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Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Friday, 15 June 2012

In the pierced Heart

The scene is depressingly familiar: a soldier pumped up with power and adrenaline and the battered, mutilated body of a young man... plus grieving, angry, traumatised, terrified family and friends. We see it, or something like it, all too often on our TV and computer screens and in our newspapers. And today, Feast of the Sacred Heart, the gospel brings us a similar scene: a soldier piercing Jesus' side with a lance, breaching not just Jesus' body, but the taboo concerning the violation of a dead body.

In the pierced Heart are united the superabundance of sin and the superabundance of love. I came across these words by a former Superior General, Helen McLaughlin, a few days ago, and they have stayed with me. This is indeed an event when malevolence meets goodness, sin meets love. And on face value, sin definitely wins. Love is powerless, sin is powerful; love is defenceless, vulnerable, open to attack; sin is armed and dangerous. Love is a spent force, sin is triumphant.

And yet... through that act of gratuitous cruelty Jesus' Heart is opened, never to close, releasing a torrent of superabundant, redemptive love, a wellspring that will never dry up. The opening words of our Constitutions remind us that there is nothing that cannot be redeemed or transformed: God's mercy and faithfulness shine forth in a world wounded by sin... and God's mercy and faithfulness pour forth in a Heart wounded by sin - wounded but not overcome. Here we have hatred somehow lost in the mighty flow of love it has unwittingly unleashed. Love, seemingly powerless, has, in its very powerlessness, conquered sin. That is something to hold on to, when all seems bleak and hatred seems to be reigning supreme.

The pierced Heart of Jesus opens our being to the depths of God and to the anguish of humankind (Consts, para 8). These words are central to our vocation as RSCJ. Today, and every day, we bring the many piercings we see and experience in our world and our lives and place them in Jesus' tender, wide-open Heart. And today especially, throughout the world, we renew our commitment through vows to make known the love of that Heart, through our lives and activities. Please pray for us, and for all who follow the spirituality and path of God's Heart.

1 comment:

  1. And today, Feast of the Sacred Heart, the gospel brings us a similar scene: a soldier piercing Jesus' side with a lance, breaching not just Jesus' body, but the taboo concerning the violation of a dead body...

    And yet... through that act of gratuitous cruelty Jesus' Heart is opened, never to close, releasing a torrent of superabundant, redemptive love, a wellspring that will never dry up.


    After years of hating the kitsch and saccharine surrounding it, by George, I think I've got it.

    THIS makes complete sense to me: pain, rock bottom, the darkest part of the dark night of the soul, makes the heart accessible - our heart accessible to G-d's, and G-d's heart accessible to ours.

    THANK YOU. I can now see past the prettiness, the twee that has been created that makes this feast easier to bear if one finds it difficult to face its depth and power.

    It reminds me of this:

    Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

    Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

    And could you keep your heart in wonder at the
    daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

    And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
    even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

    And you would watch with serenity through the
    winters of your grief.

    Much of your pain is self-chosen.

    It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

    Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

    For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

    And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.


    --Kahlil Gibran

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