Catholic Pocket Dictionary – Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart of Jesus stained glass window, Saint Joseph's Cathedral, Macon, Georgia, USA; artist unknown; photographed by the author, summer 2003Also known as

  • Sacred Heart


The faithful worship with supreme adoration the physical Heart of Christ, considered “not as mere flesh, but as united to the Divinity.” They adore it as “the Heart of the Person of the Word to which it is inseparably united.” This truth is as old as the belief in the hypostatic union, and it was solemnly defined in 431 at the Council of Ephesus. All the members of Christ united to the rest of His sacred humanity and to the Eternal Word are the object of divine worship. If it be asked further why the heart is selected as the object of special adoration, the answer is, that the real and physical heart is a natural symbol of Christ’s exceeding charity, and of His interior life. Just as the Church in the middle ages turned with singular devotion to the Five Wounds as the symbol of Christ’s Passion, so in these later days she bids us have recourse to His Sacred Heart, mindful of the love wherewith He loved us “even to the end.”

The special and formal devotion to the Heart of Jesus owes its origin to the Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, who lived in the latter part of the seventeenth century.

MLA Citation

  • Father James J McGovern. “Heart of Jesus”. Catholic Pocket Dictionary, 1906. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 November 2019. Web. 5 March 2021. <>