June 12, 2015
(Joh 19:34-35) But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side: and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe.
ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: What ‘renewing the Church’ really requires
VATICAN RADIO: Pope Francis speaks to the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
HEART TO HEART: A Mission to Encourage Personal Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
CATHOLIC HERALD: The Sacred Heart should be our rallying cry against secular society
The recent slew of feasts – Pentecost, Ascension, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, Ss Peter and Paul – has been a pleasant reminder to me of the continuing fecundity of the Catholic tradition. And it comes to a climax – at least this will be the last solemnity of the Lord until we reach the end of the liturgical year with Christ the King – with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart today, the second Friday after Pentecost.
The Sacred Heart to me represents one of the most important feasts of the year from a theological perspective. It is the feast of the flesh that was taken up by the Son of God. It is thus the feast of love made incarnate for us in the person of Our Lord. It is our way of celebrating what made the people of the Holy Land so happy during the earthly ministry of Jesus, namely, the presence of our loving Saviour among us.
As for the iconography of the Sacred Heart, it is important to realise that all crucifixes, in that they show the wounded side of Our Lord, are images of His Sacred Heart laid bare out of love.
The liturgy of the solemnity is particularly theologically profound. Consider the Preface:
"Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give You thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lifted high on the cross,
Christ gave His life for us,
so much did He love us.
From His wounded side flowed blood and water,
the fountain of sacramental life in the Church.
To His open heart the Saviour invites all men
to draw water in joy from the springs of salvation.
Now, with all the saints and angels,
we praise you for ever: Holy, holy, holy Lord…"
This has the merit of brevity and profundity. The Preface taken from the Missal of 1962 is rather more florid, but perhaps even more arresting. Here is an English translation of it, from a hand missal:
"It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto
salvation, that we should in all times and in all
places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father
almighty, and everlasting God; who didst will that
Thine only begotten Son should be pierced by the
soldier’s lance as He hung upon the Cross: that from
His opened heart, as from a sanctuary of divine
bounty, might be poured out upon us streams of
mercy and grace; and that in His heart always
burning with love for us, the devout may find a haven
of rest, and the penitent a refuge of salvation. And
therefore with angels and archangels, with thrones
and dominions, and with all the heavenly hosts, we
sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:
Holy, Holy, Holy…"
There is far too much talk of God in the abstract, I find, these days, especially from unbelievers. But God is never in the abstract. He is a Person. Knowledge of God is best gleaned through the flesh of Jesus. The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is a good reminder that we should not let the enemies of religion set the agenda. They might want to talk about a God whom they do not believe in, but who we do not recognise either. We need to reply by talking about the God who is love, the Incarnate Son. Interestingly the Catholics who have most resisted deChristianisation – the brave folk of the Vendée and the Cristeros in Mexico – all took the Sacred Heart as their rallying cry. So should we.
ALETEIA: Four Things the Sacred Heart Says Without Words
The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility
2. Antony said to Poemen, 'Our great work is to lay the blame for our sins upon ourselves before God, and to expect to be tempted to our last breath.'
Prayer request? Send an email to: PrayerRequest3@aol.com
This month's archive can be found at: http://www.