Saturday, 29 January 2011

Traditional image of Sacred Heart

If you google an image of the Sacred Heart you get a return of 1,220,000 images. Here are just a few to look at. These are the images which are most familiar to Catholics throughout the world.

Teilhard was not a great fan of these kind of images, and yet as his great friend and promoter of his ideas during the second Vatican council Cardinal Henri de Lubac noted: “More and more ,for Teilhard, the Heart of Jesus was the ‘fire’, bursting into the cosmic milieu, to ‘amorize’ it. He always carried a picture of the Sacred Heart in his breviary, a link between the invocations he had been taught and those which he now found better nourishment for his prayer. He turned his eyes towards its rays, carrying radiance to all parts [of the universe] ..Thus the concept which was so dear to him and that in the end was supreme in him, of the ‘universal Christ’ was born from ‘an expansion of the Heart of Jesus’ A succinct account of his ideas was found written on both sides of a picture of the ‘radiant heart’ of Jesus which was on his desk. On the front are the words: ‘The God of Evolution’; ‘The Christic , the Trans-Christ’ and Jesus – the Heart of the World, Essence/Motor of Evolution. And amongst the words on the back we find his description of the Sacred Heart as :
The heart of evolution;
The heart of matter;
The golden glow;
The essence of all energy;
Heart of the world’s heart;
Focus of ultimate and universal energy;
Heart of Jesus, heart of evolution, unite me to yourself.

In a letter to Jeanne Mortier he notes where he departs from the conventional interpretation of the Sacred Heart, and suggested that it offers a way forward in meeting the challenge of ‘bringing Christ of today’ to the world of today’:
“You can see it as a suffering ‘Heart’ that needs to be ‘consoled’. Or you can see it as a centre of energy that creates and drives the world: it suffers, indeed, but it is even more a fire, the only fire that can keep in motion a universe that has become reflective.”
Teilhard saw it as a fire that could bring the Christ of today to the world of today. The Sacred Heart was a image for the Christianity of the future as much as of the past. By using the language of the icon I hope and pray that Ian can in some way realize this idea of the Sacred Heart as the centre of divine light and energy: the light and energy of the love of God .

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