Friday, June 7, 2013

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

Today's feast sees its origins in the 11th and 12th centuries.  Saints Bernard of Claivaux, Bonaventure, and Gertrude, wrote reflections concerning the love of God being made manifest in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  In particular the Gospel passion images of blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus are remarked as indicators of the beginning of sacramental life of the Church.  When we receive the sacraments we are returning to that hill at Calvary, receiving the grace of that sacred moment.  In the 18th century we have the revelations of the Sacred Heart and the immaculate as given to Margaurite Marie Alacoque.

In human cultures, from the beginning of time it would seem, the heart is seen as the center of life.  A healthy heart allows blood to flow throughout the body.  A diseased heart hurts the human body, as well as the emotional state of the person.  To be sure scripture, and literature itself, describes persons who are stubborn, inflexible, obstinate, or immovable, as having a hardened heart.  Cold or unfeeling persons we are told have no heart.

So in Scripture Jesus' heart is moved with pity as he recognizes the hurts and brokenness of the crowd before him.  He begins teach them and will eventually feed them because they are like sheep without a shepherd.  Throughout his mission and ministry Jesus is moved with compassion for individuals as he brings them healing and peace.  And most importantly his heart is focused on the love of God and will allow his own hart to suffer, and be poured out if you will, so as to bring salvation and peace to a broken and corrupt world.

This devotion today focuses us on the fact that yes 'God so loved the world,' and continues to pour out upon us every grace and blessing.  This complete and selfless love requires from us a response of faith and faithfulness.  Just as the Paschal Mystery is a profound and deep response to human Sin and suffering, so too our devotion to Christ and his mission requires an extreme response.  While it is easy to stand back and admire this kind of love, our kinship with God, through Jesus Christ, can also be a sign and symbol that we are truly children of God.

Just as Bonaventure today suggests that the Passions unveiled a hidden love for humanity, we are challenged to receive God's love with faith and devotion, and share it with increase for the world.

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