The Heart of Jesus*
The high school I attended in my old country is a private non-sectarian school. But since almost all the teachers and staff were Catholic, they encouraged us Catholic students in our Catholic practices and devotions. One of these was the First Friday Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. When I graduated, I received a little hard-cover red book containing the history, prayers, the novena to the Sacred Heart, and the 12 promises He gave when He appeared to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque between 1673-1675.
Visiting my old country many years ago, I bought a beautiful wooden carving of Jesus with His exposed Sacred Heart painted red and with a crown of thorns around it and flames of love emanating from it. His hands are extended as if beckoning me to come closer to Him. That statue of the Sacred Heart, which I enthroned in a cove I inserted on a wall by the main door of my house, reminds me of the immense love of Jesus for me and all. I cast a loving gaze at that wooden statue of the Sacred Heart when I leave the house and when I return. When it is time to go upstairs to my bedroom, I stop for a minute before His image and give thanks for everything that happened that day and ask Him to continue blessing my family and me.
My youngest granddaughter, only two years old, always likes listening to the hymn "O Sacred Heart, O Love Divine." It is her lullaby. And when she gets tired of watching kiddie shows on TV, she has a way of telling us to change the channel to play that hymn. God has a way of catching our attention to turn to Him and feel His love. Baby Soleil is one of His palpable ways of doing that.
Whenever I see a painting of the Last Supper where John the beloved disciple leans his head close to the heart of Jesus, I cannot but feel holy envy and wish I had also been given that privilege.
But at the same time, I also realize that Jesus gave us the means to do that and more. He is not only close; He enters into our very bodies, our very hearts when we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist -- Body Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Through the years, I have not forgotten the words of "O Sacred Heart, O Love Divine," the song my beloved granddaughter Soleil has herself fallen in love with.
"Do Keep us near to Thee, And make our hearts so like to Thine, That we may holy be. . . ."
The hymn is His way of reminding me of the love He has for me. His way of assuring me that in the midst of the many blessings and joys He gives me, and no matter how many the challenges I meet in this life, He is always there, better still -- I am there in His Sacred Heart.
And His heart is so big; we can all fit there! #
* On the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - Friday, June 11, 2021. June is the Month of the Sacred Heart.