The BFN Province has created a series that presents the life and work of Madeleine Sophie and invites us to follow her bold example. Read the supplementary article that talks about the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart (of Jesus) is celebrated each year by the universal Church on the Friday following the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost. Its date therefore depends on the date of Easter, with which it is linked. It is the last major feast in the resumption of Ordinary Time after the fifty days of Easter. Three texts from the New Testament, referring to biblical images already present in the Old Testament, have been chosen to express the infinite love of God who gives himself to humanity, to all humanity, in Jesus Christ, his Beloved Son: the Good Shepherd (Luke 15:3-7), Jesus who welcomes the little ones (Mt 11:25-30) and the life surrendered in love to the end (Jn 19:31-37, the heart opened by the spear). The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the main feast of the Congregation of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It's an opportunity to bring together friends, collaborators, families... for a time of thanksgiving, of renewing everyone's commitment, of taking root in the mystery of God's tender and strong love for everyone.
"Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: 'Not a bone of it will be broken.' And again another passage says: 'They will look upon him whom they have pierced'." (Jn 19, 31-37)
"And immediately blood and water flowed out": In the face of the reality of death, these are two symbols of life. Faced with a difficult, awful and seemingly hopeless situation, are there ever signs of new life?
In what form (presence, compassion, help...)?
"An eyewitness has testified": What makes God's love visible to me, to those close to me, to everyone, in everyday life? What signs does it reveal?
"So that you also may (come to) believe": It's not so easy to avoid being stopped by appearances, incomprehension or sadness. I can ask Christ to bring me into the mystery of his tenderness and gentleness towards all living things.
I address my heartfelt prayer to Jesus.
From the writings
"For us, life, community, apostolic service, all spring from our union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus. This grace of vocation is a way of conversion and of apostolic fruitfulness. The pierced Heart of Jesus opens our being to the depths of God and to the anguish of humankind. Jesus draws us into His movement of adoration of the Father and love for all, especially those who are poor. We keep returning to this word of Jesus, as to a light which gradually transfigures us in His image: ‘Learn of Me, because I am gentle and humble of heart’." (Mt. 11:29)
(Constitutions 1982, § 8)
Texts for today
"He who, in the adventure of his religious experience, has had the opportunity to experience more fully the unheard-of height, depth, length and breadth of the reality of salvation, cannot cease to ask himself what is the ultimate center and ultimate truth of this prodigious multiplicity of life and death, loss and salvation, laughter and tears, light and darkness. Then he says 'Heart of Jesus', then he turns to this pierced and loving Heart, which loves us in our hopeless darkness, this Heart which is the very heart of God and delivers to us, without exhausting it, the primordial mystery of God (...) Devotion to the Heart of Jesus really cannot be taught from the outside. Each of us, by confiding in the Church and its Spirit, must try to approach its mystery; in the light or dark hours of life, we must try once in a while to pray: Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me. Above all, we must vitally experience the most improbable, the most impossible and, at the same time, the most obvious: that God, the incomprehensible, truly loves us, and that this love has become irrevocable in the Heart of Jesus".
(K. Rahner, Jesuit theologian, 1982)
I choose a few words that speak to me of God's love: tenderness, mercy, loving presence...
- How will I live these out in concrete terms with my family, colleagues and friends this week?
Songs & music
Name of Jesus - Litanies of the Sacred Heart - Didier Rimaud
"Name of Jesus, the name of the Beloved,
Name of the Firstborn, praise be to you!
Heart of Jesus, burnt with so much love,
Bruised by sin, have mercy on us!"
We are a people with a beating heart - Akepsimas
"We are a people with a beating heart,
a people on the march,
step by step towards your springtime.
We are a people fashioned in your image,
guiding us through the ages!"