In 2005, during the Year of the Eucharist, the Lord blessed me with an experience which I first wrote about here, and in more detail here. As appalling as it may seem to some of you, even as a life-long Catholic and one who had always attended Catholic schools, I had never before heard the term “Eucharistic Heart” of Jesus. In terms of faith and intellect since childhood, I knew that the Eucharist was the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, and had become even more aware of this through the Divine Mercy devotion. Yet during 2005, when I might have been delving more fully into this as an outcome of celebrating the Year of the Eucharist, instead I found myself yearning after the Sacred Heart. In His love and mercy, the Lord blessed me with a visual experience of His Sacred Heart and the white orb around it turning into a chalice and host, and allowed this knowledge to enter into my heart. I was overcome to say the least, and although my heart fully accepted the truth of the Sacred Heart and the Eucharist as being one, my mind still wanted to know more… (There is always so much to learn – for example, I didn’t even know there was a feastday of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus until just today when I read about it here on Father Mark’s blog, Vultus Christi). I wanted to know more about it from a theological point of view; I wanted to know what the Church taught about it; I wanted objective confirmation that what I saw was what the Church actually taught.
I didn’t quite know where to begin at the time, but God works in mysterious and delightful ways. Not long afterwards, I was at a rummage sale in our church hall. As always, I headed immediately to the used-book table, where my eyes fell on a volume entitled, “The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood“, by Mother Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche (1868-1915). I was drawn like a magnet to it and purchased it, even though I had never heard of the author and I am not a priest… [Note: This is a truly remarkable book for everyone, not just priests.]
I will be quoting a lengthy excerpt here, but I think you will understand why. My joy was indescribable, to know that the Lord would not only lead me to someone so quickly who wrote beautifully on the subject (very shortly afterwards I was also led to read Father John Hardon), but that He would do so in order to confirm the experience He had blessed me with:
The Sacred Heart is Jesus Christ whole and complete, God and Man, the Word Incarnate. It is not only His Heart of flesh beating in His Breast, that meek and humble Heart, which we adore as the symbol or the organ of His incomparable love, It is His whole Being, divine and human; His Divinity, His Soul, His Body, each of the sacred Members; all His thoughts, His acts, His divine words….
The devotion to the Blessed Eucharist and the devotion to the Sacred Heart are two sister devotions. They are so intimately united, they complete each other so perfectly, that the one calls for the other, as if necessarily….
If we have devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus we shall try to find It in order to adore It, to love It, to offer to It our reparations and our praises; and where shall we seek It, if not in the Blessed Eucharist where It is found living eternally? If we love this adorable Heart, we shall desire to unite ourselves to It, for love seeks union; we shall wish to warm up our hearts again with the burning heat of this divine fire.
But to reach this Sacred Heart, to take hold of It, to put It in contact with our own, what shall we do? Shall we scale heaven to carry away the Heart of Jesus triumphant in Its glory? Doubtless, we shall not. We shall go to the Blessed Eucharist, we shall go to the Tabernacle, we shall take the white Host, and when we have enclosed It in our breasts, we shall feel the divine Heart truly beating beside ours.
Devotion to the divine Heart infallibly leads souls to the Blessed Eucharist, and faith and devotion to the Blessed Eucharist necessarily lead souls to discover the mysteries of Infinite Love of which the divine Heart is the organ and symbol….
The Sacred Heart, the Blessed Eucharist, Love, are one and the same thing!
[The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood: Mother Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche, pgs. 183-185]