When Fr. Moreau founded Holy Cross he consecrated the brothers' society to St. Joseph, the sisters' society to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the priests were consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As a seminarian studying for the priesthood in Holy Cross I have begun to foster a devotion to the Sacred Heart in my own personal prayer. I can point to the seeds of this devotion forming during my Novitiate year in Cascade, Colorado. We would recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus every Friday following Daytime Prayer and then head off for our work period.
The litany seemed to awaken something in my own heart that made me want to know more about devotion to the Sacred Heart. I went investigating in our library and found a book that was an introduction to this particular devotion. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of the most wide-spread and popular devotions in the Catholic Church, but I had never really thought much about it prior to this weekly experience at the Novitiate. Yet as I sat and prayed with the image of Christ's Heart pouring out His Divine Love for us, I realized that this is the image that we encounter every time we go to Mass and receive the Eucharist, every time we offer penance and are forgiven, every time we sit quietly and let God whisper in our own hearts.
I realized that in many ways the Sacred Heart of Jesus was the source of my vocation and desire to be a priest. It wasn't a sudden, struck by lightning, heavens parting, and the Spirit descending type of moment, but one that God is most present in; a gentle, slow movement that builds over time. Every morning when my feet hit the floor I try and focus on the words, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me." Some mornings are more genuine than others, but this fosters the devotion on a daily basis. It's that one way that I can remind myself of the love of Jesus Christ that gives me strength for every day.
The life of a seminarian can be busy and filled with lots of commitments. Therefore it can be of great benefit to take the time and remind myself why I am here. In so many ways the Sacred Heart of Jesus is "that burning flame of zeal" as Fr. Moreau wrote that helps us to, "make God known, loved, and served, and thus save souls." In Holy Cross the Lord Jesus works with and through us to make manifest the Kingdom of God on earth. I pray that His Most Sacred Heart will always be with us, guiding us, and wrapping us in love. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Mr. Timothy Weed, C.S.C., is in his first year of temporary vows and Master of Divinity studies as a seminarian at Moreau Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame. Tim is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan.