In honor of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus…

Today was a magnificent day for the Codgitator. Without going into too much detail, after our little family assisted at the New Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart, offered by one of my favorite priests, who will, sadly, be relocating to another parish, my wife and I experienced a truly miraculous exposure to and immersion in the Heart of Jesus. Getting to know–which is to say, dying-to-oneself-within–that Heart can be as painful as it is consoling. Yet this paradox is the mystery of our Faith: a man is judged by the love he offers, and a man’s love is judged by the suffering it endures, and, in turn, a man’s suffering is judged by the end for which it is endured. To suffer for a noble love is to live in the promise of the triune bliss itself.

This paradox is again the heart of marriage and of the mystery of the Church:

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: 26 That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. 28 So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: 30 Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. 32 This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular love his wife as himself: and let the wife fear her husband.

So a glorious moment it was when I stood hand in hand with my wife before a crucifix, and we consecrated ourselves to His Heart, mystically placing our interwoven hearts into His own, by no other passage than the open wound which is an immortal image of His immortal love. To embrace the Heart of Jesus is to embrace the fullness of Catholic truth; and to spurn the one is to spurn the other, even if that spurning takes the form of a “benign neglect”.

Thus it is with some irony that the Codgitator admits that the fare at FCA has been rather thin gruel of late.

But then again, has it?

A virtual non-stop stream of devotion to and meditation upon the Most Sacred Heart. In a very true sense, what more could you ask for from a Catholic blog?

I mean it, too.

While I love perusing current events and theological musings via my regularly perused list of blogs, I have also been struck in a fresh and deep way that THERE IS NOTHING ELSE THAT MATTERS BESIDES THE LOVING HEART OF CHRIST. Our failures, victories, fear, fame, foes, friends, and family–all of it must either orbit around the Sacred Heart or all of it shall spin off into the eternal darkness of sinful isolation and vacuity. Thus, may our salutation ever be, “Through the Sacred Heart of Jesus”, and may our pledge ever remain, “By the Sacred Heart of Jesus”!

I truly pray that you have taken some time this week–heck, take five minutes right now–to pause and let all things resolve around the Sacred Heart. You probably know the effect in movies when a major villain or key protagonist enters the room and everything slows down around him. That’s the grace I’ve enjoyed this week, praise God: everything has become relative to the Sacred Heart, instead of vice versa.

Meanwhile, the Codgitator has every intention of publishing some meaty posts he’s had in draft-form for a while now, but lately he’s been on a major job hunt and language-study binge. Time for a change, dear reader, oh yes. Stay tuned.

And now, I shall leave you with some final excerpts from Haurietis aquas (15 May 1956):

85. Nothing therefore prevents our adoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ as having a part in and being the natural and expressive symbol of the abiding love with which the divine Redeemer is still on fire for mankind [this was in 1956, by the way, some time before the BCE and the reign of “pastoralism”]. Though it is no longer subject to the varying emotions of this mortal life, yet it lives and beats and is united inseparably with the Person of the divine Word and, in Him and through Him, with the divine Will. Since then the Heart of Christ is overflowing with love both human and divine and rich with the treasure of all graces which our Redeemer acquired by His life, sufferings and death, it is therefore the enduring source of that charity which His Spirit pours forth on all the members of His Mystical Body.

86. And so the Heart of our Savior reflects in some way the image of the divine Person of the Word and, at the same time, of His twofold nature, the human and the divine; in it we can consider not only the symbol but, in a sense, the summary of the whole mystery of our redemption. When we adore the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, we adore in it and through it both the uncreated love of the divine Word and also its human love and its other emotions and virtues, since both loves moved our Redeemer to sacrifice Himself for us and for His Spouse, the Universal Church….

90. We are convinced, then, that the devotion which We are fostering to the love of God and Jesus Christ for the human race by means of the revered symbol of the pierced Heart of the crucified Redeemer has never been altogether unknown to the piety of the faithful, although it has become more clearly known and has spread in a remarkable manner throughout the Church in quite recent times. …

94. But for those who wish to touch on the more significant stages of this devotion through the centuries, if we consider outward practice, there immediately occur the names of certain individuals who have won particular renown in this matter as being the advance guard of a form of piety which, privately and very gradually, has gained more and more strength in religious congregations. To cite some examples in establishing this devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and continuously promoting it, great service was rendered by St. Bonaventure, St. Albert the Great, St. Gertrude, St. Catherine of Siena, Blessed Henry Suso, St. Peter Canisius, St. Francis de Sales [my patron saint]. St. John Eudes was responsible for the first liturgical office celebrated in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus whose solemn feast, with the approval of many Bishops in France, was observed for the first time on October 20th, 1672.

95. But surely the most distinguished place among those who have fostered this most excellent type of devotion is held by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque who, under the spiritual direction of Blessed Claude de la Colombiere who assisted her work, was on fire [Let it be noted that Catholics coined this term, though it is now a bit of Charismatic agitprop. Hmm…] with an unusual zeal to see to it that the real meaning of the devotion which had had such extensive developments to the great edification of the faithful should be established and be distinguished from other forms of Christian piety by the special qualities of love and reparation. …

96. … It must not be said that this devotion has taken its origin from some private revelation of God and has suddenly appeared in the Church; rather, it has blossomed forth of its own accord as a result of that lively faith and burning devotion of men who were endowed with heavenly gifts, and who were drawn towards the adorable Redeemer and His glorious wounds which they saw as irresistible proofs of that unbounded love. …

100. … If this devotion is constantly practiced with this knowledge and understanding, the souls of the faithful cannot but attain to the sweet knowledge of the love of Christ which is the perfection of Christian life….

102. It is wrong, therefore, to assert that the contemplation of the physical Heart of Jesus prevents an approach to a close love of God and holds back the soul on the way to the attainment of the highest virtues. … It is obvious that those who think in this way imagine that the image of the Heart of Jesus represents His human love alone and that there is nothing in it on which, as on a new foundation, the worship of adoration which is exclusively reserved to the divine nature can be based. …

103. Quite the contrary is the thought and teaching of Catholic theologians, among whom St. Thomas writes as follows: “Religious worship is not paid to images, considered in themselves, as things; but according as they are representations leading to God Incarnate. The approach which is made to the image as such does not stop there, but continues towards that which is represented. …” It is, then, to the Person of the divine Word as to its final object that that devotion is directed which, in a relative sense, is observed towards the images whether those images are relics of the bitter sufferings which our Savior endured for our sake or that particular image which surpasses all the rest in efficacy and meaning, namely, the pierced Heart of the crucified Christ. …

104. … We do not pretend, however, that we must contemplate and adore in the Heart of Jesus what is called the formal image, that is to say, the perfect and absolute symbol of His divine love, for no created image is capable of adequately expressing the essence of this love. But a Christian in paying honor along with the Church to the Heart of Jesus is adoring the symbol and, as it were, the visible sign of the divine charity which went so far as to love intensely, through the Heart of the Word made Flesh, the human race stained with so many sins. …

105. … [T]he truth of the natural symbol by which the physical Heart of Jesus is related to the Person of the Word, entirely depends upon the fundamental truth of the hypostatic union. …

106. Once this essential truth has been established we understand that the Heart of Jesus is the heart of a divine Person, the Word Incarnate, and by it is represented and, as it were, placed before our gaze all the love with which He has embraced and even now embraces us. Consequently, the honor to be paid to the Sacred Heart is such as to raise it to the rank – so far as external practice is concerned – of the highest expression of Christian piety. …

109. … [Insofar as] “devotion … [is] nothing else save a willingness to give oneself readily to what concerns the service of God,” is it possible that there is any service of God more obligatory and necessary, and at the same time more excellent and attractive, than the one which is dedicated to love? For what is more pleasing and acceptable to God than service which pays homage to the divine love and is offered for the sake of that love–since any service freely offered is a gift in some sense and love “has the position of the first gift, through which all other free gifts are made?” …

111. This being so, there is no doubt that Christians in paying homage to the Sacred Heart of the Redeemer are fulfilling a serious part of their obligations in their service of God and, at the same time, they are surrendering themselves to their Creator and Redeemer with regard to both the affections of the heart and the external activities of their life; in this way, they are obeying that divine commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole Strength.” …

113. We therefore urge all Our children in Christ, both those who are already accustomed to drink the saving waters flowing from the Heart of the Redeemer and, more especially those who look on from a distance like hesitant spectators, to eagerly embrace this devotion. …

122. It is likewise Our most fervent desire that all who profess themselves Christians and are seriously engaged in the effort to establish the kingdom of Christ on earth will consider the practice of devotion to the Heart of Jesus as the source and symbol of unity, salvation and peace. Let no one think, however, that by such a practice anything is taken from the other forms of piety with which Christian people, under the guidance of the Church, have honored the divine Redeemer. Quite the opposite. Fervent devotional practice towards the Heart of Jesus will beyond all doubt foster and advance devotion to the Holy Cross in particular, and love for the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. We can even assert – as the revelations made by Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude and to St. Margaret Mary clearly show – that no one really ever has a proper understanding of Christ crucified to whom the inner mysteries of His Heart have not been made known. …

123. Finally, moved by an earnest desire to set strong bulwarks against the wicked designs of those who hate God and the Church and, at the same time, to lead men back again, in their private and public life, to a love of God and their neighbor, We do not hesitate to declare that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the most effective school of the love of God….

124. In order that favors in greater abundance may flow on all Christians, nay, on the whole human race, from the devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, let the faithful see to it that to this devotion the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God is closely joined. For, by God’s Will, in carrying out the work of human Redemption the Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably linked with Christ in such a manner that our salvation sprang from the love and the sufferings of Jesus Christ to which the love and sorrows of His Mother were intimately united. It is, then, entirely fitting that the Christian people – who received the divine life from Christ through Mary – after they have paid their debt of honor to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should also offer to the most loving Heart of their heavenly Mother the corresponding acts of piety affection, gratitude and expiation.

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About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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2 Responses to In honor of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus…

  1. Tony Jokin says:

    Great post! May God bless you on your job hunt as well! 🙂

  2. Branch says:

    Can you explain this?

    “THERE IS NOTHING ELSE THAT MATTERS BESIDES THE LOVING HEART OF CHRIST.”

    I know it probably should be self-evident, but I want to be sure I understand what you mean.

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