I grew up in a parish with an old, beautiful church. I have early memories of looking at different paintings, windows, and statues during Mass. There was all manner of fascinating pictures: animals, people, angels, etc., enough to capture my imagination for the whole hour. There was one image, at the center of the church, though, that I found very curious: it was a statue of Jesus with his heart on the outside, his hands stretched in invitation.
I later learned that this was the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the patron of our parish. I still didn’t understand what it meant. Why was Jesus’ heart visible? Why was it crowned with thorns, wounded, and aflame?
By God’s providence, I entered the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. Our community is one devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. While popular devotions come and go in history, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus transcends times, cultures, and places, for it is a devotion to the person of Jesus Christ. In the directory to our Constitutions it states:
“Adoration of the ‘Heart of Jesus,’ therefore, means the whole divine-human Christ at his ‘personal’ center. This adoration reaches to the Lord himself precisely as He pours Himself forth in the full paschal mystery (His giving Himself on the cross and His resurrection), which we share daily in the Eucharist and in our quotidian life—especially in our serving love.” (directory to 105)
Jesus, the Divine Word of the Father, became man so that sinners might become sons. His heart, wounded by sin, burning with love for sinners, makes visible what was once invisible: that the Father wills that all might be saved, so that we might become co-heirs with his Son in the Spirit. Ultimately, the Heart of Christ shows the world that God is love, and this love cannot be destroyed by sin and death; rather, it is the love that saves, sanctifies, renews, and transforms us into the children of God. So, on this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us look “on the one whom they have pierced” (Zec 12:10; Jn 19:37; Constitutions 105); let us meet Jesus Christ, who gave all so that we might live!
- Sister M. Mediatrix, FSGM