Often my life looks like the swirls and circles in this painting, hastily moving in all directions.
From the moment we wake up, we begin making choices and decisions: Breakfast? Today’s goals? How will I relate to family and friends? Will I choose love? Will I forgive and move on, or hold on to anger? What will I choose to read and watch this day? Whose needs are greater than my own and must come before my own desires? Will I attend Mass or busy myself with distractions? We make hundreds of choices,consciously and unconsciously, every day. Repeating these choices day after day forms habits and emotional responses that influence the way we live our daily lives.
This swirling depiction can also reflect our spiritual lives too. Deep within us, we desire to make good choices. We desire to love God and others. But sadly, we often lose sight of this desire and feel disconnected from our faith. Prayer and attention to God’s will can bridge this gap if we choose to “Seek the face of God.” (Psalm 27:8) But far too often our commitment to prayer ends up last, or is completely omitted from our list of choices.
Thankfully, our Mother Church, recognizing our natural tendency toward distractions, lovingly encourages us, providing for our needs. With open arms the Church welcomes us, offering guidance, reconciliation, education, and healing. The Church nourishes us with love, fellowship, community, Holy Scripture, tradition and most importantly Jesus himself in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
June 12th is the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The entire month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Celebrations and feast days help us cut through distractions, reminding us of important truths and teachings of our faith. It is comforting to know that our Mother Church continually strives to keep the children of God moving toward the joys of our eternal life in Heaven.
No matter how distracted we become, even when we feel like our lives are moving in circles, God is with us, gently extending His invitation to converse with us through His gift of prayer.
The first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated on August 31, 1670, in Rennes, France, through the efforts of Fr. Jean Eudes (1602-1680). From Rennes, the devotion spread, but it took the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) for the devotion to become universal.
In all of these visions, in which Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus played a central role. The “great apparition,” which took place on June 16, 1675, during the octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi, is the source of the modern Feast of the Sacred Heart. In that vision, Christ asked St. Margaret Mary to request that the Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated on the Friday after the octave (or eighth day) of the Feast of Corpus Christi, in reparation for the ingratitude of men for the sacrifice that Christ had made for them.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus represents not simply His physical heart but His love for all mankind.
The devotion became quite popular after St. Margaret Mary’s death in 1690, but, because the Church initially had doubts about the validity of St. Margaret Mary’s visions, it wasn’t until 1765 that the feast was celebrated officially in France. Almost 100 years later, in 1856, Pope Pius IX, at the request of the French bishops, extended the feast to the universal Church. It is celebrated on the day requested by our Lord-the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, or 19 days after Pentecost Sunday.
Copyright 2015 Celeste Zepponi
Artwork by Celeste Zepponi © 2015. All rights reserved.
Sacred Heart Public Domain Image, MaryRosaries.com, ( Author: Jim Capaldi. This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. )