Friday, July 1, 2011

The Heart of Jesus and Our Hearts

This is the heart of the man who loves you.

Today is the First Friday of July and, on this year's Roman calendar, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Church dwells on the heart of Jesus. Jesus's love for us is not some abstract thing. It is love communicated through an act of sacrifice. A man died on the Cross in order to transform death, in order to unite Himself to the death of every person. God the Only Begotten Son of the Father, made flesh and dwelling among us, gave us His flesh out of love. His heart, the vessel of His life's blood, suffered and poured itself out as an offering for us in a real death that transformed our death by the power of His love. Death has become, in the Heart of Jesus, the path to a new creation, a transfigured life, a resurrection to eternal communion with God that will never end.

Pompeo Batoni, Sacred Heart (Chiesa del Gesu, Roma)

Images cannot encompass the reality, but we can make images because the reality is that of the Word made flesh. The Son of God in His human nature died a real death in history, on a particular day, so that history would no longer be a prison for our lives, but a path to our destiny, to that unending life for which our hearts long.

This really happened. I want to cry out, "This is not a theory or a sentiment. This is a real event. His love happened in history for us. It happens now for us. He lives!"

The Sacred Heart. The Holiness of God (all purity and wonder and beauty and glory, fulfilling and going beyond all that we yearn for) has been given to us, that we might become holy. If this is not a real event, then why bother talking about it? It would be a crime to raise such elemental hopes for a happiness that did not really exist.

I speak of the Heart of Jesus, as I speak of my own heart, because it is real.