Herald of the Sacred Heart

The mysteries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus have been called the "treasure" which was reserved for latter times. But it seems that Our Lord did not for the time decreed by His infinite wisdom for the revelation of His Sacred Heart to the world since He appeared to St. Gertrude, revealing the Divine-human love of His Heart. He made her the herald of this grace-filled devotion which would not be revealed world wide for another 400 years. His adorable Heart was shown to her as a rich treasury; at another time as a harp of the Holy Ghost, the the melody of which ravishes all of Heaven. The again It was shown to be a fountain of plentiful waters that refresh the Souls in Purgatory, that strengthen the just on earth, and fill the blessed in Heaven with delight. Again, she beheld It as a golden thurible, from whence many different kinds of fragrant incense ascend to the Triune God just as there are different races of men upon earth.

And again He revealed His Heart "as an altar upon which the sacrifices of the faithful, the homage of the elect, and the worship of the Angels are offered, and on which Jesus, the Eternal High Priest, offers Himself in sacrifice." [16]

One year on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, St. Gertrude [during Matins] rendered great praise the disciple whom Jesus loved above the rest of His Apostles Jesus appeared to her, accompanied by Saint John, whom He anointed her special protector. St. John instructed Gertrude about many mysteries, which provided her with precious graces. St. John stood to the left, and St. Gertrude to the right of our Savior. As they reposed on the sanctuary of His Heart, this dialogue took place between them:

"Well-beloved of the Lord, did these harmonious beatings which rejoice my soul also rejoice thine when thou didst repose during the Last Supper on the bosom of the Savior?"

"Yes, I heard them, and my soul was penetrated with their sweetness even to its very center."

"Why, then, hast thou spoken so little in thy Gospel of the loving secrets of the Heart of Jesus?"

"My mission was to write of the Eternal Word.  . . but the language of the blissful pulsations of the Sacred Heart is reserved for latter times, that the time-worn world, grown cold in the love of God, may be warmed up by hearing of such mysteries."

It was on the same Feast four centuries later, in 1673, that Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary, showing His Divine Heart enveloped by flames of love, telling 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."

Once, while Saint Gertrude was saying the Divine Office, she had taken great pains to sing the words and notes with devotion, although she did not do so perfectly out of human frailty. "Ah!" she thought sadly, "what gain will come to me from such exertion to which is attached such great inconstancy?"

Our Lord then showed to her His Divine Heart, saying: "Behold, I manifest to the gaze of thy soul My deified Heart, the harmonious instrument whose sweet tones ravish the Most Adorable Trinity. I give It to thee, and like a faithful, zealous servant, this Heart will be ready, at any moment, to repair thy defects and negligences . . . Make use of It and thy works will charm the eye and ear of the Divinity." [17]

Gertrude was perplexed at this generosity of her Spouse because she thought it too great a condescension for the adorable Heart to continually supply for her defects. Jesus consoled and encouraged her by this comparison:

"If thou hast a beautiful and melodious voice, and takest much pleasure in chanting, wilt thou not feel displeased if another person whose voice is harsh, wishes to sing in thy stead, and insists on doing so? Thus My Divine Heart, understanding human inconstancy, desires with incredible ardor to be continually invited, either by words or signs, to operate and accomplish in thee what thou art unable to accomplish thyself. Its omnipotence enables My Heart to act without trouble. Its impenetrable wisdom enables It to act in the most perfect manner. And Its joyous and loving charity makes It ardently desire to accomplish this end." [18]

  This surely must be among the most beneficial revelations ever given to any Saint. St. Gertrude made good use of it by daily offering all her exercises in union with the Sacred Heart. This was particularly so when she felt incapable of thanking God for some grace. At these times she  implored the Sacred Heart of Jesus to render worthy praise and thanksgiving in her place. And He permitted her to see His loving Heart give worthy thanks to the Blessed Trinity in the name of all mankind.

St. Gertrude was also the instrument that drew from the Sacred Heart countless graces for others. Jesus told her: "They may draw forth all they need from My Divine Heart."


1. One time, when St. Gertrude was discouraged at prayer, Our Lord encouraged her to have great confidence in His Divine Heart, inviting her to present herself before Him, like Esther before Assuerus:

"What dost thou command, My sovereign?" The Saint answered: "I ask, O Lord, that Thy most amiable Will may be fully accomplished in me." Then Jesus, naming to her one after another the persons who had recommended themselves to her prayers, said: "What dost thou ask for this soul and for this, and for that other, who claim more especially thy prayers?" Gertrude answered: "I only ask, O Lord, that Thy Will may be perfectly accomplished in them. All my desire and my delight is to see Thee fully satisfied in me and in all Thy creatures." "My Heart," replied Jesus, "is so touched with that confiding abandonment of thy heart to My holy Will, that it will itself supply for whatever may have hitherto been wanting in thy life in this respect, and will henceforth love thee as if thy whole life had been perfectly conformed to My good Pleasure." [19]

Let us follow her example and desire only the accomplishment of the Will of God in ourselves and in others; in our own affairs and in those of the Church; in our works of zeal and in all that we have at heart. Let us have this sweet and all-abiding confidence and in abandonment to Our Lord's Divine mercy as St. Gertrude received from the Heart of Jesus: that He Himself  will supply all that has been wanting in us in this regard, "and accept all our past prayers as if they had been in perfect conformity with His holy Will; all our past actions as if they had been performed only to accomplish His desires; and all our past sufferings as if they had been accepted with perfect resignation." [20]

2. One night, St. Gertrude was suffering more than usual from a fever; she was anxious about the course of this malady. Jesus appeared to her, carrying health in His right hand and sickness in His left, offering her both that she might choose that which she preferred. Gertrude leaned towards His loving Heart, in which she knew the plenitude of every good resided, and answered: "Lord, I choose nothing, I desire only the good pleasure of Thy Heart." Then Jesus, causing a fountain, as it were, of grace to spring from His Heart, made it flow into that of Gertrude, saying: "Since thou renouncest thy own will to abandon it entirely unto Mine, I pour into thee all the sweetness and all the joy of My Divine Heart." [21]

Like this great Saint, us choose nothing, ask nothing, having all confidence in the all-wise, all-loving will of Our Lord Jesus. For He will choose what is best for us, and fill us with the sweet joy of His Heart; for there can be no greater happiness for a creature "than to give pleasure to His Creator, to be guided by His most amiable Will; and to confide all to His watchful Providence." [22]

3. One year, on the Feast of the Circumcision, when asked for spiritual New Year's gifts for her community, Our Lord told her: "If anyone will generously renounce his own will to seek only My good Pleasure, My Divine Heart will illuminate him with a vivid light to know My wishes. I will show him in what he has failed with regard to his Rule, which is the expression of My Will; and will atone with him for all his shortcomings. Like a good master instructing a dearly loved child, I will let him lean on My Heart, will gently point out to him his faults, will kindly correct what he has done amiss, and supply what he has neglected. And if, as a heedless child, he pays no attention to some points, I will attend to them for him, and make up what he has passed over. The New Year's gift most conducive to My glory that I can bestow on these souls is the desire to Please Me in all things, and confiding abandonment to My Divine Heart. I will grant them, with the atonement for all their failures of the past year, light and strength to conform themselves henceforward entirely to My holy Will." [23]

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

ONE of the last proofs of the tender and ever merciful Heart of Jesus, and a special encouragement given to us in the present trying times, is that of the devotion to "Our Lady of the Sacred Heart," the sweetest, most merciful Hope of the despairing.

Now let us look on what Saint Gertrude has given us on "Our Lady of the Sacred Heart."

By devotion to Our Lady under this beautiful title, we fulfill towards her, and in the most excellent way, the four aims of religious veneration:

We render Our Lady honor when thank her by the Heart of Jesus, which gives Itself to be, as it were, the organ of our universal worship; we beseech her for graces and ask God to pardon our sins through those titles dearest to her heart; by invoking her as Sovereign of the Heart of Jesus, we invoke her as the Queen of love and of mercy, who cannot resist being generous to us through this twofold and glorious prerogative.

First, what greater praise or bountiful thanks could we offer to Mary than those of the Heart of Jesus, by Which we  honor her?

On one of Our Lady's fasts, St. Gertrude chanted the office of our heavenly Queen, uniting herself to the Heart of Jesus. And while she did this, she saw Him draw to that Divine Heart, the praises expressed in the Psalms, and thence they flowed, unto the Blessed Virgin, His Mother.

At the antiphon, "Thou art all fair," Gertrude strove to "sing these sweet words by the very Heart of Jesus, in memory of the loving appellations and childlike praises He must have bestowed upon her in similar terms, during His mortal life. At this, stars of great brilliancy, symbolizing these praises, issued from the Heart of Jesus, and shed their luster on Our Lady. Some fell here and there upon the ground, and were collected by the citizens of Heaven, who presented them to Jesus with signs of inexpressible joy and admiration, Gertrude understood from this that the praises given to Our Lady by the Heart of Jesus are a source of unutterable glory and happiness to the Saints." [24]

All this time the Angels, uniting their voices asked: "Quæ est ista?"-----Who is she?-----and Jesus answered: "The most beautiful of the daughters of Jerusalem." This voice, issued from the harp of His Sacred Heart, whose chords "seemed touched by the Holy Spirit, and thus enabled to celebrate worthily the eminent glories of the Virgin Mother.

"Enraptured, as it were, with delight, Mary bent over the Heart of her most loving Son, and appeared to find therein the quiet of a peaceful sleep; but as the strophe, "O Gloriosa Domina," was sung, she raised herself, as if about to respond to her daughters' call, and extended her hand over them in token of motherly protection, and as if to assure them that, having all power over her Son's Heart, she would efficaciously guard them from their enemies." [25]

Let us follow along with St. Gertrude, and with as much humility as we are able and with her boundless confidence, gibe honor to Mary, who is our Mother, too, and by the Heart of her Divine Son, let us thank her, beseech her, and ask her forgiveness. "Whatever we do by her will be perfect. The more deeply we feel our unworthiness and inability to pay honor to this great Queen, the more firmly ought we to believe that in Jesus we can do all things. Let us offer to Mary His Sacred Heart. She will welcome our gift, and nothing will be wanting to our homage." [26]

Now for one more example of St. Gertrude, which will prove that Mary received what the Saint offered her through the Heart of Jesus, more favorably than all else. It was Christmas. Gertrude, who was ill in bed, saw the Angels of her Sisters offer their chants of devotion to the Queen of Heaven, with green branches.

"Alas! my sweet Mother!" she exclaimed; "why am I thus unworthy to unite my voice to those of my Sisters?" "Do not be troubled," answered Our Lady; "thy good will compensates for these apparent losses. No outward devotion, in fact, can please me so much as the intention which I see in thy heart, of praising me [according to thy custom], by the most tender Heart of my Son. As a proof of this, I will myself offer, in thy name, to the Blessed Trinity a branch, covered with flowers and fruits, and the three Divine Persons will accept it with delight." [27]

Thus, does Jesus offers us also His Sacred Heart, that we may render homage to Mary. He greatly desires that we should make use of it  as He intends; and in doing so we give Him joy, and win from Him graces: During the same office, Gertrude sang in spirit those words of the antiphon, "O quam pulchra es"-----How beautiful thou art-----directing them to Mary by the very Heart of Jesus, and He, in His manifest generosity, showed her His pleasure at this devotion, adding: "When the hour has come, I will return to thee the glory which now, in My Name, thou dost give to my beloved Mother." [28]

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17. Ibid., p. 28-29.
18. Ibid., p. 30.

20. Ibid.
21. Ibid.. 74.

22. Ibid.
23. Ibid.. 75.
24. LOVE, PEACE AND JOY, TAN BOOKS, pp. 191-192.
25. Ibid., p. 192.
26. Ibid., pp. 192-193.
27. Ibid., p. 193.
28. Ibid., p. 194.

Excerpts Published on the web with permission of Tan Books.

Forward for Saint Gertrude and the Holy Souls.


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