Today begins the novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Click here for novena details. This is a special devotion of mine and one I'll offer up for the brother I loved, for my parents who are shattered, for all those who spend too much of their time here on earth broken and bleeding and striving to anesthetize their pain.
Following is an old post that explains the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Dave and I enjoyed our weekend getaway.
Through Dave's savvy use of Priceline, we snatched up a gorgeous hotel room for less than usually pay for a dive off I-77. We are more accustomed to big rigs and bad coffee than waterfalls and sleek furniture. This was very nice.
Now at these nicer hotels there are these really helpful folks called bell-hops who handle your luggage for you. Who knew? The bell-hop and I were putting our smaller bags on a cart as Dave pulled the larger cases out of the trunk.
We had stopped for dinner shortly before our arrival. Ainsley had been getting cold, so I had opened my bag to grab a blanket. I failed to zip the bag shut.
Cue ominous music.
So there's Dave pulling out my suitcase. And there are all my personal effects scattering across the streets of downtown Tampa. I didn't take a close look because, I ask you, did I really want to see my unmentionables lying on the asphalt for all the world to see? Not so much.
Humiliation complete and personal effects retrieved, we tipped the good bell-hop and settled into our comfy room and enjoyed the rest of our trip.
On Sunday we walked a few blocks to a beautiful church for Mass. Friday was the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the parish happened to be the Church of the Sacred Heart. Call it the catechist in me, but things like this make my day.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus dates back to the mid 1600s when a French nun, now known as Saint Margaret Mary, had a series of visions revealing the nature of Christ's heart and His deep love for us. I have a beautiful image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that hung in my grandmother's house throughout my childhood.
In Catechesis of the Good Shepherd we explore why God presents some of the same lessons over and over again. Why are there two creation accounts in Genesis? Why are there four Gospels? Why did Jesus present parable after parable?
Each one, we learn, reflects a slightly different face of God.
So, too, it is with the saints. Saint Francis presents a vision of simplicity, detachment, and love. Saint Teresa of Avila calls us to the heights of contemplative prayer. Saint Faustina helps us understand the limitless expanse of Christ's mercy.
Saint Margaret Mary came to a unique awareness of the nature of Christ's heart. It is this heart that I pray will reshape what is lacking in my own.
The path to wholeness and holiness is not always a simple one. I've heard the saying "Act as if it all depends on you. Pray as if it all depends on God." Sometimes we ask God to do a work in us that we cannot do for ourselves.
In my early twenties I returned to the church of my early childhood. I embraced with a joyful heart so much of what the Catholic Church teaches. There were, however, a few lingering questions and theological issues that I gnawed on for a few years. I developed a habit of receiving communion and praying, "Jesus, I believe in you; help my unbelief." While there was no 180 degree shift, one day I simply found myself at peace.
Sometimes I am confronted anew with the limits of my heart, with my stunted ability to love. I judge others. I am impatient or dismissive with my children. I avoid certain people.
I don't want to be this way. I want the heart of Jesus.
So as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I continue to seek His heart. As I pass my grandmother's image of the Sacred Heart that now sits on our prayer table, I pray, "Jesus, meek and mild, make my heart as unto thine own."