St Valentine's day: a day filled with hearts and declarations of love; a day in which every shop display is crammed with these pink and red universal symbols of love and devotion. It's a day for poetry and romance, hearts, flowers, hearts and yet more hearts! Hearts are big in our imagery and language. We can be wholehearted, half-hearted, broken-hearted, open-hearted... we call people sweetheart, Braveheart, Lionheart... we can take heart, have a heart and it can be of gold... we can even enjoy a heart-to-heart over a hearty meal with someone who is a person after our own heart... In fact, hearts are not just big, they're seemingly unlimited!
The Heart of Jesus is a place of refuge and welcome, a shelter, a safe place, a place of peace where every fear is put to rest. His is a Heart open to ALL. Like a mother, He reaches out to the weakest and most vulnerable, the mentally and physically handicapped, the psychologically fragile, the addict, the prisoner, the refugee, the unwanted and unloved, those suffering any form of rejection.
When we speak of the Heart of Jesus we are referring to the core of His being, the “place” of his deepest life, where He experiences beauty and ugliness, joy and pain. It is that place to which He invites us, calls us home. That Heart is a heart that is fully human. He knows our humanity – all of it - “from the inside”, from experience, and He loves it. He has walked in our sandals.
This is the Heart to which we Religious of the Sacred Heart have pledged ourselves, aiming for union and conformity with his desires and attitudes. So today, very much day of the heart, we too can join in, celebrating that loveliest of all hearts, always open, and a love that is totally boundless, everlasting and true.