Monday, 11 June 2012

David Richo's The Sacred Heart of the World (4) The wounded and open heart

Important day.  It was two years ago today that I realised that somehow I had to figure out what the Sacred heart was really all about.  Strangely it took me quite a while to come to terms with the fact that it is about suffering, pain, being wounded and being open.  That this came through Teilhard, rather than the more traditional route is surprising.  David Richo's chapter on this theme says more than I can possibly say in a short post - so I can only recommend reading it and taking his advice on how to put the Sacred Heart into practice. In economics we are fond of reminding ourselves that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  The Sacred Heart is also there to remind us that there is no such thing as an easy way to let go our your self and open up to love.  Evolution is painful, evolution is a cross- and so is our own spiritual evolution.  That hurts.  Opening up hurts.  Which is why we spend so much of our time building a protective wall or shell around ourselves: protecting our precious ego from ourselves as much as other people.  Richo shows that we have to work at pulling down the walls we invest so much time in building up, because unless we do the work - and open ourselves to God's grace - we will never become truly and fully ourselves.  We will never see the diaphany ( as Teilhard liked to call it) of God's  radiant love if we do not work on opening our heart.  We can only evolve spiritually if we put the work in.  That is what we see so vividly in the lives of the Saints associated with the Sacred Heart.  This involves spiritual action, but also social action.  The kingdom of heaven is within us - in our hearts, but it is also 'out there' in the suffering of our fellow human beings.   'Thy Kingdom come'  means being open to the evolution of the cosmos itself.  It means to see Christ in all things: the alpha and omega.  Richo's point, and it one which is central to Teilhard's message is that :' The danger we fell into in the past was to make devotion to the Sacred  Heart a Jesus-and-I relationship  with the accent on 'he will be sure to save me if I receive communion on nine first Fridays.'  But a 21st century devotion has to be more than this: much more. As Richo puts it :' Our new devotion is about how the whole world can be saved not just our individual selves'. ( p34-5)

' Pope John Paul II preached to the pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square: ' Devotion  to the Sacred Heart deals with matters of the heart which call us to a deeper commitment to Christ and to others.  Christ's love becomes our love. His mission, the work of redemption'.   The openness of the Sacred Heart of Christ and of all the saints has always been a yes to wounds, a yes to compassion, a yes to receiving love, a yes to bringing peace no matter what the assaults or dangers..' ( pp 37-8)

It is good to keep these thoughts before us as we approach the feast of the Sacred Heart this coming Friday (15th June).

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