Friday, June 10, 2011

Theology Of The Sacred Heart


As the month of June continues, I wanted to write something related to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I came across an article written by Fr. Mark Kirby. In his article he speaks about the writings of Pope Benedict XVI~ two of his works in particular, Behold the Pierced One and Spirit of the Liturgy. Both of these books were written before he was pope as Cardinal Ratzinger.
As Father Mark read the works of the Holy Father, he began to see what he calls elements of a Theology of the Sacred Heart. To quote Fr. Mark: "Cardinal Ratzinger's writings on the Sacred Heart are warm and luminous. Fire and light are characteristic of a theology forged in experience."
I will leave you with a section of the Holy Father's writings on Our Lord's Sacred Heart.


Sacred Heart: God's Word  Addressed to Us

Theology is, first of all, God's word addressed to us. Apply this immediately to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The pierced Heart of the Crucified is God speaking a word to us, a word carved out in the flesh of Jesus' side by the soldier's lance. It is the love of God laid bare for all to see: "God stepping out of his hiddenness".4
When we speak of a theology of the Sacred Heart, we mean this first of all: not our discourse about love, but the love of God revealed first to us, the poem of love that issues forth from the Heart of God. This is exactly what St John, whom the Eastern tradition calls, "The Theologian", says in his First Letter: "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I Jn 4:10).
The difficulty here is that, in order to receive this word inscribed in the flesh of the Word (cf. Jn 1:14), we have first to stop in front of it, to linger there and to look long at the wound made by love. "They shall look on him whom they have pierced" (Jn 19:37). To contemplate is to look, not with a passing glance, but with the gaze of one utterly
conquered by love. Jeremiah says, "You have seduced me, O Lord, and I was seduced; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed" (20:7).
The call to be an adorer and an apostle of the Sacred Heart is addressed to every Christian. The apostle is, in essence, the bearer of a word, one sent forth and entrusted with a message. The message that the apostle carries into the world is the one he has learned by looking long with the eyes of adoration at the pierced Heart of the Crucified.
The word of Crucified Love is hard to pronounce  not with our lips but with our lives. Adoration is the school wherein one learns how to say the Sacred Heart. It is in adoration that the apostle receives the word of the pierced Heart that, in turn, becomes his life's message.
Adoration and apostleship together model a spirituality accessible to all Christians: the word received in adoration is communicated in the dynamism of one sent forth with something to say.

*Note: I found the article by Fr. Kirby in an EWTN archive. More of the article and Cardinal Ratzinger's, now Pope Benedict XVI, writing on the Sacred Heart can be found here.
More from Fr. Mark can be found on his beautifully spiritual and insightful blog, Vultus Christi

8 comments:

Mary333 said...

What beautiful words spoken by our (now) Pope! The words "It is the love of God laid bare for all to see" and "the poem of love that issues forth from the Heart of God" touched me deeply. This is a perfect reflection for the month devoted to the Sacred Heart! Thanks Karin!

Anne said...

"The word of crucified love is hard to pronounce-not with our lips but with our lives." Wonderful!

Thank you so much for posting this!

Karinann said...

Mary and Anne. Glad you liked the article. I read Cardinal Ratzinger's Spirit of the Liturgy some time ago. This is one that can be read a number of times and something new gotten from it each time. I think I will put his Behold the Pierced One on my list after reading snippets in Fr. Mark's article.
Blessings to you both.

ThereseRita said...

I love that the whole month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart & the whole month of July to the Precious Blood. Never a dull moment when you're a Catholic, is there?

Karinann said...

So very true ThereseRita. Thanks for commenting; God bless!

Michael said...

Karinann - I really enjoyed these words from our-now-Pope. He says so much in such few words ... I had to stop at every sentence so I was sure to digest all of it!

God Bless you.

Barbara said...

I love Father Kirby's blog and am glad to see you referring to it. Like you, I read "The Spirit of the Liturgy" long ago and was enchanted with our Pope's writing.

Whenever I think of the pierced Heart of Jesus I think of St. Teresa of Avila whose heart was pierced with an arrow. It makes me see that if we love Jesus with all our hearts, He will pierce ours as His was pierced and our love grows. Have you heard the hymn "To Jesus Heart All Burning"? One of my childhood favorites.

One of the Church's official litanies is the Litany of the Sacred Heart which is wonderful for meditation.

Karinann said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this post Michael and Barbara.
Michael- I know what you mean by being able to digest it all; there is much in the Holy Father's as well as Fr. Mark's writings.

Barbara- I will look up the hymn on youtube. I love the Litany of the Sacred Heart; I agree much in it to meditate upon.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.