In my time zone it is almost 2am on June 8th, and the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has passed. On the other side of the International Date Line, however, this beautiful Solemnity is still being marked and it is with that in mind that I post this however belatedly. Leave it to a night owl like me to let one day roll into the next!
I didn’t realize until recently that 114 years ago the entire human race was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pope Leo XIII. Not sure about you, but I find that intensely beautiful.
On the 100th anniversary of this occasion, Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to the faithful:
I particularly enjoyed the following:
The Saviour’s Heart invites us to return to the Father’s love, which is the source of every authentic love: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10). Jesus ceaselessly receives from the Father, rich in mercy and compassion, the love which he lavishes upon human beings (cf. Eph 2:4; Jas 5:11). His Heart particularly reveals the generosity of God towards sinners. God’s reaction to sin is not to lessen his love, but to expand it into a flow of mercy which becomes the initiative of the Redemption.
Contemplation of the Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist will spur the faithful to seek in that Heart the inexhaustible mystery of the priesthood of Christ and of the Church. It will enable them to taste, in communion with their brothers and sisters, the spiritual sweetness of charity at its very source. By helping all to rediscover their own Baptism, it will make them more aware of having to live their apostolic dimension by spreading love and participating in the mission of evangelization.
In this milieu, 14 years on from the writing of this letter, it is perhaps valuable to consider the contemplation of the Heart of Jesus as a being central element to the New Evangelization, too.
I hope those of you who read Pope John Paul II’s letter for the first time enjoy it and ponder it and find yourselves drawn more deeply into the Sacred Heart of Our Lord.