The Feast of the Sacred Heart is my favorite feast day because about 2 years ago God gave me a very special grace during the novena of the Sacred Heart, which is still guiding me. I wanted to share a little bit of that light.
For me this feast day is about three things: trust, Christ’s gift, and Regnum Christi. I will explain why I think this, using three paintings.
Jesus I trust in You!
The first image we will look at is the Divine Mercy painting. In this painting the Heart of Jesus is pouring out his grace on those who come near to Him asking for His mercy, in practicing mercy, and trusting in His mercy. Traditionally on the bottom of the image are the words, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Trust is a hard to win and also to give, especially when trust is wounded or lost. But all the same, we seem not to be able to live without it. We have to trust people all over the place, from our neighbor to the cashier at the grocery store. But the trust that we owe Christ is a little different, it goes much deeper.
Eternity is on the line for us. Face it we are weak and sinners, we need help. We can’t make it on our own. Only recognizing who we are, do we see our need for someone else; the only one who can pick us out of our smallness is Christ. No one else can pick us up out of the whole we have dug for ourselves. He could have left us, but rather He chose to come closer to us. As St Paul says, “where sin abounded, grace all the more” (Rom 5:20). We who are in much need of help and have tried to turn to so many other places, Christ remains faithful even when we have turned our back on Him. It is only in recognizing our lowliness can we place full trust in God. Even Mary, who was immaculate, recognized her lowliness before God, and so is a model for us of complete confidence in Him.
But trust is never just one sided. Christ has chosen to trust us. Even in our sin and having abandoned Him in the history of humanity He offers us his trust. We who don’t deserve it at all for all that we have done to him, chooses to trust us. How amazing is this! But even more amazing, He shows his trust by entrusting us with what is most precious to Him.
Christ offers us his Heart
The next image that I would like to reflect on is one which we have all seen also, one where Christ is holding out his heart. The heart has always been a symbol of love and what is most intimate to the person. This heart is wounded and bleeding, thorns surround it, and a flame is consuming it. His heart is suffering. These days that surround the feast of the Sacred Heart we are invited to contemplate this heart, to see his wounds and therefore the extent of his love for us. He wants to share with us what is most important to Him.
Jesus isn’t just holding his heart out so that we can look at it, but he holds it out to give it to us. He trusts us with his Heart. He trusts us with his life source, He trusts us with his love, and he trusts us with his intimacy. He gives us what is most precious to Him. He entrusts it to us to take care of and also to be able to enter into the mystery of his love. He wants us, his Legionaries and Regnum Christi members to contemplate the blood that flows out, to feel the beats of his heart and to heal it. He gives it to us because He wants to love through us. He tells us as He holds it out, “Take my heart, take care of it, love others with it, let it be your strength to love souls, and do everything so that others may know that I love them as I have loved you.”
Regnum Christi as an image of the Sacred Heart
Without any desire to divinize Regnum Christi; the Sacred Heart has become for me an image of the movement: wounded, bleeding, suffering, abandoned, but yet on fire and consuming itself for humanity, and most importantly it is in the hands of Christ.
Along with his heart He gives us Regnum Christi which He has risen up in this time of history to make his love known throughout the world. As we contemplate his heart these days, may it also be a time for us to realize the gift He has given us.
Another painting I would like to look at is Mary’s heart. At times depicted with a sword in it, also Mary is shown next to Jesus, and others the two hearts appear alone. God gave his heart to Mary when He became man. God’s love literally came to dwell in Mary. But his love didn’t come without the cross. The cross was present throughout Mary’s life, but this is what enabled her to be more united with Christ. God invited her to participate in the cross of His Son and thus in the redemptive work of humanity.
This is why this painting for me is about the movement. By being faithful to God through the thick and thin we have been able to be more rooted in Him and united to Him. As God invited Mary, He invites us today to participate in this redemptive work in Regnum Christi and through that He invites us to a more intimate relationship with Him. We enter into his heart through our spirituality and apostolate. Through the movement we share in his work of redemption.
The movement was placed in our hands. It is wounded and suffering, but it is our responsibility to cure it and nourish it. It doesn’t belong to us, but through it He wants us to share his love for humanity. May we not distort it or hurt it, but rather dedicate our lives to take care of it and to nourish it with our fidelity and love.
The responsibility that He has given us is the proof of his trust in us. We trust in Him, because we simply can’t do this alone. We depend on Him.
Photo Credit for titular image: Lawrence OP