Friday, July 1, 2011

Sweet Heart of Jesus

There is a wonderful article by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith in the Catholic Herald Online about today's great Solemnity, well worth a read.    He reminds us that today's feast is truly rich: a celebration of the Incarnation - a "feast of flesh" he calls it, but also a deeply intimate feast, one in which we are called to enter into the Heart of Jesus Christ - the Heart that was opened on the cross for us - opened to release grace out upon us, but opened also to be a door for us to enter into the life of God. 

St Veronica Giuliani

I think of the great Italian mystic, St Veronica Giuliani: when her mother was dying she confided each of her little children to a wound of the Lord - little Ursula, as she was then, was entrusted to the wound in the Lord's side.  It would prove providential - she entered into that wound and into the Heart of Christ to discover and, at the Lord's command, to reveal its secrets for all who seek to come to know and love Christ.

Badge of the Catholic rebellion in the Vendee (1793-1796)

Fr Lucie-Smith also reminds us of the place devotion to the Heart of Jesus has in history.  The martyrs of the French Revolution found strength in the devotion to face their deaths.  The uprising in Vendee (or counterrevolution I suppose) took the devotion as the rallying cry against the strident atheism of the revolutionaries.  The Sacred Heart was depicted on the flags of the Catholic insurgents - in fact the flag and arms of the region still depict the crowned Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 

In these troubled times the Heart of Christ must also be an inspiration, a strength and indeed a rallying call for us - a call to faith, hope and love - to heroic living.  There is a need for a new counterrevolution - a new order to undo the regime imposed by secularism and the promiscuity of the sexual revolution.  Of course that new order is very ancient - it is the way of the Gospel, but it is ever new since it has a relevance for all people in all ages.  The Heart of Jesus puts flesh on the Gospel and reminds us that ultimately the Gospel is Christ's - his word, his teaching, the path which can lead us to his life: the way to his Heart: the way of love.

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