Humankind has an obsession with the heart.
“But don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart…”
“And my heart will go on and on…”
“You’ll be in my heart…”
“Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame…”
“Don’t go breaking my heart…”
“Listen to your heart…”
Songs for ages have revolved around the heart – its brokenness, its elation, the love it gives and receives. This is nothing new, we know the songs, we know the sayings, we know that the heart is equated with love, hope, and desire. The interesting question is, why?
Why is it our heart that contains all these things, but not the liver? Or the kidney? Or the stomach?
Perhaps it’s because of the importance of the heart, and its centrality to the body. After all, when the Lord created Eve, He formed her from the rib of Adam, a bone that protects the heart. This creation of man and woman was to specifically mirror perfect love; a symbol of the love that is shared amongst the persons of the Trinity. The heart is the lifeforce of a person, circulating oxygen and other life-giving nutrients throughout the body. As Pope Pius XII wrote in his encyclical Haurietis Aquas, “The heart has always been seen as the ‘center’ or essence of a person and the wellspring of our emotional lives and love.”
It is the heart that represents the core of our being – it points to the truth of our identity as sons and daughters completely fed by and fulfilled in Christ and His never-ending and selfless love. If our heart longs to be united with Christ, even more so does Christ’s heart perfectly long to be united with us.
This Friday and Saturday, we celebrate two feast days that point to the essentiality of giving the core of our being to the Lord: the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Through these devotions, we learn how to live most fully in the love of Christ and give our love rightfully to Him. It is the Sacred Heart of Jesus that we look to when we ponder the love that Jesus poured out for us at His Crucifixion. It is a love that covered all, a love that is merciful, a love that knows no bounds and has no limits. It is not earned, but waiting to be revealed to the beloved. Likewise, we look to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as an example of perfectly loving and receiving the love of Christ. It is her perfection that we aim to imitate to draw nearer to her Son and discover the beauty that lies in relationship with Him.
As we continue throughout the month of June, the month of the Sacred Heart, may we foster a devotion that keeps us close to these two glorious hearts. To learn more about the devotion to the Sacred Heart, click here.