Tuesday, 9 June 2015


Many years ago a friend told me she took her fiancé home to meet her family. Upon entering the house he was confronted by a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, hanging on the wall.

After one look at it, he turned tail and soon broke off their engagement! Maybe he couldn’t cope with the family’s obvious piety, or perhaps the picture itself put him off. Some pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are not to everyone’s taste. But this should not put them off their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Whatever the artistic merits of pictures or statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, they are attempting to express what is central to our Christian faith: that God has shown His love for us by becoming one of us.

Today’s feast celebrates God’s infinite love for us, expressed in a human way, familiar to us men and women. In Jesus the unapproachable God of majesty and glory could now be seen, touched and heard.

Jesus is the human embodiment of divine love. He could heal and forgive with a compassionate word or touch of the hand. People could embrace Him with love; others, seething with malice could nail Him to the cross!.

Near the beginning of John’s Gospel we are told that God so loved the world that He sent His Son, not to condemn the world, but to save it. God could not have paid the human race a greater compliment than by joining it. In so doing He has shared our human life, so that we might share His divine life.

But much more than this, in Jesus God poured out His life’s blood for us, even when we were hostile to Him through our sins. Through His death on the cross Jesus revealed the depth of God’s love for us. That was powerfully symbolised by the piercing of His heart. God could not have shown us greater love!

The Devotion to Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Litany to the Sacred Heart and the Consecration to the Sacred Heart expresses how much we love Jesus, whose precious blood flowed from His Sacred Heart – for our sake and for our salvation.

Christ’s love for us was the driving force behind all He did and suffered for us -- in Nazareth, on the Cross, in His teaching and healing, in His praying and working; and now, wonder of wonders, in His giving Himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was popularised by the 17th century French visionary, St. Margaret-Mary Alacocque. Using the heart as the traditional symbol of love, statues and pictures often show Christ pointing to His heart.

This reminds us that when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us He expressed His love for us in a human way, familiar to us. That’s what we celebrate in today’s feast.

Far from being an optional devotion, the Feast of the Sacred Heart is central to our Christian faith. The Feast of the Sacred Heart tells us, not only how God has reached out to us, but how we can approach Him. By becoming one of us Jesus reminds us that it is good to be human.

If God showed His love for us in a human way, we can express our love for Him by, growing, with God’s help, as mature men and women who are compassionate, merciful and self-giving towards others – even strangers, even enemies!

Following Christ is all about learning to love God and each other in the same way as Jesus loves His Heavenly Father and each of us. Quite simply, the Feast of the Sacred Heart reminds us how much God loves each and everyone of us.

That is the corner-stone of our Christian faith, the foundation of all our hope.

Today’s feast is all about God’s love for us, expressed in a human way, through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, Christ. The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus takes us to the very heart of God’s plan for our salvation.

That is what we celebrate today.

Happy Feast!

Isidore Clarke O.P.

No comments:

Post a Comment