As a budding convert to Christianity and to Catholicism in my late-30’s, the images of the Sacred Heart were most innately and immediately attractive to me. I don’t mean in the sense that they were more beautiful or aesthetically pleasing than other images, though that oftentimes was the case. But there was something intriguing about Jesus’ flaming heart, and his arm and hand stretching towards his heart.
My initial recollection was just that I would stare at his heart and wonder why it was burning and how it wouldn’t go out. It then followed that Jesus wanted to show me his heart by framing it with his hand. Upon greater reflection, it seems that Jesus isn’t just showing, but actively sharing and giving his Sacred Heart to me. It is a very personal gesture, with a kindness on his face that evokes a deep, attractive peace within me.
Today’s readings all speak of God’s love. The Deuteronomy passage says: “The Lord set his heart on you and chose you.” God loves us by choice. Isn’t it marvelous that the Lord is focused on us? God’s love for us is no accident.
The second reading from first John offers more: God’s gift of love is a gift to be given back to one another. We experience God’s love with the intent that we love others with that same love and in those same ways.
Can I imagine myself living in the manner of the Sacred Heart? Towards whom, and for what, does my heart yearn and burn with love? Whom do I reach out to with the gift of Jesus’ love…or not?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. serves in campus ministry at Loyola University Chicago and is also minister of the Loyola Jesuit Community.