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The Heart

Today is the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and liturgically the entire month of June is the month dedicated to this most profound and beautiful devotion. Seeing all the magnificent imagery of Christ’s burning heart this month and a moment’s contemplation brought it in real terms for me. The heart is such an incredible organ. It primarily keeps us alive, yes, but more so what we know from history, life and literature, the heart encompasses humanity and the human soul so much more. We hear the term ‘they died from a broken heart’, or we have felt our heart ache with love, or devastation, and our heart is what feels empty when we are alone. Love hurts, and the lack of love hurts even more. We long for it to be filled and mended and we perpetually seek ways to solve this, whether through the world in an unhealthy manner, or through the sacraments and Adoration.

But rather than focus on the human heart and condition, I thought for a moment, Christ’s heart. Look at it crowned in thorns, burning with fire and dripping with blood. We see it so artistically and for us cradle Catholics it is common place. But look at it again with fresh eyes. How would that feel? Pierced, bleeding, burning and imagine feeling in love amplified by infinity. If Christ’s heart was your heart you would die instantly with the emotion. That is no sweet love too – it is a graphic and gory love. We know Christ sacrificed Himself for our sins, and I believe many of us acknowledge that duly and are forever loving and grateful in response. But place that incredible Sacrifice for all history and all humanity into one organ. That is the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. What we see in Christ’s actions and in His Heart is a most ferocious love encompassing all of salvation history. We have a broken heart, and a heart that is perpetually yearning for Christ’s heart. We can not gain all of that love now, for we would die if we experienced it all, but we can ask for what we can handle and to assist with our mission on earth.

The miracle of St Philip Neri comes to mind and is most incredible. Prior to Pentecost in 1544 "While he was with the greatest earnestness asking of the Holy Ghost His gifts, there appeared to him a globe of fire, which entered into his mouth and lodged in his breast; and thereupon he was suddenly surprised with such a fire of love, that, unable to bear it, he threw himself on the ground, and, like one trying to cool himself, bared his breast to temper in some measure the flame which he felt. When he had remained so for some time, and was a little recovered, he rose up full of unwonted joy, and immediately all his body began to shake with a violent tremour; and putting his hand to his bosom, he felt by the side of his heart, a swelling about as big as a man's fist, but neither then nor afterwards was it attended with the slightest pain or wound," as was described by Bacci. His autopsy had confirmed that his heart had enlarged with the sudden outpouring of love and two ribs had been broken and formed an arch to compensate. He physically felt the effects of God’s love. Like St Philip Neri, we can also, maybe not with such physical extremity, but the same wholeness nonetheless.

Furthermore, it is interesting to think that all the recognised Eucharistic miracles around the world have been identified as heart tissue. Christ is telling us something. We yearn for a mended heart and yet He has already provided the remedy. In the Eucharist we may have a taste of that ferocious love, that love that bleeds and burns, fills and heals. Every time we receive Him, willingly ask Christ to replace your heart with His, and He will do so, maybe in ways you weren’t expecting, but in ways you need. We too can truly burn with love as Christ does for us, but we must sacrifice and let go, as He did.

So today and this month, consider how Christ’s Most Sacred Heart burns for us. Consider how His Heart leads us to Himself in the Eucharist, and whenever you feel that physical ache, look at the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and unite your emotion to the infinity that is His.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.



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