Saturday, 15 November 2014

An icon of the Sacred Heart for our times?

Walking around a street market in Cardiff yesterday I came across a rather disconcerting scene : one that summed up the modern neglect of the Sacred Heart.  In a stall selling assorted bits and pieces I saw a battered old statue of the Sacred Heart (whose hands were missing ) amidst other goods for sale.  I could only reflect on how, once upon a time, it had been reverenced and used as a focus for prayer.  And now, here it was on the floor with  an old advertisement for champagne, some swords, a typewriter and other odds and sods.  Perhaps, I thought, a photograph of this sad sight would be a more fitting icon of the Sacred Heart.  This is how the world sees the Heart of Jesus.  Perhaps, this is how many Catholics see the Sacred Heart?  I could only pray, 'Forgive us Lord, have mercy on us - we do not know what we are doing.' This is how we reject God's love today - we just treat it as little more than junk.  The Sacred Heart is now just an irrelevant, broken, worn-out  bit of the past.

Next to the statue is a picture of a women inviting us to drink champagne, as opposed to the living water which flows from the heart of the Saviour ! And when reflecting on this photograph later in the day some words of Saint John Paul came to mind.  He described the Sacred Heart as ‘the most perfect revelation of the paternal love of God.’ In his address on the Sacred Heart in 1999 he focused on the pierced heart of Jesus as ' the fount of life and holiness'.

Everything that God wanted to tell us about himself and about his love he placed in the Heart of Jesus, and by means of that Heart he has told us everything. We find ourselves before an inscrutable mystery. In Jesus’ Heart we read the eternal divine plan of the world’s salvation. It is a plan of love.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us contemplate the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is the source of life, since by means of it victory over death was achieved. It is also the source of holiness, since in it sin — the enemy of man’s spiritual development — is defeated. The Heart of the Lord Jesus is the starting-point of the holiness of each one of us. From the Heart of the Lord Jesus let us learn the love of God and understanding of the mystery of sin — mysterium iniquitatis.

Let us make acts of reparation to the Divine Heart for the sins committed by us and by our fellow men. Let us make reparation for rejecting God’s goodness and love.

Let us draw close each day to this fount from which flow springs of living water. Let us cry out with the Samaritan woman “Give us this water”, for it wells up to eternal life.

Heart of Jesus, burning flame of love, 
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness, 
Heart of Jesus, expiation for our sins 
— have mercy on us. Amen.

Read the full text,  HERE. 

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