Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Our local paper, the Telegraph-Herald, has been running a series of articles over the past months, highlighting the marriages of couples celebrating fifty to seventy years together. They recount the first meetings, the successes and losses, significant events that have shaped their lives. They often have pictures of the young couple on their wedding day placed next to current photos. You get a sense of the many years bound together in their lives intertwined with each other. They wouldn’t have been the person they became without the other. The love that has sustained this union is often unspoken and eludes the photographer. What have been the sacrifices and costs that had to be paid for the sake of this love?
What do we see when we look at such lives? Do we just conclude that they were lucky? That they didn’t have any better alternatives? That external prohibitions or guilt tied them together? Or do we see the hidden movement of love which was prized above all expressions of comfort or satisfaction? Do we see the free choice making covenant trust alive in the promise that I will be there for you?
Understand 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. This is the love that manifests the love with which God first loves us. If God so loved us, we also must love one another.
What we see reveals who we are. The Scripture speaks of a love which is a connatural knowing, a knowing which penetrates being, which is a knowing by heart. To know what the readings are talking about already reveals a sharing in that reality. God first loved us. Whoever is without love does not know God for God is love. He has given us of His Spirit. We learn and know by heart. Not the way we memorize a text or piece of music. We learn and know by exposing our heart to the move and movement of the Spirit. It is a learning process. Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. The defenses of apathy, indifference, superficiality, and immobility are reactions of fear, the fear of being known and exposed. What we see and are willing to see reveals who we are. You have revealed them to little ones. One simple definition of contemplation is a long, loving look at the real. All those words need to be given full and maximum weight. We have to dare to give full attention with love to uncover the real.
Theologians give an accurate but verbally starched definition of the work of the heart as affective connaturality. It is knowing from within and being moved by what is known and loved. It is the way loving couples know the wants and needs of the other without having to be told and the way they lay down their lives to let the other be and flourish. The heart comes to itself by going out of itself. It accepts and purifies the life blood that it sends out again to nourish the body. When it stops working, the whole body stops.
The body of Christ is the New Covenant God has created and established with his people. You are a people sacred to the Lord. He has chosen you from among all the nations… The Lord has set his heart on you. By yoking ourselves to the Lord, we can understand our lives as learning by heart how to grow in love, how to live in the covenant of affective connaturality. We can dare to see ourselves as loved by God, simply let ourselves be loved and come to know the great worth we have in his eyes. To see ourselves and others with the eyes and heart of God. We are yoked to God in Christ. We wouldn’t become the person we are without loving Him. Because of His love, Christ wouldn’t become the person