Into the pierced Heart

Despite all the beauty, sunshine and life-filled greenness of June, it feels as though we are living in a season of woundedness. Each news programme, and much of our daily paper, seems to be dominated by a multi-layered collage of tragedies, violence and pain. The earthquake in Guatemala has vied for our attention with conflict, injustice, violence and divisive policies elsewhere. Here, we have entered several weeks of poignant, raw and tragic anniversaries: the attacks on Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Borough Market, Finsbury Mosque... Next week it will be a year since the devastation of Grenfell Tower, currently being relived through its public inquiry; later this month it will be two years since the murder of Jo Cox. And rumbling away beneath all this, the ill-treatment of the Windrush generation, the virulent mess of Brexit, the effects of government-imposed austerity on the already poor and so much more. And then there are the people we know, coping with illness, bereavement, unemployment and more.

Crucifix in our motherhouse chapel
Yes, it is a season of woundedness - and where better to bring all this than the pierced, open Heart of Jesus, whose feast we celebrate today? Today at Mass we will hear again the Gospel account of this piercing, breaking open: an act of senseless violence against a vulnerable, defenceless body; an act of hatred which, unwittingly, released an unending torrent of love. Entering into this Heart, in order to go to the heart of the world, with all its joys and complexities and suffering, can open us to pain, but it is fundamental to our being RSCJ, and to our mission of love. Our Constitutions remind us that The pierced Heart of Jesus opens our being to the depths of God and to the anguish of humankind... and in the same single movement, it is the anguish of humankind which brings us back, time and again, into the pierced Heart; back into those unfathomable depths of God.

In her feast-day letter to us all, our Superior General referred to this fundamental call, when she wrote We are called as Religious of the Sacred Heart to enter into the mystery of the open side of Jesus, to enter into Christ’s suffering and the suffering of humanity and allow the depth of this suffering to transform us from the inside out into women of hope.

To allow this suffering to transform us into women of hope... I'm so glad she reminded us of this, knowing how easy it can be to give in to despair, and be overwhelmed by all the anguish we see and feel. Instead, somewhere in all this, there is hope - there has to be hope - and the certainty of redemption. That is the central mystery of the open Heart; an atrocity transformed into an outpouring of love - the source of all our hope.

So today, as all of us around the world renew our vowed commitment, may we also renew our hope, and our willingness to enter deeply into this mystery of the pierced Heart, and into the depths of God. And may this lead us all to live with greater love, knowing this is what our bruised and wounded world so desperately needs.