St. Margaret Mary’s apparition of Our Lord with a visible Heart which is on fire with His divine love for us, radiant like the sun, surrounded by thorns symbolizing His suffering and death, and topped by the cross, the symbol of His victory.
This is a very dearly loved image of Jesus, and one of great power for us. Jesus’ heart is the center of His being, the seat of His human consciousness, the abyss of His Divine love, mercy, and compassion.
Jesus living within us has experienced our loves, humiliations, rejections, our own sufferings, deaths and resurrections. We, living in Him, as His Body and Bride, the Church, have experienced His life, too. The Sacred Heart in religious art can also be seen as a symbol of this solidarity and union, this communion and humanity we share with Christ, as well as the mystical union we have with His divinity. More obviously it is a symbol of His love for us, which is the heart of prayer, which is the Heart of our lives.
Sometimes it is hard to remember that Jesus suffers with us and takes our pain upon Himself. In the midst of the extremes of life’s suffering love, we need to know that His tears are mixed with ours, that we have a God who knows sorrow, a God who is Love, a God who wants to give Himself to us in the Eucharist, and share with us His divine life in the Trinity forever.
In my times of deepest pain, it does not help much to ask why. It helps a lot more to “look” silently at the Sacred Heart of Jesus, into the tender darkness to which I withdraw, into the ruins of my heart, made sacred by His dwelling there, so it can be re-built to His purpose. In that gaze, “why” doesn’t matter, as much as Who this is Who loves me, and is my God. That’s where trust comes from; accepting the Heart of this Lord, Who is Love. What else is there?
Jesus took up the cross, the Scripture says, “for the sake of the joy that lay before Him.” It’s easy to think about His joy as His future Resurrection and glory with His Father in Heaven. But we forget sometimes, that part of the joy that lay before Him, was ourselves.
Being with us was worth it to Him. After all, this is also why He came to begin with, from the glory He had from the beginning, to take on our humanity, to be with us, to capture our hearts, to transform,redeem and raise us, to be one with us, that our hearts might burn with divine fire. May we be willing to wear the crown of thorns that love often requires of us, until we share in the victory of the cross, and in His divine life itself, bringing many with us.
I have to think, in these dark times, during this epidemic of heartlessness, when so many seem determined to enrich the powerful and take away even the most basic of needs from the poor, the disabled, even children and the sick; when Black Americans are shot for little to no reason, even in front of their little children,and at an alarming rate, and there is not enough love in our society to make it stop; when people are dying from gun violence and we can’t even hear each other enough to problem solve the problem in a meaningful way, when every day we have to find ways to decompress from all the hatred and stress, and people who raise the standard of morality and compassion are undervalued, its time to look to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What are we doing? The opposite of the Gospel.
We’re finding ways to keep our life, not lose it to love and compassion. We are jealous of our stations in life, we fight to keep our own privileges, our own rights and freedom at the expense of others. We fight to be as heartless and greedy as we want, to not have to consider the pain we cause when we speak without compassion. We say we speak the truth in love when we want to justify our harsh talk that only turns others away from religion.
We need hearts. We need Jesus. We need the One who said, “Come to me, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.”
Jesus, let my heart bleed with yours, never let me add to your tears
for the poor and vulnerable,
or for the lack of compassion we all show.
Help me to be gentle and humble of heart with everyone.
“Love can never pierce the heart of the defender.
You will never know love until you surrender”
~ Jonathon Richman.
I have been defending a lot too lately.
I pray that love will pierce my heart for the people I am offended by.
People who seem to me heartless.
Help me remember You love them, too.
Their hearts are beating because of yours.
My heart is beating because of Yours.
Maybe we should try something else.
Maybe we should all, all listen quietly to Jesus,
enter into His Heart,
and learn love again.
Set aside some time and join me today,
the quiet fire
of Jesus’ Sacred Heart.
“Ask the Friend for Love.
Ask Him again.
Ask Him again.
For every heart will get
What it asks for the most.”
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised, adored, and loved,
in the tabernacle of every human heart,
to the end of time,
and forever in the the life to come!