Our church has a garish Sacred Heart statue. It makes me wonder why we are supposed to worship parts of the body of Jesus. Isn’t it enough just to worship the whole person? After all we don’t have a devotion to the sacred toes of Jesus.
The humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ are united in one person. We cannot therefore choose to worship only the “God bit” of Jesus and leave his humanity aside. We worship Him as one person, God made man. The language of this fundamental teaching about Our Lord was thrashed out in the early councils of the Church. In accordance with this teaching, Pope Pius XII explained in his encyclical letter Haurietis aquas, that the heart of Jesus, along with the rest of His body, is united to the person of the Divine Word and therefore should be given that worship which is due to the person of the Incarnate Son of God Himself.
Pope Pius XII went on to explain that the Sacred Heart of Jesus demands the highest worship in a particular way because it is “the natural sign and symbol of His boundless love for the human race”. We adore in the Sacred Heart the divine love of Christ, the love of His human will for our salvation, and the human feelings of love and affection which Our Lord showed in the Gospel. Our Lord makes God’s infinite love for us known in a way that we can readily understand and respond to with our own acts of love for Him.