Posted by: fvbcdm | June 27, 2014

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (27 June 2014)

When I began high school, I came under the tutelage of the Jesuit Fathers and Scholastics who have traditionally had a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And then cousins of mine, with whom I grew up like siblings, lived in Sacred Heart Parish here in New Orleans, and the girl attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart. So my young life was very much lived in the warmth and beauty of the Heart of Christ.

This Friday, the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so for me this is a very special day. Our devotion to the heart of Our Divine Lord has spiritual, metaphorical, and physical elements.  Spiritual, because we are celebrating the love of God for us as expressed in the humanity of Jesus. Metaphorical, because we speak of the heart as the capacity of the human being to love.  We say things like “I give you my heart . . . she has won his heart . . .” Our love songs and poetry are filled with allusions to the heart as the center of human love. We speak of “sweethearts” meaning those who love one another. And since Jesus is our Divine Lover, we tend to focus our attention upon his heart as that part of his human personality by which he loves us.

And finally, our devotion is even physical, since when the dead Christ hung upon the cross, one of the Roman soldiers, to make sure that he was dead, thrust a lance into his chest, and there poured out of his heart what Saint John calls, “blood and water.”  Medical science explains the “water” as that clear serum that forms in the body in a traumatic situation.  Our mystical theologians have seen that “blood and water” as symbolic of the sacraments of the Eucharist and Baptism, those constituent elements of Christianity. Within our own time, Our Lord appeared to Saint Faustina in Poland, assuming the form of a man with white and red rays emanating from his breast, symbolizing the blood and water from his dead body on the cross, and indicating to the world the Divine Mercy which led him to the institution of the Sacraments and then his life-giving death by crucifixion.

When Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary, a French nun of the 17th century, he took the form of a man whose heart appeared flaming with love and crowned with thorns. And he said to her, “Behold this heart which has loved humanity so much, and has been so little loved in return.”

On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, we are asked to contemplate the love by which God loves us—and to focus our loving contemplation of his love upon the human Heart of the Son of God who became a man. The heart of Jesus was formed, as was his entire body, by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Our Blessed Mother.  Jesus had all the affective, sensitive, and emotional capabilities of any human being, and thus we speak of his loving us with “his heart.”  He tells us in the gospel, “Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” These are the only ones of his virtues that he calls our attention to and asks us to imitate.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, make us, too, meek, humble, and loving. With these qualities, sanctity is within our reach in this world, and heaven is within our reach in the next. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you, Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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