Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The devotion to the Sacred Heart (also known as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacratissimum Cor Iesu in Latin) is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ’s physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity.
This devotion is predominantly used in the Roman Catholic Church and in a modified way among some high-church Anglicans, Lutherans and Eastern Catholics. The devotion is especially concerned with what the Church deems to be the long-suffering love and compassion of the heart of Christ towards humanity. The popularization of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675, and later, in the 19th century, from the mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, a religious of the Good Shepherd, who requested in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism, particularly with Saint Gertrude the Great.
…one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance.
While I was reading today’s readings, I kept on reflecting about the heart. My reflection brought me to look at the signs of being in love. I must admit that I’ve drawn hearts pierced with arrows to symbolize being in love but back then, I never asked why the symbol of being in love is a heart, or two hearts, pierced by an arrow.
If our heart contains our love, to be in love means to share that love with another. And to be able to share it means that we have to find a way to open our hearts so that our love could go out from our hearts and be shared. Hence, the piercing itself is necessary so that the love can go beyond our hearts. Perhaps, God allowed his heart to be pierced because that is the way with which he can share his love to us. God allowed his heart to be pierced so that from his heart, Divine Love and Mercy could overflow.
I also read once that to love someone means to give the person the power to hurt you. It’s like giving him the knife to stab your heart with. I’d like to think that’s what God did when he decided to love us. I imagine him saying, “I know one day you will hurt me, but I will always choose to love you no matter what.”
And maybe on our side, we also need to let our hearts be pierced to love God back. To have our hearts pierced may mean that we sacrifice and suffer for our Lord – at least in this life anyway. Some form of sacrifice we can do for our Lord is offering up the inconveniences we face. For example, many of us may want to travel right now but we can’t. Let us offer the disappointment and longing to travel, to our Lord. It could also mean eating less of what we enjoy. On a more challenging front, we could also suffer persecution because we stood up for God and our faith in him.
We can’t really claim that we love someone if we are not willing to go through pain for the other person. That’s what God did when He gave us free will. He was risking the chance of getting hurt when he granted it to us. And the amazing thing is that he committed to loving us, even through our unfaithfulness and no matter how much we have hurt him. The more we hurt him, the more love overflows from his heart. I imagine that the more we hurt him, the more he’s trying to overpour his love for us so that he could win our hearts.
Isn’t it amazing that so much love can flow out of pain?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me feel your overflowing love for me and help me make those sacrifices which are my “I Love You”s to you.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, Jesus, for allowing your heart to be pierced for love for us.