Every time I hear anyone speak of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or of the Blessed Sacrament I feel an indescribable joy. It is as if a wave of precious memories, sweet affections and joyful hopes swept over my poor person, making me tremble with happiness and filling my soul with tenderness. These are loving appeals from Jesus who wants me whole-heartedly there, at the source of all goodness, his Sacred Heart, throbbing mysteriously behind the Eucharistic veils. The devotion to the Sacred Heart has grown with me all my life. Hardly had that good old man, my uncle Zaverio, presented me, a new-born babe, at the baptismal font, than he consecrated me there in the little church of my own village to the Sacred Heart, so that I should grow up under its protection, a good Christian. I remember that among the first prayers I learnt at the knee of that good soul was the beautiful prayer that I love to repeat today: 'Sweet Heart of my Jesus, make me love you more and more.'

My parents and my uncle intended me to become a good peasant, like themselves. But the Sacred Heart wanted me among its own elect, and to that end used that other good soul, my parish priest Rebuzzini, of blessed memory. He also was a lover of the Sacred Heart, and had worked very hard for its triumph during his youth. I cannot forget the Eucharistic Congress of Milan of 1895, the year in which I received the first tonsure which left me with such a strong attachment to the Blessed Sacrament. I cannot forget the little discourses to the clergy in the seminary, and the evening visits to my humble church at Sotto il Monte during the endless autumn holidays. Later on came my repeated consecrations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus... and the reading of so many books and writings about this beloved devotion.

Journal of a Soul
Pope John XXIII