If the heart signifies everything of the person and his/her love (CLICK HERE to read previous posts in this blog series on the heart of Jesus), then so, too, it does for our Lord, true God and true man. As we read in paragraph 478 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Jesus knew and loved us each and all during His life, His agony and His Passion, and gave Himself up for each one of us: ‘The Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me.’ He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation,117 ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that…love with which the Divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception.118” Jesus has a real human heart, a physical, material organ that operates as our heart does – pumps blood throughout the body, beats at however many beats per minute, quickens when exercising, slows down when taking a deep breath, etc. At the same time, that heart of Jesus also signifies the deeper figurative sense of the human heart: the human heart of Jesus Christ also signifies the person and love of Jesus Christ. And so in that heart of Jesus, we find his love – that love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; the love of God for man; the love of God become man; the love our our redemption, sanctification, and salvation in eternal life. Everything of the person and love of Jesus is experienced in and represented by his heart because that’s what the heart of a man signifies.
Knowing this, devotion to the Sacred Heart takes on a new dimension. As the Catholic Encyclopedia writes, “The worship, although paid to the Heart of Jesus, extends further than the heart of flesh, being directed to the love of which this heart is the living and expressive symbol. On this point the devotion requires no justification, as it is to the Person of Jesus that it is directed; but to the Person as inseparable from His Divinity. Jesus, the living apparition of the goodness of God and of His paternal love, Jesus infinitely loving and amiable, studied in the principal manifestations of His love, is the object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, as indeed He is the object of the Christian religion.” Jesus has a heart of flesh, the material object of this devotion. But that material heart also brings you to the person and his/her love, in this case the Sacred Heart bringing you to the 2nd Person of the Most Holy Trinity and his love. Therefore, the Sacred Heart is the storehouse of all of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, because within the Sacred Heart are contained everything of the person and love of Jesus Christ – within the Sacred Heart is the Person of Jesus Christ, who is a Divine person, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, who possesses the Divine nature, and the humanity of Jesus Christ, with every one of its experiences of love, acts of, every virtue, every desire, every emotion, every joy, every pain, every miracle and healing. As Pope Pius XII wrote, “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, as the Apostle declares: ‘Christ loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life, 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’” (Haurietis Aquas, ¶ 86). This is why, as we noted in the first post, that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the “sum of all religion”, the “devotion of all devotions”. Everything of life, every gift, every grace…everything of life is the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.
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