16 October 2009

The Heart that Loves So Much

Our Lord Jesus Christ said to Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque: “Look at this Heart which has loved people so much.”

It is this Heart that we gaze upon in Eucharistic Adoration which is enflamed with an unfathomable love for us. This Most Sacred Heart which has loved so much unfortunately is also an Organ which does not receive what It gives as Jesus also to Saint Marguerite-Marie: “And yet they do not want to love Me in return.”

The Heart of Jesus was rejected for us, suffered for us and died for us. And this Heart even today suffers from rejection and loneliness as chapels and churches are empty as He waits for us in the Tabernacle.

Saint Jean Marie Vianney, the holy priest placed before us as a model in this “Year for Priests” was not silent about the sufferings Jesus continues to endure in the Blessed Sacrament: “The death of Jesus Christ on Calvary was violent and painful, but at least all nature seemed to bear witness to His pain. The least sensible of creatures appeared to be affected by it, and thus wishful to share the Savior’s sufferings. Here there is nothing of this: Jesus is insulted, outraged by a vile nothingness, and all keeps silence; everything appears insensible to His humiliations. May not this God of goodness justly complain, as on the tree of the Cross, that He is forsaken?”

Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, stood in place of Pope John Paul II at the Colosseum for the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday 2005, due to John Paul's failing health. At the Ninth Station, here is some of the reflection shared by Cardinal Ratzinger: “Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in His own Church? How often is the holy Sacrament of His Presence abused, how often must He enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that He is there! How often is His Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to Him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where He waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in His Passion. His betrayal by His disciples, their unworthy reception of His Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces His Heart. We can only call to Him from the depths of our hearts: “Kyrie eleison -- Lord, save us!”

Of course, we can’t really cry out Kyrie eleison until we can understand on a deep personal level our own guilt.

Canonized only a year ago was a young lady from Nobol, Ecuador, named Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán. She may have found great difficulty in discerning her own guilt for neglecting the Heart of Jesus, even though she was remarkably humble. This was a very devout young lady whose constant prayers often became songs. One of her favorites contained the words, “reaching the Heart of Him Who well deserved it.” Her father converted a small room in their house into a chapel as he recognized the extraordinary sanctity of his daughter.

She would often go into ecstasy. One of her experiences of being rapt in the love of Christ came one day following Holy Communion. She saw Jesus standing before her; He removed His Most Sacred Heart from His Bosom and placed It before the lips of Narcisa who in turn kissed It. Saint Ambrose said: “We kiss Christ with the kiss of Communion.” Although never entering religious life, it was revealed after Narcisa’s death that she had made private vows of poverty, perpetual virginity, obedience, enclosure, the eremitical life, fasting on bread and water, daily Communion, Confession, mortification and prayer.

On this Feast of Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, the saint of the Sacred Heart, may we on this Friday, a traditional day of penance, return to truly loving our Savior’s Sacré-Coeur and passionately kissing Him in Holy Communion!