Friday, June 23, 2006

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

This year is the first time (of many more to go, I hope) that I am a little more 'aware' of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, more than just to mention it in passing. Although I came from a convent school whose name is literally translated as "Our Lady of Sacred Heart", I never knew there was a devotion and a feast (and a whole month!) dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, until I 'bumped' into such a devotion group after one first Friday mass last year.

"Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth."

Those were the words Jesus said when He appeared to St Margaret Mary Alacoque.

Last Wednesday, my prayer group discussed this coming Sunday's mass readings (Job 38:1, 8-11; Psalm 107:23-26, 28-31; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41), where the recurring theme seems to be "high waves" in everybody's lives. I think that if God had wanted all of us to live our lives 'without waves', no doubt it would be done. Yet in each person's life, there IS turmoil, meeting which is not a matter of 'if', but 'when' and 'how'. The Psalms reading recognizes God's power to create storms and still storms; and all we have to do, it seems, is to trust Him completely: cry out to the Lord, and He brings us out of our distress. Suffering seems to be a 'most precious treasure' He wanted to share with us to bring us ever closer to Him.

I remember this when in moments of darkness I could not feel the presence of God in anything that I encounter. A little bit of faith and lots of grace drew me to seek Him in the Eucharist. Ever since, almost without my own effort, I somehow became more conscious of the blessings He has given in many sweet little moments; moments which in the past I surely would have ignored or spurned. What a merciful Father we have!

The Sacred Heart of Jesus loves like a mad man; His love is endless and it longs for us to love Him in return, both through our love for God and for our neighbors. In today's mass, Fr Anthony testified about his mother's devotion to the Sacred Heart, and how abundantly God had responded to her. It is just a little token from us to Him who loved us first, for who could fail to be moved when God spoke so:

When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords, with bands of love;
I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.
How could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O Israel?
How could I treat you as Admah, or make you like Zeboiim?
My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.

Hosea 11:1,3-4,8-9

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I place all my trust in you. Give us a heart of flesh, and make it Thine!

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