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

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Serene joy

The international Sacred Heart social media network has been full of images of and links to reflections about Mater Admirabilis, whose feast we celebrate today. Remarkably, this simple fresco of a still, pensive young woman caught in a contemplative moment, painted just over 170 years ago, somehow continues to speak - and to speak anew - to successive generations of RSCJ, co-workers and alumni, despite the glittery allure of better-promoted celebrities, sport and film stars as 'role models'.

As I was looking at this reflection by Young AMASC (worldwide association of Sacred Heart alumni) I was struck by the slide which says that 'rejoice' is the first thing Mary hears from God, and the first thing we need to hear. Ah yes, I realised, although we often translate Gabriel's salutation as 'hail', or 'greetings', the word he uses is in fact one that also means 'rejoice!' Rejoice, favoured one, the Lord is with you... rejoice... not because you are special, but because God is with you...

The reflection continues: Look at the serenity in Mater; she reflects the profound joy of knowing she is God's beloved. It is the inner joy of  those who live every day with the conviction that they are not alone; Mary experiences the deep love of God, knowing she is inhabited by Him... Reading this, I heard echoes of the call to all religious made by Pope Francis for this Year of Consecrated Life, to be glad, rejoice, radiate joy... to know and show that God is able to fill our hearts to the brim with happiness... that we need not seek our happiness elsewhere... that our total self-giving in service... brings us life-long personal fulfilment...

Many people struggle to believe in love; sadly so, as the conviction of being loved can lead to a joy surpassing all others - especially when that love is unbounded and unconditional. Mary shows us this joy can be lived, at depth, with stillness and quiet serenity. May she help us to do likewise, reflecting the profound joy of knowing we are God's beloved, and, through our love and service, enabling those we encounter to experience this surpassing joy in being loved for themselves.

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