Saturday, 13 June 2015

Feast of the Sacred Heart, 2015

Yesterday was the feast of the Sacred Heart. It marked a milestone for me personally as it was five years to the day when I realised that I was being called to dedicate my life to the Sacred Heart. All I can say is that it has been a period of transformation : I was blind, but now I see.  I have no doubt but that I can thank the icon for helping me develop a constant sense of God as love.  Pope Francis did not speak on the Sacred Heart, but he had earlier reminded people about the feast on on  Corpus Christi. (here).  When we encounter Christ in the eucharist we are, of course, receiving the word of God made flesh.  The readings at mass said it all really. The first reading from Hosea shows us what the heart of God is like: it shows us that God loves us in a very intimate way.

When Israel was a child I loved him,
and I called my son out of Egypt.
I myself taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them in my arms;
yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them.
I led them with reins of kindness,
with leading-strings of love.
I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek;
stooping down to him I gave him his food.

The Psalm from  Isaiah reminds us of the pierced heart of Jesus from which flowed the living waters.

Truly, God is my salvation,
  I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
  he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water
  from the wells of salvation.

And of course, the great reading from St Paul's letter to the Ephesians ( which deeply informed Teilhard's 'attraction' to the Heart of Jesus) expresses the essence of the meaning of the devotion.

 This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name: Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.

And finally the Gospel from John:

When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:
Not one bone of his will be broken;
and again, in another place scripture says:
They will look on the one whom they have pierced.

These readings tell us why the devotion to the Sacred Heart is as important to the future of the Church as it was at the time of St. Margaret Mary.  As our parish priest reminded us, the devotion sprung into a new life at a time when the Church was under attack and when people had turned their backs on the love of God.  Today we live in a sinful world in which God  - who is love - is dead you so many people. And we wonder why there is so much hate, greed and violence?  We wonder why the hearts of so many are cold and hard? 

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us 

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