Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In the First Reading, the prophet Hosea talks about the Lord drawing his people to him with “human cords, with bands of love…”. In Latin, cordis is the genitive case of the word “heart”, genitive indicating “possession.” How fitting then that “heart” and “cords” are indicators of God’s possession of us and of your possession of his love.
Aside from grammatical fancies, the Feast of the Sacred Heart is looked upon as the day we re-dedicate our minds, our beings…our hearts to God and ask him to show his love for us, as he did with the Israelites.
The Gospel tells us that Christ died for us and that to fulfill the prophecies made about him, “Not a bone of (the lamb) will be broken” and “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.” Those images tug at my heart knowing that the Jews wanted Jesus’ legs to be broken to hasten his death before the sabbath, and the Romans soldier stabbed Jesus with a lance to see if he was indeed dead.
The heart that was begotten for us, to teach us, and to pattern for us true love, the heart that lived for us, and the heart that was sacrificed for our sakes…this heart, contemplating it as we do, almost severs our own cords and breaks our own bands of love immersing ourselves in the Passion and Death of Our Lord. And truly his mother, Mary, and his friends and disciples must have felt their own hearts break in the ninth hour as Jesus says, “into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Now here, let me address the line that is almost a throw-away from today’s Gospel: “For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled…” This idea has been a stumbling blocks for me for many years, that the New Testament is foreshadowed by the Old, that we can find fulfillment of the words of the prophets in the life of Jesus. I don’t know why that should be so. But as something of an historian, I’m always aware that people can use the past to prove and suit their own, sometimes nefarious, purposes. I know that’s just the cynic in me. I know in the part of my existence that doesn’t function in facts, but in revelation and insight, in contemplation and prayer, that of course Jesus was alove through these ancient seers and prophets.
It is here in my meditations that I always mentally stumble over another wonderful verse, this one from Mark: “Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Because of course we have doubts, even those who were not trained as historians. But those doubts do form the bedrock of the temple of our faith. I shouldn’t fear them.
And for these reasons, I am moved, and we are moved on this feast, the make or renew an Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Please replace my name with yours.
I, Brother Chip Noon, give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being save to honor, love, and glorify the Sacred Heart.
This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him.
I therefore take Thee, O Sacred Heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life, and my sure refuge at the hour of death.
Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God Thy Father, and turn away from me the strokes of His righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in Thee for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness and bounty.
Do Thou consume in me all that can displease Thee or resist Thy holy will; let Thy pure love imprint Thee so deeply upon my heart, that I shall nevermore be able to forget Thee or to be separated from Thee; may I obtain from all Thy loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Thee, for in Thee I desire to place all my happiness and all my glory, living and dying in very bondage to Thee.