Union and conformity

It's June, traditionally regarded as the month of the Sacred Heart. In honour of this, and our forthcoming feast, I uploaded onto our website a reflection written by one of our co-workers. In it, she recalls her first encounters with RSCJ, and their effect on her, especially as she began to discover the Heart of Jesus and its significance for her in a new way.

Hilary describes women who were open, relational, inclusive, attentive; women who showed deep love and concern, for co-workers as well as the young people they taught. These qualities are not in themselves grand or heroic or outstanding - although they clearly stood out for Hilary. But as I read and re-read them it occurred to me that they are all descriptors of the Heart of Jesus - very much so. It is open - widely, everlastingly open - and inclusive: there are no border controls, no boundaries or limitations; all are welcome. It is sublimely relational, and overflows with abundant, unconditional love, and in its compassion and tenderness it is certainly attentive and full of concern. 

In reflecting the qualities of the Heart of Jesus those RSCJ were - each in her own way - simply responding to and living out the call which lies at the heart of our vocation - union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus. St Madeleine Sophie said we do this through prayer and studying Jesus' interior dispositions; our Constitutions speak of letting ourselves be transformed by His Spirit so as to live united and conformed to Him, and through our love and service to radiate the very love of His Heart. Through prayer and desire and intimacy, we not only come to know the attitudes of Jesus' Heart, but we allow our limitations and lacks to be transcended and transformed, so that we can become women who radiate his deep, wide-open love and compassion to all those we encounter.

This is not something I consciously think about all the time (though maybe I should!), and I am far from living it totally, but it is something which has been gradually seeping into me over the years. It's a process and a letting go; a grace-filled growing which at times requires a very clear, conscious yes, and at others is almost imperceptible. But it is what we are called to be - what I am called to be - for God and the world, and this reminder, a week before our feast and in the month of the Sacred Heart, feels especially welcome.