On 27 December 1673, the feast of St. John, Margaret Mary experienced a vision of Christ, scourged and bloody. He reproached her for her forgetfulness of him; yet he also reassured her by demonstrating that his Heart was filled with love for her, because of the childhood promise she had made to his Blessed Mother. He asked her for her heart and she gave it to the Lord and he immediately put it in the flame rising from his heart and it burned there.
Jesus took the heart of St Faustina too. He appeared to St Catherine with a burning heart and took her heart and kept it close to his and gave her a heart burning with love. ‘I have come to light up the world only if it burned with love!’ The Church tells us that the devotion to Sacred Heart is not invented by any saints. Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pious XI and XII all, lay emphasis to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They go on to write in their letters that no words are sufficient to describe the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
What is Sacred Heart?
Our Heart is the seat of all our emotions and it is the other name of love. Heart means love. The heart of Jesus is also the same. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts” (Deuteronomy 6:5-6). This is the commandment given by God. The mention of heart here is not from a physical perspective. God is love and he has created us in his eternal love.
The heart of Jesus loves with all the emotions of a human being. It shares in all our humanly emotions. The tears Jesus shed at the tomb of Lazarus is a proof of this love. Isn’t this the same heart that is being transformed every day during the Eucharistic celebration that we receive? When we hear some of the incidents happened in the history of the Church we can truly believe that it is this heart that we receive.
In 700 AD the history witnessed a miracle like this in Lanciano. According to the tradition, a monk from St. Longinus Church who had doubts about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist found, when he said the words of consecration at Mass that the bread and wine changed into flesh and blood. That piece of flesh was tested by many researchers and it was confirmed that it was a muscle from a human heart.
On August 18th 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, there was a miracle witnessed by Cardinal Bergoglio (Now Pope Francis). When it was scientifically analyzed it was confirmed that it was a piece of the heart muscle of a human who has undergone tremendous pain but still living. In the last two decades there have been reports of Miracle from Poland as well.
Then the question arises, “The bread Jesus broke and gave to the disciples was it his heart? Are we not commemorating this during the Eucharistic celebration every day? Was it his heart that was broken on that day in the Calvary?”
One of the soldiers goes to the cross and pierces his lance at the sides of Jesus checking to see if a hardcore criminal could have a heart (John 19:34, Numbers 12:10). He could see that there was a heart and that it was pierced into two and he could see water and blood flowing from the heart; the sign of eternal love. I am sure it is flowing even today, if not how does the eyes of the people who come to the cross and looks up to his image becomes wet?
The wound of the Sacred Heart have attracted and inspired many. Let the cross be a shade for me. Let the waters from his wounds wash my sins and help me to stay away from sins.
Fr. Joseph Nechikatt