Saturday, June 4, 2016

Real Hearts That Love Us Personally

This weekend the Roman rite has observed the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which occur every year on the Friday and Saturday after Corpus Christi Sunday.

We do not worship the Sacred Heart of Jesus or honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary as though we are addressing these body parts in isolation, disconnected from their whole, integral glorified bodies, abstracted from their whole humanity. On the contrary, when we love and adore the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we love and adore Jesus. When we trust in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we trust in Mary.

When we speak of the human heart, we mean not merely the central organ of the circulatory system. We also mean the central focus of the mysterious interiority of the bodily person. Humans are spiritual and physical, transcendent and concrete, knowing and loving in and through a presence in space and time.

Jesus and Mary are fully human. Living in glory, the Risen One and the Mother who has been taken up into the full, definitive participation in that glory continue to be human. We don't understand how it "works," but we believe that Jesus and Mary live perfected in the flesh. The real Jesus. The real Mary.

To love Jesus in His Sacred Heart and Mary in her Immaculate Heart is to discover that they are not abstractions, that they are not a collection of ideals or cultural constructs that attempt to express some kind of alienating spiritualism. They are persons of flesh and blood, and their engagement of our lives is real and concrete, specific, particular. They love us.

Jesus loves me, and Mary loves me... "from the heart" in all the human intimacy this entails. This love is expansive beyond all imagining and mysterious beyond comprehension, and thus so often seemingly "distant" or even "absent" from our psychological sensibility in times of trial and suffering.

But they are always with us, and we must let them carry us even when all we can feel is our own pain.