As Ghanaians plant millions of trees today June 11, Catholics are also marking the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Every year, Catholics all over the World celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on the Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ).
This year’s solemn celebration by Catholics all over the world including Ghanaians falls today June 11, a day the government of Ghana has also dedicated for the planting of trees. Indeed, the institution of the Day has made Catholics more faithful and devoted and this year’s is unique because Devotees of the Sacred Heart and Catholics in general will become ambassadors of clean environment.
Besides, the Day is used as the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. When the Lord appeared before St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675, he requested three things from humanity, frequent reception of the Holy Communion, receiving it especially on the first Friday of each month “and observing a Holy Hour in front of Blessed Sacrament.”
It must be borne in mind that God does not lose heart because of man’s ingratitude and that was why He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus to sacrifice His life for mankind. Concerning the Feast, Pope Francis reminds Priests of Jesus’ invitation to “abide in love” is addressed to all the baptized.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also states that “The Priesthood is love of the Heart of Jesus, (N.1589).” pointing out that Priests were consecrated to serve humbly yet authoritatively. It emphasised that to abide in Him, entails constantly striving for holiness as did St. John Mary Vianney.
During the Feast, Ghanaian Catholics are encouraged by the National Sacred Heart Enthronement Centre to pray insensitively for the sanctification of Priests and do solemn devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Sacred Heart Enthronement Centre, Ghana, has urged Catholics to devote the Month of June to pray and offer their spiritual, material and financial support for the welfare of Priests.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart is a total commitment to God as the God of merciful love. It is a form of spirituality that is distinctly Christocentric, with a deep awareness of the presence of Christ especially in one’s neighbour, the Word, the Eucharist and through the Holy Spirit. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus focuses attention on the physical Heart as the symbol of Jesus’ redemptive love.
Although tradition often situates the beginning of the practice of the devotion to the year 1000 AD, it might be more accurate to place its birth during the time of the great mystics. [St. Anselm and St. Bernard] between 1050 and 1150.
By the middle ages, because of a strong emphasis on the passion of our Lord and because of the efforts of St. Bonaventure and St. Gertrude the Great, the devotion became popularised as a means of worshiping the mystery of Christ living in the Church.
The devotion was promoted by great Saints, including St. Albert the Great, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis de Sales, as well as the Great Religious Orders such as the Benedictines, the Dominicans and Carthusians.
However, the Saint who is most often associated with the devotion is St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690). After she received the vision of the Sacred Heart, which popularized the devotion, she was scorned by her Mother Superior who thought her to be delusional.
As the Solemnity falls on the same day the government of Ghana is embarking on a GREEN GHANA PROJECT to plant 5million Trees , Newswatchgh.com calls on Devotees of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Catholics in general to be merciful to the earth by joining in the fight against the indiscriminate destruction of the environment which had become a nuisance to society.
In our view, the abuse of the earth, should be a worry to all, hence we appeal to all to be merciful to the earth by avoiding the unprecedented destruction of the environment. As Catholics, we need to be reminded that the environment is God’s handiwork and protecting it will be an indication of being faithful to God.
We, the newswatcgh.com team, therefore, urge the Devotees of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Catholics to become ambassadors of clean environment by also decrying the persistent pollution of water bodies, the littering of plastic waste everywhere, the careless felling of trees in our forests and savannah area and the rampant mining operations in towns and villages.