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Catholic Dictionary




Formal dedication of oneself, of one's family, community, society, or even of the whole human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. consecration implies a total surrender to the Savior in gratitude for his blessings in the past and as a pledge of fidelity in the future. One of the oldest known acts of consecration and reparation to the Sacred Heart dates from the fifteenth century and was popularized by the Benedictine monks at the Abbey of St. Matthias at Trier in the German Rhineland. After St. Margaret Mary, the practice of consecration to the Heart of Jesus became widespread in the Catholic world. Personal consecration of the individual can be made often and informally and, in fact, the Morning Offering of the Apostleship of Prayer is a daily act of consecration. Family consecration has been strongly recommended by the modern popes, e.g., Pope Pius XII, who declared, "It is our heartfelt desire that the love of Jesus Christ of which His Heart is the fountain, should again take possession of private and public life. May our divine Savior reign over society and home life through His law of love. That is why we make a special appeal to Christian families to consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart." Group consecrations go back to at least 1720, when the city of Marseilles, through its bishop and civil officials, made the dedication. Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart in 1899 in anticipation of the Holy Year at the turn of the century. In 1925, Pope Pius XI ordered a formal Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to be publicly recited annually on the feast of Jesus Christ the King.