The Sacred Hearts

sacredheart sacred-heart-of-mary For some reason I’ve been thinking about pictures of Jesus and Mary that I can remember from my childhood lately. The style I remember most from the homes of the older members of my family are all of the sacred heart of Jesus and the sacred heart of Mary, usually 8 x10 or larger hung or displayed next to each other. The illustrations here are not exactly like a remember but very similar. The prints in my memory are all very pastel, because they were all faded with age.

It struck me today how long its been since I’ve seen these once ubiquidous images. The reason is simple. I belong to a protestant church now and neither of these images are used. While protestant churches avoid pictures of Mary, they don’t use images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus either. I don’t know why as the sacred heart of Jesus is a symbol of the love of God. Anyone know why Protestants avoid the image of the sacred heart?


3 thoughts on “The Sacred Hearts

  1. Sure—they’re not in our heritage. The theologies/spiritualities of the sacred heart appeared in the post-Counter-Reformation age and were never part of our tradition to begin with. It’s like asking why we don’t do the seder: it was developed after we left…

  2. There appears to be some evidence that the immaculate heart of Mary / sacred heart of Mary was referred to before the Reformation. It didn’t have its own feast day but the concept was there. Indeed Catholic sources point to the focus of the Gospel of Luke on the heart of Mary, referring to Mary pondering in her heart in a couple of places and of course, to Simeon’s prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart/soul. The Catholic encyclopedia claims that Thomas Becket included the sacred heart of Mary as part of his devotion to the joys and sorrows of Mary. (

    The Catholic Encyclopedia also claims that devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had begun by the 11th to 12th century – they point to the writings of St Bernard, St Gertrude and St Machtilde.

    Granted these particular iconic symbols may not predate the Reformation. I’m also surprised it wasn’t imported into the Episcopal church by the Anglo-Catholics.

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