On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII's Encyclical "Haurietis aquas" on devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Benedict XVI addressed a letter to Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits),
The feast of the Sacred Heart will be celebrated this year on June 23. The Devotion of the Sacred Heart was spread through the works of Saint Claude-La Colombiere a Jesuit, the spiritual director of Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque.
"Fifty years on, Christians still have the ever present task of continuing to deepen their relationship with the Heart of Jesus so as to revive, within themselves, faith in God's salvific love," He said stressing the special role the Jesuits have in spreading the devotion.
Through the Sacred Heart, it is "this mystery of God's love for us," Pope Benedict continues, which "not only constitutes the content of veneration and devotion for the Heart of Jesus, it is, in the same way, the content of all true Christian spirituality and devotion. ... In fact, being Christian is only possible with our gaze fixed on the cross of our Redeemer."
The Pontiff calls for a true “veneration for the love of God”, that “appears only when we give closer consideration to its contribution, not only to knowledge, but also and above all to the personal experience of that love in faithful dedication and service."
“The experience of God's love is lived by man as a 'call' to which he must respond- he continues- the experience of love we gain through veneration for the pierced side of the Redeemer, safeguards us from the risk of closing in on ourselves, and makes us open to a life lived for others."
The Holy Father concludes his letter: "Gazing at the side pierced by the lance, where shines God's boundless will for salvation, cannot then be considered as a passing form of veneration or devotion. The adoration of God's love, which found historical-devotional expression in the symbol of the pierced heart, remains irreplaceable for a living relationship with God."