Today, the Church remembers Pope John XXIII who died on this date in 1963. For a man who was devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is a wonderful coincidence that this year the date of his death falls during the week when the Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This feast day is always celebrated 19 days after Pentecost, hence, it always falls on a Friday.This year it is celebrated on June 7th.
“It is to the Heart of Jesus that I dare go for the solution of all my problems.”
– Pope John XXIII in Journal of a Soul
The Holy Father had another devotion that was near and dear to his heart. Pope John wrote in an Apostolic Letter that his family used to recite the Litany in Honor of Jesus in His Most Precious Blood every day in July. On February 24, 1960, this devotion was promulgated by him for use by the whole Church. With this devotion, the bishops of the Church and all people are asked by St. Paul to remember: “Keep watch, then, over yourselves, and over God’s Church, in which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops; you are to be the shepherds of that flock which He won for Himself at the price of His own Blood” (Acts 20:28). It is appropriate to recite this devotion on Corpus Christi and/or any other day when one would like to meditate on the Blood shed by Our Lord as the price for our salvation. It is fitting that we pray this Litany during the week following Corpus Christi and prior to the Sacred Heart. Both feasts are a vivid reminder of Who we are receiving into our hearts during Holy Communion.
On his deathbed, the Holy Father, Bl. Pope John XXIII was heard to whisper these words of Peter twice: “Lord, you know that I love you.”
Let us love Him too with our whole hearts.