The First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart holy card from Freance
French Sacred Heart of Jesus holy card

Welcome to the third of our seven pages introducing the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, written for this site by Kim Buck.

Below you will find an Introduction to the series—which features links to further pages on different aspects of the Devotion. Or you can navigate through the series using this list of links:

Table of Contents

  1. An Introduction to the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (this current page)
  2. The Holy Hour of Reparation
  3. The First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  4. The Annual Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  5. Exposition of the Image of the Sacred Heart
  6. Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home
  7. Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Various internal links in this series will also take you to further articles of relevance at this site (for example long articles about St Margaret Mary and St. Claude La Colombière). There is also an archive of posts devoted to the Sacred Heart (here).

About the First Friday

We first find reference to the First Friday Devotion in the Second Great Apparition, where the Sacred Heart of Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque at Paray-le-Monial in France, during 1674.

My Own Video on the Sacred Heart Devotion—Article Continues Below

Whilst in this Apparition, He spoke in detail of His wishes for the Holy Hour (see previous entry here).

Our Lord initially spoke very little about the First Friday. In fact, all He said was:

Thou shalt, moreover, communicate on the First Friday of each month.

St. Margaret Mary readily obeyed and began to receive Holy Communion each First Friday.

It was years later, during Holy Mass on the First Friday in May 1688, that she heard these words spoken to her by her Divine Saviour:

I promise you, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that Its all-powerful love will grant all those who communicate on nine consecutive first Fridays of the month the grace of final repentance. They will not die in My disfavour nor without receiving the sacraments. My Divine Heart shall be their secure refuge in their last moments.

Unfortunately, there has been much theological dispute regarding this promise of the nine consecutive First Fridays. Objection has been made to the seeming simplicity of the requirements requested by the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in that the “grace of final repentence” will automatically be granted to all those who communicate on these nine consecutive First Fridays. Does this not seem all too easy?

Sacred Heart - First Friday
Sacred Heart

But if we consider the matter in greater depth, we will find that it is not something simplistic and automatic that Our Lord expects here, but rather something more.

It involves receiving Holy Communion worthily. This means to say, being in a state of grace: having confessed and received absolution.

It therefore requires a depth of surrender of heart, a humility and participation in the practise and meaning of the Devotions as a whole.

Another Video on My Journey to the Sacred Heart—Article Continues Below

In order to help us to understand more deeply the development of the First Friday Devotion let us look at the work of Father John Croiset, S.J..

It was he who became St. Margaret Mary’s confessor and Spiritual Advisor, following the death of St. Claude La Columbiere.  Like St. Claude, he dedicated his life to the spreading of the Devotion.

In fact, through a request received in a message to St. Margaret Mary, Our Lord asked that Father Croisset write a detailed manual on the new Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

It is this book, The Devotion to the Sacred Heart, that we refer to here. Regarding the First Friday Devotion Father Croiset writes:

The object of this devotion is to make our Saviour Jesus Christ ardently and perfectly loved, and to make reparation for the outrages offered to Him in the past, as well as for those which He daily receives in the Blessed Eucharist.

Sacred Heart window, Co. Tyrone, Ireland

Father Croiset also points out, as I have noticed through my years of practise of this Devotion, that many people begin preparation for the First Friday, on the Thursday preceding it.

On this first Thursday, the Holy Hour is more greatly emphasised and confession is often made, in order to worthily communicate on the First Friday – in a state of grace.

Thus, one may wish to seek out a suitable Priest, who practices the Devotion himself. Such a priest will likely offer a number of beautiful, devotional practices which have become associated with the First Friday over the last centuries.

These include: particular or special confession times prior to Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction, recitation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart. He may even celebrate a votive Mass for the Feast of the Sacred Heart each First Friday.  Others may  offer exposition throughout the night, into the First Saturday (dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary).

Following Father Croiset’s direction,  it is important to spend the First Fridays (as also with the Feast of the Sacred Heart) contemplating the outrages and sacrileges, which have caused Our Lord so much distress.

mural-st.claude la colombiere chapel
Mural of the Sacred Heart in the St. Claude La Colombiere chapel, Paray-le-Monial

Yet whilst the Sacred Heart revealed to St. Margaret Mary His suffering on account of our ingratitude, it is we who suffer most at being separated from Our Divine Lord. It is we who remain in sin, when we are not bathed in the Divine love, issuing forth from the Heart of Our Lord and Saviour.

Therefore, whilst Our Lord pleads with us to make amends, through Reparation to Him, we should remember that, whilst clearly pleasing Him, the effects of Communion and Reparation on the First Friday work to bring us back to Him.

They work to bring us back to the source of all life, to the Heart of God, present in the person of Jesus Christ: the Sacred Heart.

They work to make amends that will bring us and our fellowmen back into relationship with our means of salvation: Our loving Friend and God, Jesus Christ.

He is hurting because He has given us everything and we have not acknowledged this. We have in fact turned our backs on Him. Yet He gave us everything, not for Himself, but for us.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Preparing for the First Friday

First Friday call of Sacred Heart
To make the First Friday Devotion, let us prepare …

As we prepare ourselves to worthily celebrate this First Friday, let us think of these things. Let us think of how much Our Lord has loved us – so much so that He gave up His life for us. Let us recall how much He has given of Himself in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, to renew us, refresh us and to bring us eternal life and nourishment.

Let us think of something else as well. For in the Third Great Apparition to St Margaret Mary, Our Lord states that this incredible gift of the Eucharist is so often rejected – and even despised – by those grown cold in their hearts. Let us not forget this tragedy.

So how do we behave on this First Friday? Do we need confession, to worthily receive His Body and Blood in Holy Communion?

In what mind do we present ourselves for Holy Mass? How do we acknowledge His coming to us, as the Priest utters the words of consecration and Our Lord becomes present on the altar?

Let us look at how we approach the altar, to receive our Blessed Lord in His Sacrament. And once received, how do we express our gratitude?

The Sacred Heart of Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary, speaking of the ingratitude we men offer Him, in return for His ardent and passionate love for us. We have been ungrateful regarding His Sacred Heart, which is enflamed with passionate love. For it is, as the Litany of the Sacred Heart states, a ‘Burning furnace of Charity’.

As we begin the First Friday Devotions, let us look to the words of the Sacred Heart when He said:

My Divine Heart, is so inflamed with love for men … that, being unable any longer to contain within Itself the flames of Its burning Charity, It must needs spread them abroad … and manifest Itself to them (mankind) in order to enrich them with the precious treasures which I discover to thee, and which contain graces of sanctification and salvation necessary to withdraw them from the abyss of perdition.

Let us not forget these words of burning love for us and worthily receive Holy Communion each First Friday, being fully aware of all that Our Lord is asking of us, in terms of reparation and gratitude. Let us also be aware of the graces that are bestowed upon those who worthily receive Him in Holy Communion. With all this in mind, let us approach each and every First Friday, reverently, gratefully and with love.

Cor Jesu, fornax ardens caritatis, miserere nobis. 

(Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us.)

My Own Video on the Sacred Heart Devotion—Article Continues Below

Other Pages in this Section of our website introducing the Sacred Heart Devotion can be found with this:

Table of Contents

  1. An Introduction to the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  2. The Holy Hour of Reparation
  3. The First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  4. The Annual Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  5. Exposition of the Image of the Sacred Heart
  6. Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home
  7. Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Update 2017 and 2023:

I would just like to add to this page that my husband Roger Buck, now author of a book on the Sacred Heart (Cor Jesu Sacratissimum – here at Amazon worldwide) also has a two-part EWTN interview about his conversion to the Faith as well as the Sacred Heart.

The first part is more about the New Age (from which he converted) but in the second part he talks about our experiences on pilgrimage to Paray-le-Monial in France, experiences which completely changed both of our lives and led to the creation of this website dedicated to His Most Sacred Heart. 

The second part though is stand-alone—that is to say it stands by itself. You do not need to listen to the first part. You can easily skip to the second part which has many beautiful thoughts and insights about Paray-le-Monial and the Spirituality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Books from Roger Buck

Foreword for Monarchy by Roger Buck

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7 responses to “The First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus”

  1. […] the weekly Holy Hour and the monthly First Friday, this is the third and annual element of a Sacred Triad, called for by Our Lord in Paray-le-Monial, […]

  2. […] First of all, he convinced the Mother Superior of the authenticity of St. Margaret Mary’s experiences. He preached about frequent Communion, particularly of receiving on the first Friday. (For more on the First Friday devotion, see here.) […]

  3. […] we celebrate the First Friday and the Octave Day of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. And on this special day I would like to post […]

  4. Maureen Sullivan Avatar
    Maureen Sullivan

    So many times I have attempted to make the 9 First Fridays and have never completed them due to travel ;or not having a Mass available……

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder!!!

    1. William Topper Avatar
      William Topper

      Dear Maureen.
      God bless the reader.
      Yes, indeed it needs perseverance and the devil will try to put a spoke in the wheel. I’ve found the same problem and then it’s all over again until one succeeds, which will come with stubborn again and again trial.
      But, also remember that it’s not necessary to hear H. Mass. Our Lord said: “communicate” on the First Friday not mentioning assistance at H. Mass. So if one is “late” during H. Mass and come at communion-time, it will be sufficient to only receive (one is of course in State of Grace).
      Warm greetings in J.M.J.

  5. […] On the First Friday Devotion. corjesusacratissi… […]

  6. Linhthi Avatar

    Thank you Jesus for giving us your Sacred Heart. Holy Spirit helps us to learn and to love Jesus more each day in actions and words. 🙏