking God to help me empty my heart, in fact to help me to empty all of myself so that he might fill my heart with his own and fill me with himself so all that would be within me would be Jesus with his heart at the centre. Believing myself to be the least worthy to receive such a gift I told no one – but I never let go of that desire and that prayer.

    Nothing fancy – a basic desire to turn to Jesus and adore him and note that within his heart was everything that I desired. The Sacred Heart of Jesus. The other day I wrote in my course notes that I “wanted it all”, and then raising every ounce of courage that I had I wrote that I wanted to put on Christ, to be Christ. My own desires and thoughts – they scared me.

    I look this morning up at my Beloved – my eyes meeting his and wanting to see through those eyes of love, reflecting on his most Sacred Heart that I have asked him to share with me, thinking of my daring to admit that still I want to put on Christ, to be Christ. The language I am finding within me – that scares me a little too – a fear mixed with awe and gratitude.

    “…they should not so much focus their attention on this sacred object of their love as they should extend it to the living person of Jesus Christ who is present.” The eyes, the heart, the entire being of Jesus – there is a small point of joy as I recognize how God, through the Holy Spirit has been forming me for so many years and it is all just deepening and coming to fruition with the Mazenodian Family.

    A secret grin of joy and gratitude fills me and I thank God and Eugene for bringing me here.

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