June 24 — 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.
“I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong.”
The image of our Lord as the shepherd has always moved me. When I read the first reading of what our good shepherd would do, it brought to mind a video I once watched of a shepherd from Nepal who looked for his lost sheep in the cold winter and high up on a mountain. What he went through really gave me a good visual of the role of a shepherd. The heart of a shepherd is, in simple terms, like that of the heart of Jesus.
I have Mama Mary to thank who brought me to the sacred heart of Jesus seven years ago, when I consecrated to her at the end of my 33 Days of Morning Glory retreat. At that time, I didn’t really understand what it all means and what those 33 days would do for me. For these past few years of walking close to Jesus, I would always look back on that momentous event that changed my life for good. As I fell more and more in love with Jesus, I then began to understand a little of what his sacred heart means. His love for us is something that we may never be able to grapple 100% with. How could anyone suffer and die such an excruciating death for us sinners, for those who persecuted him, and for the many who do not yet know him? Sometimes it’s even hard to even consider sacrificing our life for loved ones, what more strangers and undeserving men? His love for his Father and for us is perfect. Our earthly love for our family and friends is one limited by our experiences and as a result, incomplete. No matter how much your loved ones profess their love for you, there will always be times when we are let down by that love.
Recently, I was very hurt by my closest and dearest friends – people whom I call ‘my extended family’. My heart is so broken. I just can’t understand why they would do something to hurt us, even though it was unintentional. This made me realise that human love is truly limited and incomplete. No one can love us like Jesus. This is why for all my hurts, sadness, brokenness, fears, worries, and even joys, I offer them all to Jesus who understands my heart completely. Only he can provide the solace, comfort and peace that I need when my life goes topsy-turvy.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)
Prayer: Dear Abba Father, we may never be able to understand the kind of love you have for us, so fill our hearts with your love so that we can love a little more, to have the courage to love our neighbours, those hardest to love, and especially those who hurt us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for loving us so absolutely and perfectly – even when we don’t love you as much or don’t love you back.