Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Devotion to the Sacred Heart - Part 2

As we await Thursday to resume the Twenty-One Days of Prayers for Priests series, I'll bring you more excerpts from the article written by Fr. William Wagner, ORC, on the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. See Post-1 here.

Continuing on in his article, we leave the topic of devotion and enter more deeply into Sacred Heart. There are three bullets in this next section and I will provide just a glimpse here and you can continue reading each at the orginal site. All three links below lead to the same page, so you can flow through all three bullets there.

Truly, the best thing to do with this article, is to print it out in full, then go off somewhere and read it slowly and meditate on it. It is really loaded with references, so take at least your bible with you. Sacred Heart is this Friday!!!

1. Its Source

Since devotion is about the loving service of God, and since our access to the love and service of God is in and through Christ, it follows that our devotion must be principally focused on Christ. The seed of the devotion to the Sacred Heart is planted in Sacred Scripture. Jesus invites us to come to Him and learn from Him who is "meek and humble of heart" (Mt 11,29). St. John reclines upon the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper (cf. Jn 13,22) and beneath the Cross witnesses the piercing of the Sacred Heart by the soldier's lance (cf. Jn 19,34ff).

This seed germinated at the beginning of the present millennium and began to thrive in the late Middle Ages.......

2. Its Reasons

Christ is the image, the icon of the Father, the manifestation of the eternal Godhead, of the merciful love of God. Now the symbol for this love is the heart. Hence, the Sacred Heart of Jesus stands: 1) for His Person and for His love; 2) for His Divinity and for His humanity; 3) for His love for the Father and for us; 4) for His divine and His human love. In a word, devotion to the Sacred Heart embraces the entire mystery of the Hypostatic Union, in virtue of which the man, Jesus, is the very Son of God. Pope Pius XII writes:

"The Heart of Jesus is the Heart of a Divine Person, the Word Incarnate, and by it is represented and, as it were, placed before our gaze, all the love with which He has embraced and even now embraces us. Consequently, the honor to be paid to the Sacred Heart is such as to raise it to the rank -- so far as external practice is concerned -- of the highest expression of Christian piety. For this is the religion of Jesus which is centered on the mediator Who is God and Man, and in such a way that we cannot reach the heart of God save through the Heart of Christ, as He Himself says: 'I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father save through Me' (Jn 14,6)."

Let us now consider the key ideas which motivated St. John Eudes in his great love for the Sacred Heart....

3. Its Fruits

At the Incarnation the Son of God not only sought a single humanity for Himself, but He aspired to unite all of humanity into Himself as into one 'mystical person', as Pope Pius XII terms it in His encyclical on the Mystical Body. At the Last Supper He prayed for all who would believe in Him: "[I pray] that all may be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in us and that they may be one, even as we are one" (Jn 17,21. 22). Evidently, the principal glorification of God in creation is this love of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, we ought to recognize that this is the principal reason why God incorporates men and angels into the Mystical Body of Christ, so that we all as one can love and glorify the Father with the infinitely pleasing love and power of the Sacred Heart. Truly, the Heart belongs to the entire Body. However humble we may be, as members of the Mystical Body, as members of Christ, His Divine Heart with all its fire and affection is wholly and entirely ours.....