Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

5 reasons to adore the Sacred Heart

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sacredheart_webIf you had a May wedding, the bridesmaids wore blue. If you had a June wedding, the bridesmaids wore red. Such was the custom not so long ago for Catholic nuptials. Blue was to honor the Blessed Mother and red to honor the Sacred Heart. While most brides today have never heard of such devotions, some brides and grooms will still bring flowers to our Mother at their weddings. Many parishes continue to crown the statue of Our Lady in May and have communal rosaries. I think the Sacred Heart of Jesus has faded a bit from Catholic consciousness. I know it's not a competition, but I think it's time for the Sacred Heat of Jesus to get the attention it deserves.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a human heart that is inflamed with divine love, is a powerful meditation and an important theological bridge that helps us understand who Jesus is and how much he loves us. In this June, the month of the Sacred Heart, I think it is time for us to renew our devotion and so I offer you 5 reasons to adore the Sacred Heart.

1. A Sacred Sonogram - Imagine if sonograms had existed at the time of Jesus. Just a little more than a week after the Annunciation when Mary says yes to being the mother of God, we would have seen something amazing on that screen, a little beating heart. That tiny pulse, undetectable to the human ear but resounding in heaven, meant that our God has a heart.

2. What John didn't hear, but the angels did. - At the Last Supper, John the beloved laid his head on Jesus' chest. Jesus knew that Judas, one of his chosen Apostles, was going to betray him. What John did not hear but what echoed in heaven was the sound of a breaking heart. The Sacred Heart is as human as yours and mine, it is a sign of the true humanity of Jesus. Its beat quickened when Jesus laughed with a loved one, and it ached with sorrow when he experienced betrayal. Think how truly his heart feels your joys and sorrows.

3. Blessing not bitterness. - "But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out." (John 19: 33-34) The Sacred Heart of Jesus was wounded and from that wound came blood and water. From his suffering, blessings flowed - the water of Baptism and the blood of the Eucharist. From our pains and hurts, what flows? Grudges, blame and anger or mercy, compassion and forgiveness? Don't wait for suffering to come to turn to Christ on the cross, but begin to pray now that when we are put to the test, blessings and not bitterness will flow from our wounded side.

4. Certain wounds never heal. - When the soldier thrust the lance into Jesus' side, he was already dead. As Thomas learned, those wounds never healed. He was able to feel the marks of the crucifixion and put his hand into Jesus' side. The water and blood, Baptism and Eucharist, have never ceased to flow from the Heart of Christ. His mercy is without end. After you receive Communion at Mass, stay after a few minutes and recall his overwhelming, never-ending generosity. Pray that just as his love flows from the cross into you and me that they may flow from you and me into the world.

5. Like unto Thine. - The Sacred Heart of Jesus, a human heart, opened the gates of heaven for each of us. In Jesus, humanity entered into union with God that could only happen when God became a man. As he took a human heart, he invites us into his divinity. This June pray this invocation, old and yet so new:

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine. Heart of Jesus, burning with love for me, inflame my heart with love of Thee. Amen.

Fr. William Byrne

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