No waiting room to the Sacred Heart

Today we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart, that space as wide and as deep as all the love and all the people it contains, and all the brokenness and pain we pour into it. This year our Gospel focus is on the Pierced Heart, which, our Constitutions remind us, opens our being to the depths of God and the anguish of humankind. And eighteen months into a relentless, global pandemic, with all the loss and devastation it has wrought, it is the anguish of humankind - and our own anguish and hollowing out - which brings us back, time and again, into the Pierced Heart. As our Superior General has reminded us in her letter for this feast: Truly this has been a year of SOLIDARITY. It’s been a time when our hearts have been pierced and stretched, sometimes to the point of almost breaking. 

But we celebrate this feast, because of the strength of the unlimited and enduring love and the hope it contains. And this morning I will celebrate with colleagues from the three agencies which (officially, and in non-pandemic times) occupy the second floor of diocesan HQ. It will be the latest in our periodic gatherings via Zoom, coming together to pray and catch-up. 

As I created the Zoom meeting I deliberately unticked the 'waiting room' box. And then I realised just how right this was - because there is no waiting room to the Sacred Heart! No waiting room, and no limits on numbers; rather, an ever-widening space, embracing and uniting people from across spectrums. Nobody crashes out; and if anyone freezes, they will be unfrozen by Love. Oh, and this Host will never put us on mute: he cares about and delights in our background noises, and can recognise and clearly hear each one of us and our longings, even in an unrestrained cacophony of voices.

No, there's no waiting room to this Heart, which was opened when it was pierced, and has remained open - everlastingly, widely so - in welcome and acceptance. No waiting room for those who come seeking refuge and solace; those who come with their pain and fragility, their hunger for hope and thirst for love. And no waiting room for those who come wanting to listen to and learn from Love; wanting to learn how to see with God's eyes, and respond with his tenderness and compassion. 

However we come, whatever we come for, the meeting is always open, the Host longs to let us in, and there is room for all of us in that vast and spacious Heart, which pours out healing and hope to our suffering, wounded world.

Happy feast, everyone!