The following reflection on the significance of this Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an excerpt from my newest book, Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart.
God loves you so much! It sounds so trite to say it in such simple words, but it is so infinitely true! God’s love is so deep, so powerful, so profound, it is often simply easier to passively ignore it than try to actively comprehend it.
By analogy, on a purely human level, I often feel frustrated in my efforts to communicate my love for my wife. I love her so much! I tell her this. I try to show her in what small ways I can. But it never feels like enough to me. I sincerely believe that if she knew how much I really love her, she would start to glow with the passion that burns in my heart for her. Sometimes, I will tell her that I wish I could take out my heart and put it into her chest so that she could feel everything I feel for her and see everything I see in her. But of course, I can’t do that.
But God can. And he does. That is what grace is, the very life of God in us. When God gives us his grace, it is like he is taking his heart–beating with love and passion and joy– out of his own chest and offering to place it in ours, so that we can be filled with everything he feels for us and see all the wonders he sees when he looks at us through his eyes of love.
Receive My Sacred Heart
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque experienced a vision of our Lord in which he held his heart in his hands extending it to her as a sign of his love and passion. In those visions, she heard our Lord say, “Behold the heart that has so loved humankind.” God loves you so much that he wants to place his Sacred Heart in your chest, that you could feel the constant beat of his love filling you up from the deepest parts of yourself.
That is what we celebrate today on this Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.The spiritual journey is not a guilt trip. It is not a trail of tears we walk for a cruel, heavenly master who demands either perfection or death. It is, after all, a honeymoon, where our Heavenly Lover runs to meet us, to save us from even ourselves, and make us whole with his love so that we can live together in joy and passion for all eternity.
Hark! The sound of my lover! Here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. See! He is standing behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks and says to me, “Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come! ~Song of Songs 2:8-10.
A Heavenly Proposal
Throughout this book, we have explored the Seven Divine Longings of your heart; the longings for abundance, dignity, justice, peace, trust, wholeness, and communion. Each of these longings is really an invitation from God to join him at the altar of the Eternal Wedding Feast. Through these longings, God gets down on one knee and holds out–not a ring–but his Sacred Heart. He is proposing to make you whole, and to show you how you can live in his love for all of Eternity. He is asking you if you would do him the honor of letting him fulfill your deepest desires so that you would never want for anything again, and that you could discover how to love yourself the way he loves you.
The God of all Creation, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, God of gods, the Savior of the world is humbling himself out of his love for you. He is down on one knee. He is holding his breath. What will your answer be?
To discover more about how much God loves all of you–especially the parts you like the least–check out Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart.