On this day we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In Haurietis Aquas, On Devotion to the Sacred Heart, Pope Pius XII refutes various objections to the devotion. Some regard it "as a kind of additional practice which each one may take up or not according to his own inclination". Some "see it rather a type of piety nourished not by the soul and mind but by the senses and consequently more suited to the use of women, since it seems to them something not quite suitable for educated men. Moreover there are those who consider a devotion of this kind as primarily demanding penance, expiation and the other virtues which they call 'passive,' meaning thereby that they produce no external results".
Pius XII quotes his predecessor, Pope Pius XI: "Is not a summary of all our religion and, moreover, a guide to a more perfect life contained in this one devotion?"
In spite of the explicit directions in Haurietis Aquas, devotion to the Sacred Heart has faded, gone the way of devotion to the Infant of Prague.
Pope John Paul II promoted the new devotion to Divine Mercy which has eclipsed the older devotion to the Sacred Heart. His writings on the Sacred Heart may be found in Holy Father, Sacred Heart, edited by Carl J. Moell, S. J., Crossroad, 2004. (No Look Inside feature.)
In the 2006 Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI On Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Encyclical "Haurietis Aquas", to the Most Reverend Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the Pope says "the devotion, which is totally oriented to the love of God who sacrificed himself for us, has an irreplaceable importance for our faith and for our life in love".
Click here for Wikipedia's excellent article on the Sacred Heart, which includes the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.