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Catholics sometimes joke about certain saints “following” them. For me, it has been Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. The opportunity to read this book (I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review) was another way she had come into my life.
Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart by Anne Costa promises “you will learn about the many ways to express devotion to the Sacred Heart as well as the history and relevance of the Sacred Heart for our lives today. You will also hear from saints, popes, and ordinary people who have been touched by the Heart of Jesus.”
Healing Promises is divided into three main parts: the first shares information about the Sacred Heart, the second goes into the details of the devotions, and the third looks into the promises of devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Initially, I struggled through the book. The information was excellent, but there was a lot put into a relatively small amount of pages. I thought the transitions between ideas were a little rough. However, by the time I was several chapters into the book, I could hardly stand to put the book down. It was incredibly interesting and beautifully written. I also felt that it flowed much more smoothly.
Costa did a phenomenal job making connections between the Sacred Heart and other devotions within the Catholic Church. I also appreciate how well she addressed potential misconceptions and superstitions. A person who is not familiar with how Catholics use images could’ve been confused or even concerned about this devotion, but Costa alleviated any concerns before they could even arrive.
Though I loved the chapter on The Eucharist, my favorite section was the one on the Promises. Costa provides a short explanation of the promises, healing stories that describe ordinary peoples’ experiences of Promises of the Sacred Heart, and concludes with some relevant Scripture passages.
Though this was a very good book, I have two criticisms. The first is the first few chapters feeling choppy. It may just be a personal reader’s preference, but I just didn’t like it very much. My other criticism is the “heart notes” throughout the book. While I appreciate that Costa was challenging people to reflect on what they were reading, I felt like sometimes they were more like distractions. I think they would’ve served the book better either at the end of the chapter or formatted in such a way that it was more obvious where the reflection ended and the other content continued.
All that being said, I would readily recommend this book to any Christian who is looking to grow closer to Christ. I would especially recommend it for Catholic families who are looking for ways to build a Christ-centered household.
If you would like to read my other book reviews, you can check them out here.