Friday, June 23, 2017

“A Love-Filled Heart” by Colleen O’Sullivan

Moses said to the people: “… It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations.  It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn your fathers, that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.  Understand, then, that the Lord, your God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant down to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments.”  (Deuteronomy 7:7-9)

In this way the love of God was revealed to us:  God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.  (1 John 4:9)

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)

Merciful and gracious is the Lord,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness,
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.  (Psalm 103:8, 10)

Détail architectural, École de cirque de Québec
dans le quartier Vieux-Limoilou, Mcturcotte,
June 16, 2012, Creative Commons Attribution-Share
Alike 4.0 International license, via Wikimedia Commons

In ancient times, people believed that a person’s heart was the center of his or her body.  The heart was considered the source of wisdom, conscience, thought, emotions, and love.  In his 2016 homily for this day, Pope Francis defined the heart as “the deepest root and foundation of every person, the focus of our affective life and, in a word, his or her very core.” 

When I think of a person’s heart, I think of the very essence of his or her being.  I remember one of my friends making the comment that once he got to know someone, he couldn’t tell you if they were beautiful or handsome; all he could see was the basic disposition of his or her heart.

Today’s Solemnity invites us to gaze upon Jesus’ heart and to consider the very essence of his being.  Our Scripture readings for today are windows through which to glimpse something of the nature of Jesus.  In the Gospels, Jesus says that if we know him, we know the Father.  The reverse is true as well.  In our first reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy, God reveals himself as the source of love, as the one faithful to his people and the promises God makes to them.   God is our Savior, snatching us from Pharaoh’s oppressive hand.  God is merciful; in spite of our infidelities, God will always uphold his end of the covenant.

In our second reading, John invites us to reflect on God as love, as evidenced by God sending Love in the form of his Son into the world.

In the Gospel, we see the compassion in Jesus’ heart as he offers to help carry our burdens and offers himself as a place of rest.

From the Sacred Heart of Jesus flows the outpoured love of God for us.  When we let that love flow through us to our brothers and sisters, our hearts become more like the heart of Jesus.

Spend a few minutes gazing at this holy heart full of love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness, reflecting on a few instances when you have been aware of Jesus’ heart touching yours.

How have you allowed this outpouring of love to flow through you to others?

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