For the final week of the Secrets of the Sacred Heart Book Club, Allison Gingras describes how devotion to the Sacred Heart changed her life.
One of the first things I did when I returned to the Catholic faith — establish a "saint posse" for myself. Drawn to saints tied to Catholic devotions, the Sacred Heart devotion and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque joined the team relatively early in my "reversion." As a person who struggles with anxiety, devotions with promises from Jesus speak to my heart. I thought I understood well the "peace, protection, and joy" of making the Sacred Heart of Jesus the center of our home until I read Emily Jaminet's book Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Twelve Ways to Claim Jesus' Promises in Your Life. Emily's book personalized the promises, further endearing me to this powerful devotion.
For the Catholic Mom book club, my reflection of Secrets of the Sacred Heart covers promises #11 and #12. The Holy Spirit guided Emily on the ones to offer me because these two promises not only drew me to it initially but have also brought enormous comfort over the last sixteen years.
As a cradle Catholic, I began to fall away from practicing my faith shortly after Confirmation. A story played out in the young faithful far too often. Although catechized throughout my childhood, my religious education definitely lacked teaching several of the Catholic tradition's incredible devotions. Promise #11 speaks of how those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my heart; seems that alone should have been reason enough for including it in the curriculum, no?
My return to the Catholic Church began after an ectopic pregnancy nearly took my life. The frightful experience unearthed how far from God I had drifted and sparked a desire to establish a right relationship with Him. I searched for devotions that would not only help me grow in faith but would settle my heart each time it grew anxious at each person's inevitable passing. Hence the immediate draw to learn more about The Sacred Heart of Jesus, particularly the First Friday devotion, after reading Promise #12, offered Jesus' heart as my safe haven in my last moments.
As Emily points out about the First Friday observation,
There is nothing magical or superstitious about it. Rather participating in this aspect of the Sacred Heart devotion is a natural expression of a heart that is already attuned to God. Jesus wants to keep this love relationship going, day after day, month after month, not just after a consecration or enthronement, but throughout our lives until the moment we rest our head on his heart in heaven.
The devotion brought me closer to Jesus through participating in extra Masses throughout the year, clinging to the promises, and trying to model the saint who brought forth the devotion. It took me a few tries to complete the nine consecutive First Fridays; however, I was happy to see Emily share, she too, trusts Jesus sees our effort, knows our desire to do so, and therefore, blesses every effort.
Speaking of my best efforts, one of the ways I share First Friday devotion and keep myself accountable is by using my social media. My posts merely invite or remind (and sometimes educate on how) to participate each month. The simplest evangelizing methods are the most effective, especially those connected to so many phenomenal promises!
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Copyright 2021 Allison Gingras
Images courtesy of Ave Maria Press
About the Author
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." She shares the Catholic faith with honesty, humor, and experiences from every life. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization, and a Social Media Consultant for the Fall River Diocese and CatholicMom.com.