11 Jun 2015

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Journey of Life

Oh, Sacred Heart of Jesus
As we journey through life
We face the mysteries
of love and hate,
of friendship and loneliness,
of joy and sorrow,
of suffering and death.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart:
Help us to believe in the midst 
of doubt and uncertainty,
Help us to hope in the midst 
of despair, suffering and death,
Help us to love in the midst
of hate, selfishness and rejection.

You can find out about the veneration to the Sacred Heart by looking at our previous blog posts for this month of June and previous years under the tag Sacred Heart.


I came, stumbling
across the threshold of your house
falling into pieces on your floor.
Once again, the vessel broken
scattering across the Holy Ground of your Presence.
Only so precious few hours, no, minutes, before
had I petitioned for Your Strength,
Your Wisdom, Your Holy Silence and your Peace.
And here I was, in pieces,
Broken intentions, fallen to the floor
As my tears of failure.
I love you so much
Why can’t I do what I intend for You?
Why do I always fail?
Why can I not step into
the Silence of Your Love
when I am tempted?
Why is it so hard?
Your precious hands pick up my pieces
so lovingly holding them together
and making me whole again
with the glue of your Love.
And then,
as if that wasn’t enough,
You poured Yourself out into my chalice
to overflowing,
Baptizing me once again
in your Love,
Holding me together with your Strength
Picking me up with Your Courage
Molding me.
Into my ear You Whispered
Words of Love and Hope
Words of comfort
In Your Plan.
You poured Yourself out
To overflowing.
Overflow, you said,
Into my people.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, My Life,
For Your loving kindness and mercy

The feast of the Sacred Heart is a reminder of the mercy and love of God. While the writings of St Margaret Mary which promoted the devotion at a time against the Jansenistic heresy, for us in the modern world what is it a reminder of? Is it not time for us to rediscover the wonder at the "heart" of the christian faith.

There has been a lot of soul searching in Ireland in recent weeks but perhaps we need to go back to basics, perhaps we need to begin again, to see ourselves as another St Columbanus come to share the message of the gospel with a nation and people who have forgotten or seem to have forgotten it. But before we can share it we need to journey into ourselves so that we know what it is we wish to share, that we can share the hope that is within us.

"The hope of the gospel is not something alien to us. It is something that we long for, something that promises to transform and fulfil us so fully that no human heart can grasp it. It requires us to go deeper than the shallow waters in which we normally paddle and to entrust ourselves to the infinite ocean which is the love of God that speaks in our hearts..."

"We need to allow the mystery to enter through our hearts rather than seeing faith simply as a rational explanation or as an imposition from some external source......"

"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a loft idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which life a new horizon and a decisive direction....."

"The word 'heart' refers not so much to emotions as to the very core of ourselves; it refers to what is deepest within us". 

"God was deeper within me than my innermost depths and higher than my highest parts" 

The feast today calls us, reminds us, encourages us to seek to the centre of Jesus in his human yet divine heart and the love that he poured out for us on the cross, waiting for always to turn back to him, waiting to embrace us, in that deep centre of our beings, in our hearts, we should seek the silence and be embraced by the heart of God. 

On a post from 2011, Phil over at Ennis Blue had a reflection quote from Ron Rolheiser on the use of our "holy imagination" and the role of the mystical devotion within the tradition of the Catholic Church and I thought it was well worth sharing her thoughts on this day:

One of the great complements to theology (and, in the best of times, friends to it) has been the Roman Catholic devotional tradition.
This tradition doesn't trade on critical thinking, but on the romantic imagination. It aspires to inflame the heart. Admittedly, this is risky. Feelings can lead us in many directions, but faith-without-feeling is perhaps the greater danger. The heart also needs its due. 

A layered reality is part of the Catholic imagination. To possess this imagination is to dwell in a universe inhabited by unseen presences - the presence of God, the presence of saints, the presence of one another. 
There are no isolated individuals but rather unique beings whose deepest life is discovered in and through one another. This life transcends the confines of space and time. ... We - and Jesus and the saints - exist in some essential way outside of the chronology of historical time. We have being beyond the strictures of geographical space. And we can sense this now, in the concreteness of our lives." 
The Catholic devotional tradition has long been helpful in making us aware of our many layered-universe. 

We need to continue to employ its imagination if we are to help our fleshy hearts feel more really what lies inside the eternal heart of God. 

The mystical imagination is the other half of the scientific imagination and, like science, its purpose is to help us see, imagine, understand, speak about, and relate to reality in a way beyond fantasy and superstition.

But the mystical imagination can show us something that science, wonderful though it is, cannot, namely, it can show us the many grace-drenched and spirit-laden layers of reality that are not perceived by our physical senses. The mystical imagination can show us how the Holy Spirit isn't just inside our churches, but is also inside the law of gravity.

But how do we learn that? A saint might say: "Meditate and pray long enough and you will open yourself up to the other world!" A poet might say: "Stare at a rose long enough and you'll see that there's more there than meets the eye!" A romantic might say: "Just fall in love real deeply or let your heart get broken and you'll soon know there's more to reality than can be empirically measured."

And the mystics of old would say: "Just honour fully what you meet each day and you will find it drenched with grace and divinity."


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