As a Catholic, I was often puzzled by the continued return to heart imagery among our saints and in our art. The "Sacred Heart" of Jesus and the "Immaculate Heart of Mary," where both are pointing to their blazing heart, are images known to Catholics worldwide. I often wonder what people actually do with these images. Are they mere sentiment? Are they objects of worship or objects of transformation? Such images keep recurring because they must have something important, good, and perhaps even necessary to teach the soul. What might that be?
In prayer we come to Him with everything that touches our life,
with the sufferings and hopes of humanity.
As apostolic contemplatives, Religious of the Sacred Heart root our lives in prayer. With a mission to discover and reveal the love of God, our spirituality and our mission are based in love. Our contemplative outlook is part of who we are, whether in prayer, in ministry or in our daily lives.
"The contemplative outlook on the world has been a call to be authentic apostles of Christ's love, to help bring to birth a more welcoming world, to make known a God who is great, bountiful and tender. It is a call to educate in such a way that God's plan, God's glory, may become a reality, so that all may grow as brothers and sisters in the inward freedom of the children of God, and have fullness of life." (Superior General Concepcion Camacho, RSCJ)
The pierced Heart of Jesus opens our being to the depths of God and to the anguish of humankind.
On these pages, we will share prayers, poems, reflections and artwork that reflect the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart. We hope you will return here periodically for resources appropriate to the liturgical season and our Sacred Heart traditions.
On May 6th, in 1882 Janet Erskine Stuart had a life-changing experience of God amidst a garden of blue hyacinths. In a flash of insight she knew and embraced the vocation to which God was inviting her. Every year thereafter, on May 6th, she quietly celebrated that event in the garden and renewed her sense of vocation and purpose.
How can Christ’s heart possibly be large enough to hold us all?
Consider the beauty of this wooden carving. I see it as an image of Christ’s wide open heart. I am struck by the scale of the heart relative to the size of the image itself; the prominent size and the width suggest an openness which cries out in invitation. A wide gate welcomes many visitors, and so it is with the heart of Christ.
While reflecting on Jesuit Marko Rupnik’s mosaic for a while now, I couldn’t help but think of Bette.
Bette McNiff, my very good friend, is dying. As she puts it, “I’m ready for the golden ticket, anytime the good Lord decides.” Acceptance and surrender is at the core of her life. When asked the secret of how she is dealing with her cancer with so much equanimity, now in month sixteen after having been given three months to live, Bette says “faith and trust in God and an Irish sense of humor.”
As you take a moment to sit quietly with this image, where are your eyes drawn? Is it the figure of Jesus on the cross, the various churches, the contrast of light and darkness in the painting, the depth of color? What catches your attention? What stirs your heart? God communicates to us through images, sounds, words, feelings, imagination and intuition. What is God communicating to you as you gaze at this image?
The moment of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan is an event so important it appears in all four of the Gospels. I wonder if it is the moment when Jesus’ lifelong discernment of his special vocation – to make God’s love known in the heart of the world – was clear to him, accepted and confirmed?
Jesus was always a bit out of step; he had not followed the norm of settling down and raising a family. Otherwise, he was fully a part of the life of Nazareth. Jesus had wept at their funerals and danced at their weddings.
Loving God, unseen Companion of our life, give us faith and eager expectancy as we begin this fresh stage of our journey. Take from us all fear of the unknown and teach us to wrest treasures from darkness and difficulties. As the days come and go, may we find that each one is laden with happy opportunities and enriching experiences; and when this year reaches its completion, may our best hopes be more than ever fulfilled. Amen.