The Fate Of The World

The Fate Of The World

Sacred Heart

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began the day when, speaking to His disciples He said: “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of Heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is sweet and my burden light” (Mt 11:28-30).

With these words, the Saviour opened up for us a tremendous mystery into which the apostles were the first to enter. St John, the beloved disciple, more than the others it would seem, penetrated into the secrets of that Heart, pushing his loving boldness so far as to rest his head on the Lord’s breast at the Last Supper, as if to get as close as possible to that source of Life and Love which is the Heart of Christ.

The Lord was not content with words. He wanted to proved the meekness and love of his heart. That is why He allowed it to be pierced as His dead body hung on the cross. The soldier’s lance indeed opened the side of Christ, and we know thanks to medical science that the blood and water that flowed out prove the lance actually pierced the Heart of Our Lord. What more eloquent sign of His love for us could be given? The Heart of God is opened, it is literally torn apart so that the infinite source of grace could flow out, and so that we sinners could enter therein.

Throughout history, numerous saints have let themselves be enthralled by the treasury of the Divine Heart; they have entered into it, and led others to do the same. In whatever age they lived, in whatever language they wrote and spoke, they all lead back to those two virtues which are exemplified by the heart: love and humility.

We readily, almost instinctively, associate the heart with love. The heart is the symbol and seat of love. As we contemplate the love of our Lord, we are reminded of numerous texts of the Gospel and the Epistles in which we are told of how much God has loved us. One of the most touching is St Paul’s confession to the Galatians: He loved me and handed Himself over for me (Gal 2:20).

Question: Why might it be that the Lord invites us to come to Him, and to learn, not that His Heart is full of love but because it is full of humility? In the school of St Benedict, we know the irreplaceable role of humility in the spiritual life. St Benedict gives us twelve degrees or steps of humility, not of love. At the same time, he takes care to point out that the monk who climbs the ladder of humility finds himself at the summit of perfect love. Humility and love stand or fall together. St Therese of Lisieux put it succinctly in a formula which is not easy to translate: Le propre de l’amour est de s’abaisser – it is proper for love to lower itself, to humble itself, to place itself under the object of its love.

This, and this alone, can account for the extremes to which our beloved Lord went to save us. His love moved Him to lower Himself so low that no one can ever take that lowly place from Him. At the same time, what was His supreme humiliation became His exaltation, for lifted up on the cross, he now draws all men to His most Sacred Heart. Because the Lord loved us with His Heart, He humbled Himself in order to embrace us from the cross.

St Augustine, pointing to the text of St Paul to the Ephesians we read in the epistle of today’s Mass in which the apostle wants us to come to know the breadth and height and length and depth of the love of Christ, explains the reason for which is was fitting that Christ die upon a cross. “Breadth is in the beam which is fixed transversely above; this appertains to good works, since the hands are stretched out upon it. Length is the tree’s extent form the beam to the ground; and there it is planted – that is, it stands and abides – which is the note of longanimity. Height is in that portion of the tree which remains over from the transverse beam upwards to the top, and this is at the head of the Crucified, because He is the supreme desire of souls of good hope. But that part of the tree which is hidden from view to hold it fixed, and from which the entire rood springs, denotes the depth of gratuitous grace.”

What lesson might this hold for us, and what spiritual bouquet might we be able to take with us from this Holy Mass into our daily lives? One of the most valuable insights it brings is that love manifests itself in humility. If we truly love, we will seek to lower ourselves. Whether it be between brothers in a community, between spouses in marriage, even between colleagues at work, if we truly love someone, we will make ourselves small in order to bear with their infirmities, to be patient with their weaknesses, to be tolerant of their views and tastes. It is proper for love to lower itself. If only this simple principle were known and applied, how many families could be saved from falling apart, how many communities would remain in unison.

As we honour the Divine Heart of the Saviour, let us beseech Him to pour forth abundantly the Holy Spirit into our hearts, that He may light there an immense fire of love for God and for neighbour, especially for that neighbour who is closest to us, and may that love move us to true humility and meekness of heart. At the same time, if we do not yet feel the warmth of that love, let us make acts of humility and meekness, conscientiously putting ourselves in the last place. If we do, we may be surprised to find ourselves developing a deeper love for those we thus learn how to serve.

Ultimately, the fate of the world lies in this attitude of going out of self, putting one’s tastes and ambitions after those of our neighbour. The fate of the world depends on the virtue of humility. It is there that we will find rest for our souls, for our families, for our communities, for our countries, for our world. Egotism is the source of all sin, humility and fraternal love is the source of all virtue.

Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine.

Heart of Jesus, burning with love for us, inflame our hearts with love for Thee.