The Priest, United to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Heart of Jesus is the essentIal nucleus of Christianity! Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an immense gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We have not yet begun to probe its inexhaustible richness.

The Sacred Side of Jesus in the Redemptorist Church of Sant’Alfonso in Rome

“The Lord has welcomed us in His Heart Suscepit nos Dominus in sinum et cor suum“. God’s Heart, considered to be the organ of His will, is mentioned 26 times in the Old Testament.

Man is judged according to God’s Heart. Because of the pain His Heart feels at the sins of man, God decides on the flood, but is subsequently moved by human weakness and forgives.
[Yes, the Heart of God can feel pain. The Heart of God grieves over the sins of men.]

Then there is an Old Testament passage in which the subject of God’s Heart is expressed with absolute clarity: it is in chapter 11 of the Book of the Prophet Hosea in which the first verses describe the dimension of the love with which the Lord turned to Israel at the dawn of its history: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (Hos 11: 1). Israel, in fact, responds to God’s tireless favour with indifference and even outright ingratitude.

[The message of Our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary echoed the Reproaches of the Good Friday Liturgy and, beyond them, the indifference and ingratitude of Israel to a Bridegroom God. “In return for My love,” He said to Saint Margaret Mary, “I receive from most nothing but ingratitude, irreverence, sacrilege, coldness, and scorn. . . . Look how sinners treat Me. They have nothing but coldness and disdain for all My eagerness to do them good.”]

“The more I called them”, the Lord is forced to admit, “the more they went from Me” (v. 2). Nonetheless he never abandons Israel to the hands of the enemy because “my Heart”, the Creator of the universe observes, “recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender” (v. 8).
[Speaking through His prophet, God bares His Heart: He reveals that, even in the face of coldness, indifference, and betrayal, He remains compassionate and tender.]

The Heart of God throbs with compassion! The Church offers us this mystery for contemplation, the mystery of the Heart of a God who feels compassion and pours forth all His love upon humanity. It is a mysterious love, which in the texts of the New Testament is revealed to us as God’s immeasurable love for the human being. He does not give in to ingratitude or to rejection by the People He has chosen; on the contrary, with infinite mercy He sends His Only-Begotten Son into the world to take upon Himself the burden of love immolated so that by defeating the powers of evil and death He could restore the dignity of being God’s children to human beings, enslaved by sin. [It is Love Crucified. It is the Heart of the Only-Begotten Son opened by the soldier’s lance so that sinners might be drawn through the awful gaping wound into the bosom of the Father.]

A symbol of this love which goes beyond death is his side, pierced by a spear. In this regard, the Apostle John, an eye-witness, says: “one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water” (cf. Jn 19: 34).
[Yes, the Sacred Side of Jesus is opened after His death so that even the roseate blood and water remaining in His Heart might be poured out for sinners.]

[Priestly ministry flows from the Heart of Jesus, from His pierced Heart.]
It is an indispensable mission, for the Church and for the world, which demands full fidelity to Christ and in unceasing union with him to remain in His love means that we must constantly strive for holiness, this union, as did St John Mary Vianney.
[An indispensable mission both for the Church and for the world! Without priests the fecundity of the Church would dry up; she would become barren. And the world would become a wasteland.]
This is the example and teaching of the Holy Curé d’Ars, model and protector of all priests, and especially parish priests.
[(Abide with) Saint John Mary Vianney, that is in the real experience of his companionship, made possible by the Communion of Saints.]
Grow in intimacy with Jesus, who counts on us, his ministers, to spread and to consolidate his Kingdom, to radiate his love, his truth.
[Intimacy with Jesus.]
Therefore, in the footsteps of the Curé of Ars, let yourselves be enthralled by him. In this way you too will be, for the world in our time, heralds of hope.
[Enthralled by Jesus.]
To let oneself be totally won over by Christ! This was the purpose of the whole life of St Paul; this was the goal of the entire ministry of the Holy Curé d’Ars; may it also be the principal objective for each one of us.”
[And totally won over by Christ.]

(Pope Benedict XVI, excerpts from his homily for priests at St Peter’s Basilica on June 19, 2009. Comments in italics from ‘Vultus Christi’.)  

*****

“The whole life of our Saviour was motivated by love for us from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Let us take ourselves in imagination to Calvary and kneel at the foot of the Cross. The heart which began to beat with love in the manger at Bethlehem has given everything for us, has poured forth its precious blood for our salvation, and has bestowed on us a final gift of the Blessed Mother of God. Now this heart is consumed with love for us and ceases to beat only when it has given us everything. “It is consummated.” (John 19,30) At Bethlehem we have experienced a joyful ecstasy of love. Here at the foot of the Cross we should experience a deep sorrow which will cause us to weep for our sins and to transform our lives after the model of Jesus Christ.” (Antonio Cardinal Bacci on ‘Meditations for Each Day’)

*****

“Yes, it is by staying close to the inexhaustible and never ceasing font of truth and love, that is, from the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, that the priest finds the wisdom and the strength to guide his flock according to truth and with love. The Curé d’Ars defined the priest as the love coming from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The priest who is united to the Sacred Heart will not succumb to the temptation to say to his flock words that are other than those of Christ which have been handed down in an indefectible way by the Church. He will not fall into the temptation to substitute for the words of a doctrine that heals a language that is confused and easily leads to error”. (Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke on ‘The Priesthood and the Sacred Heart’)

 

“Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee”

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