Rorate Caeli

Draw the living waters - 60 years of Haurietis Aquas - I

100 years after Pope Blessed Pius IX had extended the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the Universal Church, Pope Pius XII, of most glorious memory, decided to celebrate the occasion with one of the brightest lights of his pontificate, the Encyclical Letter Haurietis Aquas, signed on May 15, 1956.

As he usually did with the greatest themes (the Church, in Mystici Corporis Christi; the Sacred Liturgy, in Mediator Dei), he presented a true guidebook to the subject: one may safely say that all one needs to know and admire, all doubts and misunderstandings, all issues related to this most august object of adoration, the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, are answered in this Encyclical.

Are you in trouble? Draw the waters of Haurietis Aquas. Are you distressed? Read a few pages of this document bursting with love. Are you desperate regarding the interminable crisis of Holy Mother Church? Feel the balm of Divine Charity expressed by the elegant and assuring words of a great Pontiff.

Alas, many faithful have never read the whole Encyclical (these days, one may safely say many have not even heard of it). Therefore, as we are wont to do in these anniversaries, we will present little aspects of this encyclical in a series so you may feel encouraged to meditate on the wonders of the Sacred Heart and read the entire document -- or re-read it, if that should be the case.


The text of the encyclical is particularly dedicated to those who view the devotion to the Sacred Heart as something quaint and distant. It is dedicated to those men who view this devotion as "more suited to the use of women", when it is truly a universal devotion of adoration of Divine Charity incarnate, suited to all. It is dedicated to the learned who believe this devotion is "not quite suitable for educated men".

"We therefore urge all Our children in Christ, both those who are already accustomed to drink the saving waters flowing from the Heart of the Redeemer and, more especially those who look on from a distance like hesitant spectators, to eagerly embrace this devotion. Let them carefully consider, as We have said, that it is a question of a devotion which has long been powerful in the Church and is solidly founded on the Gospel narrative. It received clear support from tradition and the sacred liturgy and has been frequently and generously praised by the Roman Pontiffs themselves. These were not satisfied with establishing a feast in honor of the most Sacred Heart of the Redeemer and extending it to the Universal Church; they were also responsible for the solemn acts of dedication which consecrated the whole human race to the same Sacred Heart."

It is a particularly appropriate devotion for this age in which "the machinations of evil men" abound; evil men "who, as if instigated by Satan himself, are now more than ever zealous in their open and implacable hatred against God, against the Church and above all against him who on earth represents the Person of the divine Redeemer and exhibits His love towards men", the Roman Pontiff, "the Vicar of His Love".

It is a devotion necessary in this age in which the Church seems to be filthy; that is not so: she remains spotless and young, but "not a few children of the Church mar, by their too many sins and imperfections, the beauty of this Mother's features which they reflect in themselves".

"When so many evils meet Our gaze - such as cause sharp conflict among individuals, families, nations and the whole world, particularly today more than at any other time - where are We to seek a remedy, venerable brethren?"

"Can a form of devotion surpassing that to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be found, which corresponds better to the essential character of the Catholic faith, which is more capable of assisting the present-day needs of the Church and the human race?"

"What religious practice is more excellent, more attractive, more salutary than this, since the devotion in question is entirely directed towards the love of God itself?"

None. This devotion to the Love Who became flesh, that Heart which first beat in the Immaculate Ark, is more than ever necessary.

Cor Iesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis!