Open arms, open heart

This morning, Feast of the Sacred Heart, I had a strong sense of praying in union with so many people, especially my sisters around the world. Today is a day when RSCJ, students, associates, co-workers and friends all around the globe celebrate the unconditional, unlimited love of God for ALL, regardless of status or circumstance. And a day when we RSCJ re-commit ourselves in a particular way to our mission of discovering and making known that love, whose source is the Heart of Jesus.

Yesterday I posted a reflection (here) I had written, in which I described the Heart of Jesus as a multi-faceted diamond, and said something about the three facets which are the focus each year of the 3-year cycle of Mass readings. What I didn't do, though, was stress that there is an underlying unity between the different facets, probably because I hadn't quite put my finger on it myself. And then yesterday morning a friend shared this quote by Archbishop Fulton Sheen on her Facebook timeline:

So the divine love is sacrificial love. Love does not mean to have and to own and to possess. It means to be had and to be owned and to be possessed. It is not a circle circumscribed by self, it is arms outstretched to embrace all humanity within its grasp.

And the moment I read it I knew, just knew: here was that unity, that foundation to everything which is the Heart of Jesus. It lies in those open, outstretched arms: outstretched in welcome and acceptance; in longing and caring; in setting free and sending forth; in sensitive tenderness; in surrender and vulnerability...

Come to me can only be heard as longing and love if it is said with open arms; they are what turn those words into a genuine invitation to come and find refuge and healing, and a place where burdens can be laid down. And those same outstretched arms are what enable the Shepherd to reach out to those who are lost or on the edges, those most in need of tender loving care.

And all this is underpinned by the openness of a Heart which was pierced open in death, a wide-open Heart which will never close. From that Heart pours forth a torrent of abundant, self-giving love, a love which wants only to be gift and given and possessed. A love which constantly invites us in and bids us welcome: a love which finds its source in woundedness and pain, and is therefore the place where we can bring our own woundedness, our own broken hearts, where we can find healing and redemption.

It is not a circle circumscribed by self... but it is a circle, a dynamic circular movement open to the whole world, and calling me - us all - to be the same...

Happy Feast everyone!