June 28, 2019

Feast Christ, Lover of Mankind or Sacred Heart of Jesus

The word 'heart' is an ancient word and image that describes the very essence of the human being, which is the ability to feel and to love. In the Gospel of St. John, we meet Christ, whose heart is punctured. In fact, Jesus allowed himself to be wounded for our sake. He let His heart be pierced in order that we would neither perish nor live our lives in vain. He allowed His heart to be penetrated, so that it would be open for us. As we know, the opening of His heart is most precious and intimate. The heart of Jesus is open for everyone. We can enter into His deepest and innermost being and hide in His love.

As the Gospel of St. John says, the open heart of Jesus is that source, from which the Holy Spirit is being poured out upon all humankind. During the conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus gave the promise that He gives the water that quenches even the most severe thirst of a human being: the thirst of life. This promise came into effect at the sixth hour; it was the moment, when heart of Jesus was pierced on the cross. Jesus bestows this life-giving water upon humankind even at the time of His death. Blood and water flow from His side and they are the water of the Holy Spirit that satisfies our thirst. All this is the divine manifestation of the deepest love of Christ. He gives us everything He has, so that we could be nurtured from His source. Also, Jesus fulfills the need of the Samaritan woman, which is the thirst for love. She had six husbands and none of them was able to fulfill her longing for true love. Therefore, Christ is that seventh man, who is truly able to love her because He has the heart that opens for her and from which true life pours out. Thus, the Gospel of John points out the pierced heart of Jesus as the source of salvation and as the source of eternal life.

An ancient Latin proverb says: "–°or patet quia patients," which means: "The heart is open for the one, who suffers." The heart of Jesus is open for all of us, because it feels pain and suffers. Only the one who is able to love is the one, who can be hurt. The Greeks said that only a wounded doctor can heal. In other words, it is only through Jesus, His open heart, His sufferings that we can be saved. Graham Greene in his romance, named "The End of the Affair," described the life story of Sarah. She is the main character in that book and is struggling with a dilemma. She has a husband and lover at the same time. She does not want to lose either of them. At the end, she gets sick, the illness progresses and on her death bed she realizes that everything she has done was wrong. Then, she discovers the possibility of another love that exists in the wounded heart of Christ. As soon as she realizes that, Sarah says: "O Lord, I was trying to love but I have totally ruined everything. I wish I knew how to love You, because then I would know how to love others". "I do believe that You died for us" - she continues - "I do believe that You Are God. So, teach me how to love. My pain does not bother me anymore but I can not bear the pain of others. Therefore, let my pain continue but please heal, others from their pain. God, if You would come down from the cross for a moment, let me take Your place, so that I could suffer as You did and then I could, like You, heal others."

Yes, indeed, adoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacraments is the place, where we are able to learn from Christ that true love, that is capable to suffer and to heal at the same time. We may entrust to the wounded heart all the people, our soul worries about. While contemplating upon the pierced Divine Heart, we discover our heart as well in the order that it becomes capable to love and to heal the people that we meet every day. We are not talking about atonement for some transgressions of others. Rather, we are entrusting these people to the Divine love of the open Heart of Christ Jesus because His love is greater and stronger than any kind of human sin, only His Heart can heal them.

When we meet a broken heart, we may find the understanding of what we need to do with our own wounds. More or less, that is the way we deal with problems. We do not want to feel our wounds and the pain they cause. We want to get rid of them. Often, we try to heal them by prayer or some philological exercises so that even the scars from the wounds would disappear. At the same time, we are aware that this is impossible and we remain sensitive to that. Again and again we experience that life touches our fragile being and our wounds open up once more.

The heart of Jesus shows us a different possibility. It shows that wounds are not that important thing that need to get rid of, but they have to be transformed. In fact, a wound could be for us the source of life. When we reconcile with things that hurt us and accept our wounds, then our wounds become places, through which God is touching us. There is no need for desire of receiving a victory over our wounds and suffering or trying of forget their existence. When we find peace with all that causes us pain, everything that hurts, criticizes, and insults us, only in these the most sensitive moments we can discover God. He is the One, Who touches us and reminds us that He alone is our salvation and our joy. We may compare this to Jacob's thigh from the Old Testament. Jacob became lame after God touched Him and this was a reminder of his close encounter with God.

When we listen to our wounds, we would feel that they are nothing else but a yearning for love. When we entrust our deep desire for love to the pierced heart of Jesus, our pain would not disappear but be transformed into the suffering that is able to heal others. Again, our wounds could be not just points of contact with God; they also could be the spring of life for others. The question lies in a totally different dimension. Are we truly helping others? Are we giving people good advice or are we just allowing them to enter into our wounds? If we do not complain about our sensitivity and accept it as it is, it would become a blessing for others. Then, we will not close ourselves in at those times, during which we are hurt; we do not rebuke ourselves for being so delicate. Rather, we turn our feelings, offences and weaknesses to God. He is the one, Who changes our sensitivity into the source of life and He also directs us to His grace; yet, only God and His grace are able to heal us. I do feel my own weakness, but I also sense my brothers and sisters around me. Thus, that is how we together can cry to our Lord from the depth of our weaknesses and totally entrust ourselves to the wounded Heart of Jesus. That is how we entrust to this pierced heart all those we love and those we worry about and through doing all that we dare to hope for salvation. We feel and are aware that the Sacred Heart of Jesus wants to change all of us, it is open, wounded and is trying to reach everyone, who has not yet discovered the way to the Church. Finally, the adoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the real encounter with Christ, Who offered Himself for us, so that we may also experience His Divine Love in our hearts and then give it to other people, who are expecting it from us.

Fr. Gabriel Haber, OSBM

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