This Friday is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It fittingly occurs during June, the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart. To some people this title for Jesus smacks of times gone by. On the contrary, the concept of the Sacred Heart is relevant and meaningful.
Take the idea of heart. To us, a heart means the entire person, one’s whole being, the core of oneself, the most important part. We say, “I love you with all my heart,” a “heart-to-heart conversation,” “put your heart into it,” “heartfelt praise,” “the heart of the matter,” and so on. When we refer to the heart of Jesus, we mean his whole person, human and divine. When we say Jesus loves us with his whole heart, we mean with all his being.
The heart is a symbol of love. That’s why we are swamped with hearts on Valentine’s Day and why lovers carve their initials inside a heart. Jesus loves us more than anyone else loves us. My goodness, he sacrificed his life for us! As he said, there’s “no greater love.” It’s no coincidence that as he hung on the cross, it’s his heart that was pierced with a lance.
Such extreme love calls for love in return. When Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary and asked her to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart, he said some of the saddest words ever spoken: “Behold this heart that has so loved and is so little loved in return.” Unrequited love is a shame; unrequited divine love is tragic.
Besides being dedicated to the Sacred Heart, I believe June is the most popular month for weddings. This month then is the ideal time to rekindle our love for Jesus. How? We can read the Gospels, accounts of his life, with fresh eyes. We can open our ears to hear him speak personally to our hearts through them. We can spend extra time aware of his ever-present presence and bask in his love. Now that COVID restrictions are lifted, we can participate more fully in the Eucharist, his farewell gift to us where we are nourished by his whole being.
We have an unquenchable thirst for something more. It’s said that our heart is like a puzzle with a piece missing. Only God will complete it. Conversely, the human heart of Jesus can be thought to also be missing a piece: you!
In the artistic rendition of the Sacred Heart, flames fan out from the heart. These symbolize that Jesus is burning with love for us. Would that we were on fire with love for him, a love that impels us to introduce others to him.
• The love someone has for you is a tiny reflection of the immense love Jesus has for you. When have you been blessed with someone’s love? How did it make you feel?