What is the First Nine Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
According to many popes of the last 100 plus years, there is no devotion more important to the life of the Church than a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the seventeenth century, Jesus came to a simple nun, a member of the Visitation Sisters, named Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. He asked her to promulgate a particular and specific devotion to His Sacred Heart in order to console it.
When Jesus asks mankind to do anything, we should honor the request with reverence and without hesitation.
Let’s go deeper: The Nine First Friday Devotion
Simply put, a “First Friday devotion” is the first Friday of every month marked by a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It should be noted here that Friday’s in general have a universal significance being as though Jesus died for mankind (and won man’s salvation) on a Friday. As such, every Friday throughout the year (not just Fridays during Lent) are designated as special days of penance stipulated by the Code of Canon Law: “The penitential days and times in the Universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent” (Canon 1250).
So how did this special “First Nine Friday” devotion come to be? History holds that at the end of the 17th century Our Lord appeared to now canonized Saint, Margaret Mary Alocoque, in 1647-1690. He asked her to spread devotion to His Most Sacred Heart on nine consecutive First Fridays in reparation for the sins of mankind as well as to show an extraordinary love to Him. In a letter written to her Mother Superior in May of 1688, St. Margaret Mary embarked on this request known as “The Great Promise of Our Lord,” and began promulgating the Nine First Friday devotion:
“On Friday during Holy Communion, He [Jesus] said these words to His unworthy slave … ‘I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that its all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on nine first Fridays of consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they will not die under My displeasure or without receiving their sacraments; My divine Heart making itself their assured refuge at the last moment.’”
Writing about Our Lord’s second appearance to her in 1674, St. Mary wrote:
“And He showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin into which Satan hurls such crowds of them, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification, and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure for Him all the honor and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which this Heart is the source. He should be honored under the figure of this heart of flesh, and its image should be exposed … He promised me that wherever this image should be exposed with a view to showing it special honor, He would pour forth His blessings and graces. This [First Friday] devotion was the last effort of His love that He would grant to men in these latter ages, in order to withdraw from them the empire of Satan which He desired to destroy, and this to introduce them into the sweet liberty of the rule of His love, which He wished to restore in the hearts of all those who should embrace this devotion.”
Requirements for the First Nine Friday Devotion
In order to meet the requirements for the First Friday Devotion, a person must on each First Friday of the month for nine consecutive months:
1.) Attend Holy Mass;
2.) Receive Holy Communion;
3.) Go to Confession (within eight days before or after the First Friday)
4.) *An hour of Eucharistic Adoration on the even of the First Friday of the month (if possible)
*When carrying out the aforementioned 3-4 required steps of this devotion, the communicant should have the primary intention of making reparation to the Sacred heart of Jesus for all the sinfulness and ingratitude of men.
The 12 Promises of Jesus
Our Lord made twelve specific promises to St. Margaret Mary regarding those who practice the Nine First Friday Devotion and maintain a deep devotion to His Sacred Heart. The Twelve Promises listed below include the “Great Promise” of Jesus in number 12:
1.) I will grant them all the graces necessary for their state of life (single, married, widowed, consecrated religious, diocesan priest, etc.);
2.) I will establish peace in their homes [families];
3.) I will console them in all their afflictions;
4.) They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death;
5.) I will pour out abundant blessings in all their undertakings;
6.) Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy;
7.) Tepid souls shall grow fervent;
8.) Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection;
9.) I will bless the homes in which an Image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored;
10.) I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts;
11.) Those who shall propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, never to be blotted out;
12.) The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge during that last hour (of their life).
Pray without Delay
Knowing that it is Jesus Himself Who has asked us to pray the First Nine Friday Devotion, and knowing the 12 Promises He has promised those who does it, we would be wise to begin this prayer (as well as the First Five Saturday Devotion) without delay. The next First Friday of the month, let us make a promise to our Lord that we will begin. If you do this, blessings will abound! We are with you in prayer.
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