As one leaves my office, they must come face to face with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is a beautiful image and a simple reminder of who Christ is, and what he wants and expects from us. It is both a blessing and an invitation. It is a blessing for us to know how much the Lord loves us; how his heart burns with compassion and love for us. It is also an invitation to us to know how his infinite love cannot - should not - be denied in any way, shape or form or be returned empty handed. Too much has been given. Too much has been sacrificed. Too many have been loved. One too many have been lost.
Can a mother’s love, tears, sacrifices and hours and hours of prayer and commitment for her children be denied?
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. He is not only the Son of God, he is His heart, pure and simple. The Lord knows the Father by heart. And to know someone by heart is the best way to know anyone.
Where have all the beautiful statues and images gone? Have we lost our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Do we consider it to be pre-Vatican II? That is, better reserved for third-world nations, and for the simple and ignorant worshipper? Where have all the images and statues of the Sacred Heat of Jesus gone? I will tell you. Most, if not all Churches, have placed their statues and images in the attic!
We need to bring these images back to life, not for their sake, but for our sake! We need to be reminded of Christ’s passionate and burning love for us. Images speak louder than words. And we are a very visual people!
I will never forget the moment I saw a very large statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus inside, out of all places, a Seven-Eleven store! Actually, the owner, a devout Roman Catholic, had a chapel built inside the Seven-Eleven store, right next to the slurpees! Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the United States. The store was in Mexico. I cannot tell you the joy I felt when I saw it. How this owner felt no shame, had no concerns in giving honor and worship to our God! That Seven-Eleven was the most welcoming Seven-Eleven I have ever entered!
Why is this devotion so important? Pope Benedict reminds us, “Devotion to the Sacred Heart…calls for a fundamental attitude of conversion and reparation, of love and gratitude, apostolic commitment and dedication to Christ and his saving work.” In other words, this devotion is a call to arms – his arms: to fall into his arms and change our lives (conversion and reparation); to look inside his heart and to know Him by Heart (love and gratitude); to see His eyes and never say no to Him.
To love God we have to go beyond our senses. If we were to see God, face to face, just like we see a stranger, we would not know Him, just like we don’t know the stranger, and we would probably fear Him, like we fear shadows moving in the night. To love God we must go beyond our knowledge of God. If we were to read the Bible over and over again, we may know a ton of facts about Him, but it would never be enough to fall in love with Him, just like we don’t fall in love with those we read about. To love God we must know Him by heart, like a mother and father know there child not only by seeing him or by reading about him but by being like him: with Him, in Him, through Him.