Thursday, 6 September 2012

Only God makes things grow.

The reading from Mass the other day (5th September) from St Paul (Corinthians 3:1-9) brought me to yet another reflection or reading of the icon - especially in the light of Dom Theodore Bailey's window I discovered whilst in West Wales. The line that caught my eye is where St. Paul says 'only God makes things grow'.  We can do do all we can with a seed to help it grow, but we can't make it grow. ( I have tried many times!)  Turning to the icon and Bailey's window it struck me how both uniquely - as far as I know-  introduce nature into the image of the Sacred Heart: both have images of growth.

Sacred Heart by Dom Theodore Bailey

The icon uses the vine, leaves, grapes and animals, and Bailey uses ferns and sunflowers.   As Teilhard was all about seeing Christ in all things and God's love as an energy which fills all creation and pulls all things towards completion in Him, I think this idea of only God  can make things grow  is reflected in both the images.  St.Paul was, of course. very much an inspiration for Teilhard's idea of the Heart of Jesus, but by saying that 'only God can make things grow' we are reminded that we are all dependent on the grace of God.  The icon shows the living water which flows from the heart of the Saviour, nourishing all creation.  In Dom Theodore's window we see plant life blooming at the feet of Christ.  Both images remind us that only God can make us grow: to be devoted to the Sacred Heart is to trust in God's grace.  Without it we cannot grow.  This made me think of another window by Dom Theodore in St. David's chapel on the island of Caldey - which I last visited over twenty years ago! His theme here is the 'tree of life'. Perhaps we understand his (and our) Sacred Heart all the better when we take account of this window.  Can we read the Sacred Heart as the tree of life? The window as described by the Caldey website says that: 'It depicts a threefold tree, possibly symbolising the Trinity and the three crosses on Calvary. When illuminated by the afternoon sun, it gives a stunning sense of the power of the Creator breathing life and light into the world.'   (Go HERE) On this we can turn once again to the poem by St. Edith Stein quoted in the previous blog:

The Tree of Life, Theodore Bailey

In the heart of Jesus, which was pierced,
The kingdom of heaven and the land of earth are bound together.
Here is for us the source of life.

This heart is the heart of the triune Divinity,
And the center of all human hearts
That bestows on us the life of God.

It draws us to itself with secret power,
It conceals us in itself in the Father's bosom
And floods us with the Holy Spirit.

I think that IS what the Sacred Heart in these images prompts us to contemplate. The Sacred Heart as the source of love, light and life.

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