(August 18, 2020)

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion practiced especially within traditional circles in the Catholic Church. The Sacred Heart exhibits the boundless love that the Trinity has for all humans. 

Let me repeat – ALL humans. 

One cannot truly be devoted to the Heart of Jesus if one’s own heart holds inequitable beliefs regarding a person’s race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

One especially cannot be devoted to the Heart of Jesus if one is actively causing injustice, is a beneficiary of injustice, or is diverting one’s eyes from injustice. 

If one cannot love all people and recognize the dignity in all people, then one cannot love with the love of Christ, nor can one truly love Christ.

The Heart of Jesus is not only one of boundless love, but one of boundless compassion – a Heart that “suffers with” His suffering people. 

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed.” (Psalm 34:19)

Therefore, the Lord suffers with:

  • The murdered George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery
  • The murdered Eric Garner and Michael Brown
  • The murdered Trayvon Martin
  • The murdered and injured members of the LGBTQ community at the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida
  • The refugees turned away from borders
  • The children held in detention camps near the US-Mexico Border
  • The “illegal immigrants” being deported from the US
  • Persons, especially women and children, exploited through human trafficking.

The Lord is with all of these people, and with the many more who suffer because of the color of their skin, the language they speak, the place they were born, and the orientation and gender they identify as. 

Black Lives Matter to the Sacred Heart.

Immigrants matter to the Sacred Heart.

LGBTQ people matter to the Sacred Heart.

Women and Children matter to the Sacred Heart.

If one is not with those who suffer, one is not with the Lord. Jesus holds each and every one of these injustices in His Heart.

If one wishes to be devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, one cannot do so without being devoted to His entire Heart, which loves all people, suffers with all of those experiencing injustice, and is especially close to the marginalized.

Therefore, devotion to the Sacred Heart is inauthentic and incomplete if it does not lead to action against injustice.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on ALL of Us.

More from new Novena US contributor Matt Kappadakunnel:

Amid controversy at Sojourners, on racism it’s the US Conference of Censoring, Cowardly Bishops

Calling out “call-outs”: how to bring charity to the social justice movement and why it’s important

Before ‘unfriending’, hit the pause button: an Ignatian approach to ideological differences on social media

Done with Dolan: New York’s cardinal is unfit to serve as a Church leader

USA: A house of divided bishops cannot stand against racism


Matt Kappadakunnel has a background in investment management and investment banking. Additionally, Matt spent multiple years studying to be a Catholic priest. He is a graduate of Creighton University and is a CFA Charterholder. Matt lives in Los Angeles with his wife and toddler, and they are expecting a newborn in November.