In the month of the Sacred Heart

We're almost two and a half months into lockdown, the days and weeks blurring into each other. The activities previously associated with specific days, which served as markers for our weeks, have mostly ended, or feel different; and thus we joke - with some truth - about losing track of the day or date. If you're in this situation, then the image on this post can help you: it's from a calendar by one of my sisters; the photo is hers, the words from Laudato Si':

We were conceived in the heart of God, and for this reason each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. 

And indeed it's now June, the month of the Sacred Heart; a month when we can especially focus on the wide-open, infinitely and all-loving Heart of Jesus. On the 19th we will celebrate our feast, in union with our sisters and wider family around the world, and in the Gospel hear Jesus say Come to me... learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart... And I'm typing this having just watched news footage from the US of the continuing protests at the killing of George Floyd. Last week I saw a man being choked to death in the name of law enforcement; now I watch the deployment by police of teargas and rubber bullets, baton charges and the face-to-face confrontations. I'm haunted by an impervious, unblinking policeman: what, I wonder, is he thinking? When he looks ahead, he sees naked anger, of course; but does he also see people conceived in the Heart of God, and loved into being, just as he himself has been? And then I see rare clips of those places - like Flint or Miami - whose police officers have recognised the dignity of the protestors, showing solidarity and respect... and I know there is still hope, alongside anguish; still humanity, alongside anger.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, give them, give us all, a heart that is one with your own:
A gentle heart that holds and calms its anxieties
A loving heart that has compassion for the sufferings of others...

All this and more is in the ever-widening Heart of Jesus, along with all those who have died and are suffering due to Covid19... They are all part of the woundedness and pain with which the pierced Heart is filled, and with which we journey into the depths of God, in order to discover anew the Love which sends us back out; to love, and to love and to love some more. And all this will be part of this month, in which we celebrate that Love, at once tender and strong, which lies at the heart of our world, and of all our longing.