History of the Sacred Heart Devotions.
The History of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is rooted way back till St. John the Apostle and the Apostles. St. John was the Apostle known as the disciple whom Jesus loved; he was called the “Apostle of Love” he had the special privilege of reclining on the chest of Jesus at the Last Supper. He witness at the Cross a Lance pierced into Jesus side by a Roman Centurion.
Later on a few Centuries later, The Lord would appear to St. Gertrude the Great. St. Gertrude's mystical experiences with the Sacred Heart of Jesus as well as special prayers she penned in devotion to Him are contained in the Herald of Divine Love and 'The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude'.
Her famous prayer penned to The Sacred Heart of Jesus: "I salute thee, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and vivifying source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, ardent furnace of Divine love; Thou art the place of my repose and my refuge. Enkindle in my heart the fire of that ardent love with which Thine own is all inflamed; pour into my heart the great graces of which Thine is the source, and grant that my heart may be so closely united to Thine, that Thy will may be mine, and that my will may be eternally conformed to Thine, since I desire that henceforth Thy holy will may be the rule of all my desires and all my actions. Amen."
In 1673, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, showing her a vision of the now famous image of his Sacred Heart surrounded by flames of love. He said to her, "My Heart is so full of love for men that It can no longer contain the flames of Its burning love. I must discover to men the treasures of My Heart and save them from perdition." Although the Sacred Heart devotion was devoutly practiced by many saints and religious in the previous centuries, it was not yet widespread throughout the universal Church. This was the special mission given to St. Margaret Mary; to her Jesus revealed his desire for a stronger, increased, and widespread devotion to his Sacred Heart.
Later on Jesus would visit St. Faustina- The Divine Mercy devotion focuses on the infinite generous mercy of Jesus, he willingly gave himself up to reconcile us to God the Father. And in the quote above we see that this Divine Mercy is closely connected with his Sacred Heart, because it is from his great love that his infinite mercy pours out, just as it was due to the piercing of his heart on the cross that his blood and water poured out.
Devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus on First Fridays is a vital. Lord Jesus asks that Mankind would honour his Sacred Heart on all First Fridays, and make reparations to his Sacred Heart.