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The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Friday, June 07, 2013



Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Officially part of the liturgical calendar since 1856, though with much earlier roots, it is one of the greatest devotions of Christianity. The Sacred Heart stands as a powerful symbol of the whole human body of Jesus Christ. The heart is at its core, representing the very real life of Jesus our Saviour; a heart which was formed in Mary’s womb; a heart which beat as he preached the Good News and healed the sick; a heart that stopped on the cross and was then pierced by the soldiers lance. It is also the heart that beat once more at the Resurrection and continues to do so for us today.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is therefore a powerful reminder of the love of Christ poured out for us all. It is at once a representation of His divine love and His human love. In the Sacred Heart we see the love of God which created the heavens and the earth; a love which created humankind and then redeemed us in our fallen nature. But the Sacred Heart is also one of fully human love; one which expressed itself in the love of Jesus for His Mother; the love of Jesus for His disciples, and the love which He showed for all He preached to and cared for. It was a love that was able to forgive those who nailed Him to a cross.


If we sometimes feel disconnected from the overwhelming, and frankly incomprehensible, divine love which created us and sustains us, then the Sacred Heart serves to remind us of all the human heart is capable of. It was this human heart of Christ which loved to its fullest extent and which rebukes us for our lack of love toward God and neighbour. It is a heart which can teach us that, through grace, we too are capable of loving God, ourselves and others to a degree which we may have thought impossible. As we read in our second reading today; the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Romans 5:5).

We often reject this love of God and have done so throughout our human history. But the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus does not cease upon rejection; it loves all the more. When the soldier pierced Christ’s side, His heart did not close but instead opened, and out flowed the blood and water of our redemption. It is the great mystery of this total and reckless love of Christ for us, and the invitation to share in it and love in return, which marks devotion to the Sacred Heart. We are called to love as totally and recklessly as Him who gave His life for us.

Graham Hunt OP

Comments

Nancy Jones commented on 23-Jun-2017 08:47 AM
O Sacred Heart surrounded by crown of piercing thorn! O bleeding head so wounded, revealed and put to scorn! Our sins have marred the glory of Thy most Holy Face, yet angel hearts adore Thee, and tremble as they gaze. I see Thy strength and vigor, all fading in the strife, and death with cruel rigor, bereaving Thee of life.; Oh agony and dying, oh love to sinners free! Jesus, all grace supplying, O turn Thy face on me. In this Thy bitter passion, Good Shepherd, think of me, with Thy most sweet compassion, unworthy though I be; beneath Thy cross abiding, forever would I rest, in Thy dear love abiding, and with Thy presence blest. But death too is my ending; in that dread hour of need. My friendless friend befriending, Lord to my rescue speed. Thyself, oh Jesus, trace me, right passage to the grave, and from Thy cross embrace me, with outstretched arms to save. -St Bernard of Clairvaux

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