Shane Hyland, the Leader of Evangelisation at St Joseph’s Regional College reads from the Gospel of Matthew (11:25-30) in which Jesus says, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
Shane says the heart is commonly used as a symbol of love. For millennia the heart has been said to be the seat of our emotions and there are many passages in the Old Testament that speak of the heart as the seat of our intelligence, and the source of our character. Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.
The popular phrase let’s get to the heart of the matter displays the central importance of the heart and when invoked enables us to use all the faculties that have been given to us by God to determine the most important factors of a situation.
The popular devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is another way of getting to the heart of the matter. The Sacred Heart is the image of God’s love on full display in the pierced heart of his Son, Jesus. Pope Benedict once said “What Jesus preaches in the Sermon on the Mount, He now does; He does not offer violence against violence, as He might have done, but puts an end to violence by transforming it into love. The act of killing, of death, is changed into an act of love.”
At the risk of sounding like a pun, this gets to the heart of what we have been reflecting on all this week; what it means to live the beatitudes, what it means to live a kingdom life.
This simple yet poignant image of the Sacred Heart demonstrates that to live a life of discipleship we must metaphorically die to ourselves to become poor in spirit, to be gentle and humble in heart, and to be peacemakers.
John Chrysostom said that the church is born from the heart of Christ when the soldier pierced him with the lance as blood and water flowed from it, “He says that the “water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy eucharist.”
On this solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Shane invites us to finish with this prayer:
O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and with a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.