|Painting by Aisling, 13|
Sacred Heart High School, Hammersmith
(used with the artist's permission)
So the world is the heart and the focus of this painting: and Christ is there, at the heart of this world, his love and light radiating, pulsating outwards, just as the world is in him; held in him, in his very Heart. And rather like a heartbeat there is a two-way movement in this image: it draws us inwards, into the centre, but also sends us outwards, to the very edges. Christ's eternal love and our response blend into one, becoming a single, unified movement.
This painting is about the Eucharist, the focus of this Sunday's feast of Corpus Christi, and yet, for me, there is something intrinsically Sacred Heart about it. And really, how could there not be? The Society's Heart-centred spirituality has, since our beginnings, been Eucharistic. For us, the two mysteries, the Eucharist and the Open Heart, are so bound together that it is the Eucharist that takes us into the wide-open, ever-expanding Heart of Jesus. And so, as I gazed at the painting in the cathedral and read Aisling's explanation I was reminded of some words from our Constitutions: Through the Eucharist we are drawn into the gift of Jesus to His Father for the life of the world, and in His Body we are gathered into one. (para 5)... and Jesus draws us into his movement of adoration of the Father and love for all, especially those who are poor. (para 8).
And in here is that two-way movement: we are drawn into Jesus' adoration and self-giving love, yes, but only so that, strengthened by Love, we can be sent outwards, ever outwards, in deepening, widening love. This is Christ's desire for us, and our call, through which we become and build up his Body, in unity and shared fragility, solidarity, healing and hope.