An Emperor Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
“Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, form our hearts to be like Your Heart.”
On October 2, 1918, Blessed Karl consecrated himself and his family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Through his suffering from being misjudged, slandered, and persecuted, his willingness to sacrifice his life for his peoples, his exile, and through his painful, fatal illness, Emperor Karl allowed his heart to be formed in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Even in exile and sickness the Emperor took to heart his duties as monarch and father to his peoples very seriously. Because of his illness the Empress Zita read newspapers to him, but she felt that the articles worked him up and made him worry too much. She urged him not to ask her to read to him because it was not good for his health, but Emperor Karl replied: “It is my duty to be informed, not my pleasure. Please, read!”
His devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus strengthened the Emperor during his painful, last illness. On his deathbed he said to the Countess Mensdorff: “It is so good to have faith in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Without it, the hardships would be impossible to withstand.”
Blessed Karl kept an image of the Sacred Heart under his pillow throughout his life, and during his fatal illness. Once when Empress Zita wanted him to get some much-needed rest, she brought the picture out from under the pillow and held it before the Emperor’s eyes. She said that it was absolutely necessary for him to sleep, and that he should ask the Lord for it. He gazed at the image and urgently, yet devoutly, said: “Dearest Savior, please, grant me sleep.” He was then able to fall asleep and rested for three, much-needed hours.
My Lord and God, according to the marvelous example of Your servant, Emperor Karl, I too wish to consecrate myself to Your Most Sacred Heart. Hear my petitions and grant my request [mention your intention here] through the intercession of Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria.
[Hail Mary. Our Father. Glory Be.]