Just after Easter, I received a card from one of the readers of The Catholic Witness. The cover of the card featured a reproduction by Virginia Thomas of the Apparition of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary. In this rendition of the apparition, St. Margaret and Mary and Jesus’ glances are completely enwrapped in each other. In her writings, St. Margaret Mary said of her experience of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “One day, as I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, … Jesus Christ, my sweet Master, presented Himself to me, … with His five wounds shining like so many suns. From all parts of His Sacred Humanity there issued flames but especially from His adorable breast, which was like a furnace. Opening it, He showed me His loving and lovable Heart as the living source of those flames. Then he revealed to me all the unspeakable marvels of His pure love… .”1
As I opened the card, I was encouraged, by its sender, “Keep up the great work and don’t grow weary.” Flipping again to the front of the card, I thought, “To experience that type of love, just once, would gift humanity with a vision that would truly set the world on fire – a holocaust of divine love.” Christopher West, an international speaker on the Theology of the Body, says it this way: “God is singing an eternal love song, from the motion of galaxies to the movement of sub atomic particles. From the flowing of glaciers to the migration of birds, all of creation is part of a divine choreography. All of creation is dancing to this divine love song.” 2
Within the image of the Sacred Heart, we find Jesus’ three fold love: of the Father, of the Spirit and of all mankind. Because Jesus is truly human, he can love us with a human heart. Because he is truly divine, he show us how God loves. Through this focus, we can understand, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, my God’” (Heb 10:5-7;10).
Throughout his entire life, as noted in the Scriptures, Jesus perfectly fulfilled the will of God because of love. Think about these moments3:
- The word of God, creator of the entire universe, became human within Mary’s womb
- As a child, Jesus was obedient to Joseph and Mary.
- Through the sweat of his brow and the work of his hands, Jesus was a carpenter. In his work, he was obedient to God.
- That same love impelled Christ during his public ministry. His long apostolic journeys, always on foot; all his miracles; bearing fatigue, hunger, thirst; nightly watches of prayer and preaching all reveal, as St. Gregory write, “the heart of God itself is revealed.”
- In His public ministry: “I have compassion upon the crowd” (Mk 8:2). When he looked upon his beloved city of Jerusalem and uttered “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).
- In the Garden of Gethsemane, He cried out, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,” (Matt. 26:39) and he called Judas, his traitor, a friend!
It is my prayer that all of you experience just a spark of the love with which Christ loves us and, through that experience, love all those who pass your journey. What a different world this would be!
By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness
2Christopher West: Marriage is a Dance, Marital Love and the Theology of the Body https://youtu.be/cyGpersorsw (Accessed on May 20, 2019)
3Enclyclical of Pope Pius XII, On Devotion to the Sacred Heart, May 15, 1656, paragraphs 64-88.