I propose that one can celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart by pondering the question, what shaped (or “begot”) and guided Jesus’ heart? One influence really stands out for me: the love of the One Jesus called “Abba.” Buddhists have the Four Noble Truths and Hindus have Dharma; Jesus suggests this great “mystery hidden from ages past” is best understood as a person who loves us, who wants the best for us because he chose to give us life.

By using the term familiar term “Abba,” Jesus reinforces the intimacy of this relationship, and Paul appeals to this intimate relationship, “I kneel before the Father,” even as he says that Christ can come to dwell in our hearts and help us appreciate the “breadth and length and height and depth of that love.” How has this love sought to shape my heart? Have I been open to this grace?

—Fr. Tim Hipskind, S.J. is co-director of the Institute for Leadership and Service, as well as Director of Service Learning at the University of Detroit Mercy. He regularly ministers to Hispanic Catholics in the Detroit area.