The Sacred Heart Symbol

The Sacred Heart (also known as the Sacred Heart of Jesus) has one of the deepest meanings in the Roman Catholic practice. The symbol represents Jesus Christ’s actual heart as His love for all of humanity. The Sacred Heart can be depicted a few different ways.

The most common depiction is of the heart has a circle of thorns that represent the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus’ head. It also may have a cross, which represents the Crucifixion. Other symbols may have a flame or light surrounding it, which signifies the divine light of love. You will mostly see the Sacred Heart in a portrait of Jesus Christ.

History of the Sacred Heart

(c) Wikimedia
(c) Wikimedia

The earliest known devotion to the Sacred Heart occurred around the eleventh century. Saint Bernard was a proponent of beginning the devotion to the Sacred Heart, since he concluded that Jesus’ side being pierced was indicative of his devotion and love toward humanity. Since that time, hymns have been written about the Sacred Heart and churches have portraits of the symbol in many places. Some of the notable saints who were strong promoters of the Sacred Heart include Saint Gertrude, Saint Lutgarde and Saint Margaret Mary.

In the 14th century, Pope Innocent VI officially indicated that the Sacred Heart should be honored and worshipped. From that point on, the Sacred Heart continued to grow as a major symbol of worship throughout the Roman Catholic religion. The vision of the symbol spread throughout the world and became a worldwide symbol of love and devotion.

Worshipping the Sacred Heart

The Feast of the Sacred Heart was introduced in 1856 and has been celebrated every year since then, which occurs 19 days after Pentecost. The first country in the world to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart was Ecuador.

The worship of the Sacred Heart can be done in a variety of forms. The most common forms of worship include hymns, the Litany of the Sacred Heart and also the Salutation of the Sacred Heart. Roman Catholic services worldwide still follow these practices today.

Roman Catholics also have a practice that allows the Sacred Heart into their home. This ceremony is known as the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart, and it occurs when a priest enters a home to bless the Sacred Heart. Either a picture or a statue of the Sacred Heart is blessed and placed in a special location in the home to serve as a reminder of worship and devotion. When in the home, the Sacred Heart signifies the foundation of God’s kingdom amongst individuals and families.

Depictions of the Sacred Heart

The Sacred Heart symbol can be found in Catholic churches and homes across the world. It can be represented as a picture, statue, art in stained glass or any other depictions. When the image is displayed in homes, it is common to have the names of the family members engraved near the symbol as a reminder that each member of the family is being protected by Jesus in the Sacred Heart.

The Sacred Heart can also be seen in combination with other religious symbols. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the most common symbol that is shown with the Sacred Heart, but it is generally pierced with a sword instead of crowned with thorns. The combination of these two symbols reflects the joining and the binding of the two hearts.

The Sacred Heart Brings Peace

Among other things, the Sacred Heart brings peace to families and individuals because of what it signifies. Even though the Sacred Heart suffered in the past, the light still shines brightly and brings warmth during tough times. Worshipping the Sacred Heart during tough times brings some of the most peaceful moments to families and individuals because of the unconditional love that is symbolizes.

When people pray to the Sacred Heart, they will often feel a greater sense of security knowing that they are being watched over and protected. That is one of the many reasons why Roman Catholics wish to have a depiction of the Sacred Heart in their homes to serve as a reminder. Above all else, the Sacred Heart is a clear reminder of the love and devotion of Jesus to all of humanity, despite the suffering that has been and still is endured.

What Does The Heart Symbol Mean?

We’ve all seen and used the heart symbol many times in our lives.  Whether you draw it in a card, text it to someone, or buy a cutout in a store to give someone, the heart symbol is one of the most recognized symbols in the world.  Sometimes it can be a little overused.  So what does the heart symbol actually mean?

The answer actually varies, depending on the circumstances in which it is used.  Each culture, society or individual may interpret a heart symbol differently.  Here are some of the most common interpretations of what the heart symbol means:

  • Love
  • Sex
  • Attraction
  • Unity
  • Cohesion
  • Sensual
  • Strength

Since there are so many interpretations, it’s no wonder why the symbol is so widespread.  The funny thing about the symbol is that it doesn’t really look like the actual heart that’s in our bodies.  Way back in the early Egyptian times, the heart symbol was actually drawn as a round figure with lines protruding out of it, which represented what the heart actually looks like.  The heart symbol has slowly evolved over time into what we know it as now.  In fact, one of the earliest representations of the symbol as we know it dates back to the 13th century.

A Symbol of Love

The most common meaning for the heart symbol is love.  People use the symbol to replace the word “love” in different cultures.  Valentine’s Day is one of the most common times of the year where the heart symbol is used.  That day is supposed to represent your love for your family or significant other, and the best way to do that is with the heart symbol.  One of the unique things about the heart symbol is that it is somewhat difficult to draw freehand, so no heart symbols look alike.  That is representative of our actual hearts, which all function the same way, but are still unique to each individual.

A Symbol of Sex/Attraction

For the most part, the heart symbol is more of a feminine symbol.  However, males still use the symbol frequently to express their emotions to the person they have feelings for.  Simply sending a text message of a heart symbol to someone that you admire shows how you feel about them.  It can mean that you love them, that you are thinking about them, that you are attracted to them or a variety of other meanings.

A Symbol of Unity/Cohesion/Strength

For families and spouses, the heart symbol can signify unity.  When couples get married, it is often portrayed as two hearts becoming one in certain cultures.  This also goes along with the symbolism of strength.  When two hearts become one, then it is stronger as a unit.  As the heart grows fonder, the heart symbol can mean different things.

The heart symbol unifies people as their hearts grow together.  Then they become cohesive with one another, which creates a stronger bond that nothing can break.  As families grow closer to one another, the heart symbolizes more than just the love for one another.  It symbolizes a unified group that nothing can tear down.

A Symbol of Sensuality

Love and sex are two of the most common uses for the heart symbol in everyday speech and language, so sensuality goes hand-in-hand with that.  It is easy to express your sensual feelings to someone else just by sending them a heart symbol.  It signifies the pursuit of your feelings to the other person and can make them feel special when they receive the heart symbol from you.

Each culture interprets the heart symbol in different ways.  The worldwide meaning of the heart symbol is love, though.  People express themselves differently, and a lot of people don’t like to talk about love because it can be uncomfortable.  Instead, the heart symbol itself can tell a lot about your particular feelings in a situation.

The heart symbol can create relationships and make them stronger.  In fact, many families can use the heart symbol and create their own meaning with it.  Since it can be a symbol for many things, people are free to use the heart symbol in different situations that makes it more meaningful and recognizable for them.

Irish Heart Symbol – The Claddagh Ring

You may have seen people wearing a ring that includes hands, a heart and a crown. What you may not know is that that particular ring carries a lot of significance in the Irish heritage. This ring is called the Claddagh ring. The heart symbol represents love, the crown symbol represents loyalty and the hands represent friendship. So all together, the ring can represent a variety of things.

(c) Wikimedia

Claddagh rings are perfect choices for many occasions, including engagement rings, wedding rings, friendship rings and just about anything else that carries significance. The ring provides a good reminder about love, loyalty and friendship since we live in a materialistic world and can sometimes forget about the important things in life.

Origin of the Claddagh Ring

The history of this special ring dates back to the 18th century. The word “Claddagh” is an Irish word that means “flat stony shore.” The Claddagh was actually a small fishing village in Ireland, which was where the Claddagh rings originated.

There are different theories about how the first Claddagh ring came about, but it is generally accepted that the history and the meaning are all the same.

Symbolism of the Claddagh Ring

Claddagh rings can be used as friendship rings, but they generally have a deeper meaning than that. They are most commonly used as wedding rings, engagement rings or for other significant meanings. The Claddagh ring is commonly handed down from mother to daughter or grandmother to granddaughter to carry on tradition within the family.

The way a person wears the Claddagh ring also tells what their relationship status is. For example, if a person were married, then they would wear their ring on the left hand with the point of the heart facing toward the wrist. But if the person wore it the same way, but on the right hand, then it would mean that they are simply in a relationship.

Different Designs of Claddagh Rings

While the Claddagh ring has the same general style with the hands, heart and crown, there are also different variations of the ring. Just like with any jewelry, the Claddagh ring can be unique to your personal taste or style. They can include birthstones, be yellow or white gold or silver and have other different design features that make your ring unique.

However, the overall meaning and symbolism of the Claddagh ring remains intact. Adding different features to the ring can make it more of a personal gift when giving it to someone, while still maintaining the history behind it. And as a side note, these rings are also available to males as well as females. There are only slight ring design differences for males, but the meaning and significance are also the same in male rings.

Why Do People Wear Claddagh Rings?

Because of the strong significance of Claddagh rings to Irish tradition, many people of Irish descent will wear the ring just as a symbol of pride toward their heritage. However, most people wear the ring as a symbol of a certain event that happened in their life.

In addition to wearing the ring as a sign of being married or in a relationship, the Claddagh ring can also be given as a sign of friendship. It can be portrayed as a ring to help a friend open her heart to find true love and also to remind her of the bond between friends. Above all else, the Claddagh ring is usually worn as a way to signify something, rather than just be another piece of jewelry to wear on any given day.

Whether you are of Irish descent or not, the Claddagh ring is a perfect ring to provide and promote some significance in your life. The ring can provide a bond between a mother and daughter or a husband and wife because of what it represents. All together, the Claddagh ring can simply be defined as a symbol to “let love and friendship reign forever.”

The Claddagh ring is one of the most traditional rings in any heritage because it has not altered its design much for over 300 years. As a result, the ring carries some of the deepest significance of any piece of jewelry and people all over the world recognize and embrace its significance.

History of the heart symbol

Saying that there is a history attached to the heart would both be correct and ambiguous too! For the process of evolution of the human race for sure proves it true, in the process of biological sense; but on the very being of the ‘heart’ is much older and ancient, in the more sublime sense. The heart symbol has been considered the closest to the intangible extension to the romantic side of the human kind. And, it is not just a figment of imagination in a serendipitous moment, but has a whole lot of study related to it. In fact, there have been many an interpretation of the various aspects of this universal expression of love, and how did it gain the position that it has been consistently enjoying for quite a while now. Continue reading History of the heart symbol