It’s the Vigil of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a cause for great joy.
This feast follows on the heels of Corpus Christi as a final exclamatory punctuation on the Paschal Mystery: God is love!
The whole mystery of creation and salvation flows from and returns to the Heart of God, a furnace ablaze with undying love for fallen humanity.
Known by Love
I met a woman this past Spring who came to a talk I gave on the spiritual life. In my talk, I unfolded the implications of the truth that the spiritual life is nothing other than making God’s excessive love for us “real” by relentlessly choosing to receive and give that love each day. My talk theme was, “Love: Simple, Not Easy.”
This woman, in her mid-30s, spoke to me privately at the end of the talk and said, “Why have I never heard this before?”
I said, “Well, I’m not sure.”
She continued, “What I mean is not that I have not heard these words spoken before. I have. But they’ve always seemed trite and shallow, and for someone else. However, tonight they came alive; I came alive. Something totally new opened in me and felt myself to be loved by God; I suddenly knew that I was known by Him in the most particular way. Not just as one of 7 billion people, but as me. What I also realized I have missed in my life is that the people who love me have never been terribly interested in knowing me for who I am; knowing the little things, the details; and especially the dark parts. I find that for them I seem boring, uninteresting, even repulsive, that is, when I get to the yucky dregs. But tonight I felt His desire, His ‘rapt fascination’ with me, as you called it. He wants all of me.”
“It’s like,” she said with deep emotion, “God ‘gets’ me because He loves me.”
Get me, O God
That’s really the perfect sum of this Feast, as God’s desire to “save us” was also his desire to know us in our human frailty. And His desire was so overwhelming that the Infinite One took to Himself our finite humanity and made His own a human heart. God’s human love for us meets us in the Passion at the level of our wounded humanity, only so that He might heal our wounds and raise us up to be made privy to His own Heart’s eternal secrets.
Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary, “Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love. In return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love.”
Let us this day embrace this testimony, live this testimony and ourselves heartily testify to God’s burning love in a world grown cold and weary.