Devotion to the Sacred Head in a time of intellectual crisis

Guido Reni - Ecce Homo - WGA19302

The Servant of God Teresa Helena Higginson (1844-1905) was a British mystic. She was born in Holywell, and became a schoolteacher at Bootle in Lancashire. There is more information about her life at the Teresa Higginson website, and at the blog Teresa Higginson and the Sacred Head. What prompts me to draw attention to her is not so much her life, edifying though it is, but the devotion to the Sacred Head of Jesus which she promoted. (There is a website for Devotion to the Sacred Head.)

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was a providential answer to the crisis caused by Jansenism. That heresy involved a denial of the greatness of the love of Christ and tended to restrict people from receiving that love through the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion.

Since the French revolution, the enlightenment, or whenever you wish to mark its origin, the prevailing heresy, growing in strength, sophistication and audacity, has been an assault on the truth of the faith, an intellectual attack on the wisdom communicated to the Church by Christ. Its "official" name in the Church is modernism, the synthesis of all heresies spoken of by Pope St Pius X.The saintly Pope was right: there is not an area of theology, scripture study, morality, or ascetical teaching that is not affected.

The devotion to the Sacred Head of Our Lord seems to me a fitting response to this intellectual crisis in the Church. Our Lord's Sacred Heart is honoured as the seat of human and divine love, united in the one person of Christ; His Sacred Head can be honoured as the seat of human and divine wisdom. The Sacred Head of Christ was crowned with thorns: a symbolic anticipation of the contempt in which His divine teaching is now held.

In 1938, the cause for Teresa Higginson was halted by the Holy Office. The judgement was non expedit (it is not expedient) which effectively stopped the cause from progressing, but did not definitively end it. In the case of St Faustina and the devotion to the Divine Mercy, the judgement was reponatur which is a more severe judgement, putting the cause aside permanently. As we know, St Faustina has now been canonised and the Divine Mercy devotion approved warmly by the Holy See. So it is legitimate hope and pray for a renewed progress in the cause of Teresa Higginson and the devotion to the Sacred Head.

I think now would be a good time.

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