Different, but always the same

None of us will ever forget how we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart 2020! Those of us whose lockdown is still only gradually easing will never forget the Zoom Masses and virtual gatherings; the necessarily domestic, often isolated, rather than public nature of our festivities. And those whose lockdown has been further eased, and who have been able to gather, are doing so in the sombre shadow of this deadly pandemic, and an awareness of just how much it has ravaged our world.

Earlier this week, as our church buildings - along with many shops - were finally able to re-open their doors, I wrote a short reflection on the Sacred Heart for my diocesan website. I began by contrasting all the necessary restrictions now imposed on anyone entering public buildings with the Heart of Jesus, which is always open, in generously loving, merciful welcome - with absolutely no restrictions, queues or doorkeepers. That openness, transcending all our lockdowns and limitations, is timeless, as is the call to come to him, to rest in him, and to allow him to teach us how to love as he does.

I've also spent time this week reading and re-reading the feast-day letter sent to us all by our Superior General, calling us to deep, genuine solidarity with each other and with all who are suffering. And I am brought back to the compelling call I first felt as a brand-new novice, to enter into the Pierced Heart of Jesus, that place of vulnerability which opens me, opens my heart, to the depths of God and the pain and anguish of humankind. And I am reminded, too, of my experience during my candidate year, when I could feel the RSCJ with whom I lived absorb suffering into their lives and prayer, making it part of the life and prayer of the whole community. This was more than simply 'feeling sorry for...' or 'praying for...': it was a real compassion, a real suffering-with; a breaking and re-making of each one's heart which, I realised, was so second nature, so much part of being RSCJ that it was largely unconscious. It is a compassion, a suffering-with I knew back then that I didn't yet possess, and still long to deepen and grow within myself; something I so need to learn from Jesus' Heart...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, give me, give us all, a heart that is one with your own... 

Costado: by Sr Caritas Muller de Cazis OP

Yes, it's been a very different feast of the Sacred Heart: a different way of celebrating, and indeed, a different, maybe more intense way of being RSCJ. But, at its centre is the same, unchanging Sacred Heart. Our perspective might be altered, but the Heart of Jesus is always, fundamentally the same; always open, always faithful, always overflowing with tenderness and love. The same Sacred Heart, who continues to call us to enter his depths and discover anew, and with greater intensity and urgency, how to be his love at the heart of this pain-filled, suffering world...


  1. How well you describe this gift of 'suffering with'. How to do it though, and how live through it?


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