June 18, 2017

Reflection for the Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: May Our Hearts Become the Heart of Christ.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 23, 2017

By Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois

In the ancient world, the heart was considered the center of the body. It was the seat of life, wisdom, conscience, thought, emotion and love. In reality, the ancients ascribed to the heart what today would be called the work of the brain. So, if this solemnity were to be renamed with today’s knowledge, it would the “Solemnity of The Most Sacred Brain of Jesus.” However, in the popular culture the heart is still considered the seat of emotion and love. People love with one’s “whole heart” and “give their hearts away” to others. Some speak of having “their hearts broken” at the end of a relationship. Although modern science has proven the brain as the central organ of the human body, the heart carries more weight in the world of emotion and love. 

On this feast, the Church celebrates the heart, or core organ, of Jesus Christ. That heart is holy and sacred. It is that heart that suffered and died upon the cross. It is his heart that was raised from the dead by God the Father. The blood from his heart is that blood that poured out from his side when pierced by the soldier. It is the blood of Christ under the appearance of wine that we drink at Mass, reminded that his blood is true drink. As his blood flows through his heart and then into our chalices and bodies, it is the life of Christ himself who is coursing through our veins. In receiving the Eucharist, we touch the heart the Christ. 

Thus the heart of the Christian becomes the heart of Christ. And if the heart is the seat of love, emotion, and conscience, then the Christian is to love like Christ loved. How has Christ loved? Let’s take a quick look at some of the ways …. 

Jesus taught Christians about forgiveness. Stories from the Gospels abound of his forgiving others their sins. The woman at the well was treated with kindness after she had been ostracized by her kinfolk (Jn 4:1-42). Those who crucified Jesus were forgiven by him while he was on the cross (Lk 23:34). The woman caught in adultery was forgiven, and told to go and sin no more (Jn 8:1-11). The prodigal son was welcomed home and forgiven by his father (Lk 15:11-32). If the heart of the Christian becomes the heart of Christ, then that Christian must forgive like Jesus. 

Ultimately the cross, death, and resurrection of Jesus was the way in which he showed his love to all. He laid down his life for all people, and three days later came back from the dead to bring hope and new life to a world in desperate need of it. In doing so, Jesus deems all of humanity redeemable and that the path to God is now wide open. Now each and every Christian makes the journey from the cross of Jesus to his empty tomb. To the cross, one brings all sinfulness, suffering, and death. With eyes of faith, the Christian can see beyond the cross to the empty tomb, to his resurrection. 

The heart of the Christian becomes the heart of Christ. Because Jesus is the source of all hope, so the Christian is a person of hope, new life, and resurrection. The heart of the Christian becomes the heart of Christ through prayer, most notably the Eucharist. The Blood of Christ will draw the Christian in closer to Christ and thus into a life of personal prayer. Ultimately, prayer is not so much the multiplication of words as it is about uniting oneself with Christ in contemplation of his presence. In quiet prayer with the Scriptures, an icon, or picture, the Christian unites herself with Jesus, thus uniting her heart to his. The heart of the Christian thus becomes the heart of Christ. 

It is the call of every Christian to unite his heart with Christ’s. Through the Eucharist, prayer, and loving service to one’s neighbors, the Christian will feel that unity in heart and soul, and thus be one with the Lord Jesus.

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