Prayer is of the heart for the heart is the place of encounter
One reason why the Sacred Heart of Jesus is singled out for solemn devotion is because of the human struggle with loneliness:
In what does the human being’s wretchedness actually consist? We can say that the root of the human being’s wretchedness is loneliness, is the absence of love — is the fact that my existence is not embraced by a love that makes it necessary. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the antidote. The 11th-century St. Peter Damien wrote:
It is in this adorable Heart that we find all the weapons necessary for our defense; all the remedies proper for the cure of our evils, all the most powerful aids against the assaults of our enemies, all the sweetest consolations to solace our sufferings, all the purest delights to fill our souls with joy. Are you afflicted? Do your enemies persecute you? Does the remembrance of your past sins trouble you? Do you feel your heart agitated by uneasiness, fear of passion? Go and throw yourself, so to speak, into the arms of Jesus Christ. Enter into his Sacred heart. It is a sanctuary, a retreat for holy souls, a place of refuge where our souls are in perfect safety.
Nothing pleases Jesus more. “The supreme longing of Jesus’ Sacred Heart,” noted Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, “is that he should be admitted to that inner secret chamber of the soul where the human being is most himself, and therefore most utterly alone.” Pope Benedict XVI encouraged us: “God’s heart calls to our hearts, inviting us to come out of ourselves, to forsake our human certainties, to trust in him and, by following his example, to make of ourselves a gift of unbounded love.”
Let’s follow Pope Francis’s excellent counsel: “Now is the time to say to Jesus: Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.”
And we can do so by praying a prayer like this.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I love you and I want to love you more.
I want to love you the way you love me.
By the grace of your Sacred Heart, help me to be true to my heart.
For the heart is the dwelling-place where I live —
let me live in your love; please always remain close to me,
especially in my loneliness.
The heart is my hidden center, the place to which I withdraw —
when I am anxious, or doubtful, or beset with sorrow,
let me know the comfort of your Presence.
The heart is the place of decision, the place of truth,
where we choose life or death —
give me the grace always to live in the truth,
especially when upset by confusion or lost in delusion.
Give me the courage to stop telling myself lies
that I really do not believe in.
The heart is the place of encounter, the place of covenant —
please allow nothing but you and my relationship with you
to be the measure of my life.
Open my heart to receive all your love.
Embolden my heart to trust you always.
Enlarge my heart and make me generous in charity towards all those I meet,
especially the poor, the lonely, and all those in need,
with the matchless transforming attention found only in your Sacred Heart.