HEART OF CHRIST: BURNING FURNACE OF LOVE
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“God is love,”
the Apostle Saint John exclaimed with ardor in his first letter
(v. 8). Saint John, the youngest of the disciples of the Lord and
known as the “Apostle of love,” was the last to die. As he got
older, his teaching became more and more simple, speaking only of
the love of God. According to one tradition, one of his disciples
asked him, “Why do not you speak to us of something else?” He
responded, “because there is nothing else more important to speak
Christianity is complex, containing mysteries and truths which are
difficult for the human mind to penetrate, it is also very simple:
in the end what we find is the love of God, and all truth leads us
there. The love of God is the ultimate cause of all that exists,
the ultimate cause of all that happens, and the ultimate cause of
our existence. Everything that God has done, He has done out of
love; He created us out of love… He sustains us in existence out of
love… He seeks us when we walk away from Him out of love… He
develops an entire plan of salvation out of love… He became
Incarnate out of love… He forgives us and saves us out of love. He
suffered His passion and death out of love, and He continues to be
Love that searches for us to restore our hearts, to pour forth His
graces and mercy, and to elevate us to the dignity of children of
God. He seeks our hearts because He loves us. “I sought him whom my
heart loves…I will rise then and go about the city… I will seek Him
whom my heart loves” (Songs of Songs 3:1-2).
His Holiness, John Paul II, in
Tertio Millennio Adveniente, tells us, “In Jesus Christ
God not only speaks to man but also seeks him out. The
Incarnation of the Son of God attests that God goes in search of
man…It is a search which begins in the heart of God and
culminates in the Incarnation of the Word. If God goes in search of
man, created in his own image and likeness, he does so because he
loves him eternally in the Word, and wishes to raise him in Christ
to the dignity of an adoptive son…God seeks man out, moved by his
fatherly heart… Why does God seek man out? Because man has
turned away from him…Man allowed himself to be led astray by
the enemy of God… Going in search of man through his Son, God wishes
to persuade man to abandon the paths of evil which lead him farther
and farther afield. ‘Making him abandon’ those paths…means
overcoming the evil which is everywhere found in human history.
Overcoming evil: this is the meaning of the Redemption”
God created Adam
and Eve for love. They broke this relationship of love with God
when they allowed themselves to be seduced by the invitation of the
devil: “Do you want to be like God? Do you want to rebel against
your status as children? Do you want to break the bonds of love with
God because of distrust?” But from the moment of man’s fall, God
sought to re-establish His relationship with them; He desired to
attract them once again to His Fatherly Heart; He promised them a
savior. In this same manner God’s search for our own hearts begins;
in this same manner the covenants and restorations of God’s
relationship with humanity begin; in this same manner the great
adventure of love begins that eventually culminates with the visible
manifestation of love on the Cross.
Let us examine
some of the major covenants of love that God established with His
people in order to bring their hearts back to Him.
seeks humanity in the person of Noah. It is a humanity that has
become corrupted and deserving of the punishment by flood. One
of the faithful families that responded to the call of God is
protected from the disaster. It is through this family that
future generations will be able to continue. God makes a
promise to never annihilate all of humanity with a flood again.
His Merciful Heart chooses instead to protect.
seeks humanity through Abraham. He makes a personal alliance
with him that will pass on to all his descendants. God wants to
reunite a humanity that has become dispersed by the confusion
caused at Babel. He wants to form a people, a family that will
be faithful and live in holiness, a family who will listen to
His revelation. He promises Abraham a fecundity without
measure, and He promises to give his descendents the land of
Canaan as a possession. God’s Loving Heart chooses to bless.
seeks humanity by means of Moses; He frees the people from
slavery. The Lord manifests His love by doing many miracles,
but the people are not grateful. Nevertheless, God desires to
make them into a people who will say “yes” to his mandates, a
people that will know Him, love Him, and serve the true God. He
desires to give them the Law, the concrete manner by which to
live this relationship of love. He wants to instill the Law in
them so that it will penetrate the entire religious and moral
life of the people. His Heart chooses to reveal the sure path
to come to Him.
probably go through our entire lives meditating upon all of the
loving manifestations of God throughout salvation history. However,
despite so much love of God towards men, many times the people of
Israel were that unfaithful spouse about whom the prophet Hosea spoke
– they turned their hearts away from God and allowed their love to
grow cold by loving and serving other gods. But God did not resign
Himself to this – which is why we see constant calls, through the
mouths of the prophets, to return to Him with their entire heart.
God who is a
Father does not resign Himself to losing humanity to the snares of
the devil. He does not resign Himself to this because He loves us,
because we are His sons, made in His image and likeness. He suffers
profoundly from our rebellion and indifference. He suffers because
He loves us… but His love is infinite, perfect and merciful, and for
this reason, He seeks to attract us to His love.
“When Israel was a child I loved him,
out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the farther
they went from me…Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took
them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of
love…Yet…they did not know that I was their healer…they refused to
repent…Yet, how could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O
Israel? I will not give vent to my blazing anger…for I am God”
How much love!
Salvation history is all about discovering God’s love for man. He
loved them by forgiving them, by speaking to them through the
prophets, by making covenants, by correcting, by liberating, by
protecting, by revealing His will, by manifesting His providence and
His miracles. He did it in so many ways, but His greatest
manifestation was the Incarnation, when the Second Person of the
Trinity became man. In this act, the One who seeks man – moved by a
Heart full of love – became man in order to redeem and transform the
hardened heart of humanity with His love, words, works and
sacrifices. He became Incarnate in order to seek the heart of man
with His own Heart. The purpose of Incarnation and Redemption was
precisely that: to enter into a covenant that was heart to heart –
because God is the lover of the human heart. He seeks the human
heart. Jesus said to St. Gertrude, “Nothing gives me greater joy
than the human heart, in which I am so often denied. I have so many
things in abundance, yet how much I am denied the love of the human
heart” (cf. The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude).
Not only does
God love us, but He also wants to clearly reveal that love; He wants
us to see it, to touch it, to understand how far it will go. That
is why the greatest task of our lives is to come to know the love of
God that has been manifested by the Heart of the Son through His
life, words, acts, Passion, death and resurrection. Our mission in
life is to know God; and by knowing Him, to love Him; and by loving
Him, to live out fully the designs of His love for us.
We clearly see
the revelation of the mystery of God’s love in the love of the
Incarnation, in the love that the Son has for us. “For God so loved
the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16); and “in this way
the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the
world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not
that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as
expiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
palms of my hands I have written your name” (Is 49:16). Jesus did
not want only our names written on the wounds of His hands, but He
also allowed there to be a wound upon His Heart so that He could
keep us in it.
the sign of love is the Heart of Jesus, the Heart of God-made-man.
This is why the Heart of Jesus is the place of encounter between two
loves – that of Heaven and that of earth. All love must measure and
compare itself to the Heart of Jesus to determine its authenticity.
As it is the
love of His Heart that moved Him to become Incarnate in order to
save us, His mission had to finds its culmination in His Heart.
This is why the seal of His redemptive sacrifice was the piercing of
His Heart. He wrote our names in the open wound of His Heart. The
Heart of Jesus is the burning furnace of love. The Heart of Jesus
is the sanctuary of love. If we contemplate this Divine Heart, we
will see that everything in Him is love. Jesus told Blessed Angela
of Foligno, “Look closely at my Heart. Is there anything there that
is not love?” We can say that in the Heart of Jesus we find pain,
mercy, thorns, the Cross, a sword, purity, humility, docility, etc.
All of this is there because it is born of love. Love is the
explanation to all that exists in this Divine Heart. It is the
fountain of all the virtues because it is a burning furnace of
All that is in
the Heart of Jesus is love. And what a manner of love! It is a
love unto the extreme. It is a love of the Cross and sacrifice, of
self-forgetfulness in order to give us eternal life. How pale is
the symbol of love in the world in comparison to the Christian
symbol of love that is the Heart of Jesus! For us, the sign of love
is the Heart of Jesus, the Heart of God-made-man.
The Heart of Jesus burns with
the Lord reveals His Heart, He manifests it engulfed in flames: “I
saw this divine Heart as on a throne of flames, more brilliant than
the sun and transparent as crystal” (From a letter of St. Margaret
Mary written to Fr. Croiset SJ on November 3, 1689. Found in The
Letters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque). To St. Faustina He
said, “I am burning in the flames of my mercy and love, which I
desire to lavish on souls” (cf. Diary, 50). Why fire?
Because Jesus is enflamed with love for humanity. His love is so
passionate that it is described in the Song of Songs as “strong as
death, relentless as the netherworld” (8:6). His love is a love for
the Eternal Father and for man, and it consumes Him. It is this
love, impassioned for humanity, that led Him to give Himself to the
extreme for the salvation of man. His love is an inextinguishable
furnace. Let us remember what was said in Exodus when Moses
received the apparition of God in the form of fire in the midst of a
bush. Moses saw that the bush was aflame but was not being consumed
(3:2). This is the love of Christ: He reveals to us His burning
and flaming Heart, but it is a fire that does not cease; on the
contrary, its intensity increases the more we are in need of His
forgiveness and mercy.
furnace illuminates the darkness of the night; it warms our body
when it is cold. The love of Christ possesses some of the same
nature as fire: it burns with ardor, and it burns in order to
illuminate the darkness of our hearts and to warm the coldness of
our selfishness. It burns with ardor so as to consume the
impurities of our hearts and to tear away the stones and the
harshness, so as to give us a new Heart similar to His own.
The Lord took
St. Margaret’s heart and placed it in His own Heart. The Saint
tells us that when her heart touched the flames of the love of the
Heart of Jesus, it was consumed immediately by those flames; it
seemed as if she were a tiny atom that disappeared in the immensity
of Christ’s love. This is what should occur with us. Let us give
our hearts to Jesus, allowing Him to consume us, to purify us, to
immerse us in His great mercy, to cleanse us and give us a clean
heart that is pure, tender, and loving, a heart that knows how to
love and, therefore, how to sacrifice itself.
Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to
exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love” (cf.
Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary). Pius IX in the
Beatification decree for St. Margaret said, “The Heart of Jesus is
full of such an immense charity that it is inflamed with love for
humankind… and we ought to venerate it as the center of Divine
Charity.” With his words, the pope wanted to emphasize the message
that Jesus gave to Saint Margaret: “My Divine Heart is so inflamed
with love for men…that being unable any longer to contain within
Itself the flames of Its burning Charity, It must spread them abroad
by means of you” (Letter to Fr. Croiset, Nov. 3, 1689). His Heart
is the fountain of salvation. His love
saves. That is why the false image of love and mercy that has
penetrated the minds and hearts of so many in the Church is such a
deception. Mercy and love do not leave people in their sin, but
they give people life by freeing them from their sins.
The Heart of Jesus, Sign of
Salvation for Humanity
said, “The Heart of Jesus was wounded, that through the visible
wound, the invisible wound of love might be seen” (As quoted in
Discourse IX Of The Dolours Of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori).
In this quotation, he makes reference to the Gospel of John: “One of
the soldiers pierced His side with a sword and instantly blood and
water poured out” (19:34). In this verse, John is referring to the
prophecies of Zechariah that were fulfilled by the piercing of the
side of Jesus:
“They shall look upon him who they
have pierced (Zec 12:10).
“I will pour out…a spirit of grace and petition (Zec 12:10).
“A fountain shall be opened for all” (cf. Zec 13:1).
From the open
fountain of His pierced Heart, Blood and Water flowed out. That is
why the Lord revealed two rays in the image of Divine Mercy, a red
one and a transparent one.
represents sacrifice, the price that He paid to save humanity. In
every nation, and principally among the Jews, the blood of victims
was sprinkled upon the altar for the expiation and reparation of
sin. His Blood comes from His Heart, not only physically but also
spiritually. Saint Paul tells us that we were purchased for God
with the Blood of Christ. Jesus offered all of His Blood (to the
last drop) for our salvation. He gave Himself entirely as a
holocaust for our sins. His Blood brings peace. It has an infinite
value that supersedes all the debts that man has incurred. The
moment that it came forth from His Heart, it became a universal
treasury, from which sinners could drink as from a fountain; in this
manner, they are able to acquire the life of grace. The Blood of
Christ purifies us from our sins and opens the Gates of Heaven.
The water is the
gift of the Spirit obtained by His Heart for all of us. The Holy
Spirit comes to purify hearts.
“Jesus stood up
and exclaimed, ‘Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink’” (Jn
7:37-39). On this occasion, Jesus presents Himself as the fountain
of living water. Just as He had invited those who were labored and
burden to find rest (Mt 11:28), here He invites those who are
thirsty and who believe in Him to come and drink of the living water
that “flows from Him.”
In the Old
Testament, messianic times were announced by the outpouring of the
Holy Spirit, which was symbolized by water. The Holy Spirit would
be the gift that would actualize the salvation that the Messiah
would obtain for all men. The prophet Ezekiel described a river
that came forth from the interior of the Temple and brought healing,
fruitfulness and abundance of life wherever it passed (47:1-12). As
we have already seen, the prophet Zechariah announced a fountain of
water that would open one day, bringing freedom from impurities and
To the Samaritan
women, Christ offered water only He could give – living water that
would become a torrent of life and holiness in the interior life of
the believer (Jn 4:4-42). In the Feast of the Tabernacles, the Jews
prayed for water. Jesus proclaims that it is only in Him that man
finds the water of a new life, and this water comes from Him, from
His Heart. In the symbols of these two elements, the Blood and the
Water, we discover that the center of man’s redemption is found in
the Heart of Jesus.
The Wound of the
Heart of Jesus represents the open door to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Kingdom was closed for us and Christ opened it with His
redemptive sacrifice. Through this door, the love of God flows
towards humanity, and through this door, humanity enters into the
House of the Father. “The true door in which the love of God flows
to us is the Heart of Jesus, pierced on the Cross. In it is where
we find the Holy Door, the Jubilee Door. Blessed is he, who, having
discovered this fountain of love, never separates himself from it.
Blessed is he who, drinking from this fountain of love, sees how his
thirst grows in the same instant in which it is satiated” (Cardinal
Etchegaray, president of the Committee for the Jubilee
2000). As Jesus told St. Faustina, His love is the reason for our
redemption: “My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and
especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I
am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the
Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing
with mercy” (Diary, 367).
Saint John the
Apostle, who narrated the piercing of the Heart of Jesus, considered
it to be a visible sign of salvation. We must direct ourselves to
this fountain of redemption in order to find salvation. The Holy
Father, both in Fatima and in his letter Tertio Millennio
Adveniente, directed our gaze towards the Heart of Christ and
told us that by entering the Heart of Christ, we return to the
fountain of salvation and thus, enter into the House of the Father (TMA,
The Kingdom of God
How much we are
loved by the Heart of Jesus! All of Jesus’ preaching can be
summarized in the passage of Mark 1:15: “This is the time of
fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.” Christ wants to
manifest what the Kingdom of God is. The Kingdom is the basic
concern of the Heart of Jesus because the Kingdom of God is in the
heart. It is the reign of love. Jesus wants all of us to
participate in the Kingdom and invites us all to it; but He also
makes it clear that in order to enter, a conversion of heart is
necessary. This conversion consists in a new attitude towards God as
Father, a new attitude towards men as our brothers and sisters, and
a new attitude towards the things of the world. In other words, it
requires a total change of the interior inclinations of the heart.
In His life on
earth, Jesus wanted to reveal the Kingdom; therefore, He forgave
sinners, healed the sick, exorcized those possessed by demons,
taught the truth, received those who were rejected, took authority
over evil, worked miracles moved by compassion, forgave His enemies,
and suffered for us. All of these manifestations revealed the love
of His Heart. His Heart is the Kingdom of God. He does not act
simply as an agent of the Kingdom, but as its realization. That is
why, when He opened His Heart by the piercing of the sword, it
became the door of the Heavenly Kingdom opened for us.
The Kingdom of
the love of Jesus has no precedents; it is the very love of God for
man. This is why His love transcends our capabilities and our
limits. We will never comprehend how much He loves us! (As well,
the Blessed Mother in Mejugorje told us, “If you knew how much I
loved you, you would cry of joy.”) The strength that moved Christ
in all His actions, words, and sacrifices was love. How many times
I have asked myself, “What moved you, Jesus, to lift yourself up from
your falls under such a heavy cross, if what was next was your
crucifixion?” I always receive the same answer: “My love for men!”
Characteristics of the Love
of the Heart of Jesus
Love’s ideal is
realized in the Heart of Jesus. Outside of this, all other love is
imperfect. Human love is full of deficiencies: it is weak,
hesitant, selfish, sterile. But in the Heart of Jesus, love is what
it ought to be.
The heart of the
history of salvation is the revelation of the faithful love of
Yahweh – in other words, the heart of the covenant between God and
man is the love of God that is faithful and eternal. The psalmist
sings, “His love endures forever” (Ps 107:1). And again, “Praise
the Lord, who is so good; God's love endures forever” (Ps 136:1).
Many times in the Old Testament, the fidelity of His love was
misinterpreted, which led the people to either suffocate love or
abuse it. For Judaic legalism, it was very difficult to discover
the love of the Law, and hence, they stifled it. For others, the
fidelity of God’s love led them to forget that love has necessary
demands in order that it is not offended.
is to reveal, fully and definitively, the depth of the love of God.
In Christ, God the Father commits Himself to love us forever – not
only Israel, but all of humanity. This definitive character of
God’s love for man reveals itself in the event of the Incarnation:
Jesus is the herald of the love of the Father; Jesus is the
Incarnation of the love of the Father. The Heart of Jesus is a
visible symbol of the love of the Father. This love is revealed
fully in the fact that He has become man to save us, and He
manifested this love throughout His whole life by His compassion,
righteousness, truth, teachings, and miracles – but above all, by
His passion and death.
Jesus came as
the Good Shepherd, the Bridegroom who heals. Nobody has greater
love than he who gives his life for his friends (Jn 15:13). “What
will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress,
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?”
(Rom 8:35). This love is not only eternal, but it also manifests
itself in the realities of our lives.
The love of
Jesus is radically new because it transcends the limitations and
restrictions that narrow the idea of love in the Old Testament. The
Law prescribed, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18.). In
the Old Testament, one was only required to love only the members of
one’s own nation and faith. Christ broke these boundaries of
restricted brotherhood; with this, He caused a great revolution of
love – universal salvation, universal sonship, universal
brotherhood, and universal love.
revolutionary notion of “neighbor” revealed by Jesus appears in many
passages. For example, there is the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk.
10:29-37). Furthermore, in the Gospel of Matthew even one’s enemies
are not excluded: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for
those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly
Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and
causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” (5:44-45). The
universality of the love of the Father is revealed clearly, and it
becomes the norm for our loving.
Compassionate and Merciful
forgives and forgets; it descends to the depths, even to the abyss,
in order to lift up those who have fallen and sunk down.
In the Old
Testament, piety was manifested by hatred towards sinners. Jesus
did the opposite: He came to call sinners and not the just, the
sick and not those who were healthy (Mk 2:17). We are all sinners
and we are all sick. He came to reveal that we were all in need of
Jesus is the
Good Shepherd that goes after the lost sheep. He is the Good
Samaritan that heals suffering humanity. He healed many people,
freed many who were oppressed by evil spirits, multiplied bread and
fish for the hungry and tired, and brought the best out of hardened
hearts. He changed water into wine, resurrected the dead, and spoke
with women. He had so much compassion for every aspect of misery in
the human person. He was moved in the face of human pain. He
forgave sins and ate with tax-collectors and sinners. He freed the
woman accused of adultery, prevented her stoning, and gave her the
grace not to sin again (Jn 8:3-11). The friends of Jesus were
people like Mary Magdalene, Matthew, and Zacchaeus; He even called
Judas His friend and asked forgiveness for those who crucified Him.
The idea of
forgiving sinners was central to the ministry of Jesus. Peter
realized this and thus asked Him, “Lord, if my brother sins against
me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Peter
was counting, but Jesus was not, and therefore, He answered him, “I
say to you, not seven times but seventy times seven” (Matt
18:21-22). Jesus did not come as a judge but as a Savior (Jn 3:17).
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (Jn
1:29). He poured out His Blood for the remission of sin (Mt 26:28).
The Heart of
Jesus is the sign of the new covenant: the new heart, full of
merciful love in action.
The love of
Jesus is a most sacrificial love, a love that suffers all things
through the force of His abnegation; it is such a delicate and
tender love that no motherly love can compare to it (Is 49:15). All
of Jesus’ life was a revelation of His love for the Father and for
humanity, but in the final twenty-four hours of His life, this love
was manifested in its fullness. We must direct our attention to two
places: the Cenacle and Calvary.
Saint John tells
that “He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end” (Jn
13:1). Before He gave us the new commandment of love with His words,
He desired to give it with His own example, with His own suffering,
so as to make very clear the nature of the love He was teaching us.
This is why He can call us to love as He has loved us. This is why
He knelt down and washed the feet of His disciples.
The love He
teaches us is a:
Love that serves.
Love that shows itself in the
sacrifices of each day.
Love that forgets self in order to give
oneself to others.
serving them, He instituted the Eucharist: the Sacrament of Love,
the visible Sign of His self-offering. He gave His Body and His
Blood. He gave Himself completely for love. Today He does the
same; He remains with us in a real manner and form; He gives us His
very Body as our nourishment, completely given for our salvation.
It was at that moment that He told them, “As the Father loves me, so
I also love you… This is my commandment: love one another as I love
you” (Jn 15:9,12). Jesus calls us to love “as He loves us;” in other
words, not according to our own measurements and concepts, but
rather according to the same sacrificial love and self-offering of
His Heart. This is why Saint John tells us in his First Letter,
“Whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (4:16).
In addition to
the two great gifts of the Eucharist and the Commandment to love,
Jesus also gave us the following during His last crucial hours:
“I no longer call you slaves…I have called you friends” (Jn
15:15). This friendship impels Him to warn us of upcoming
persecutions as a result of our friendship with Him, as a result of
a world without love (Jn 16:1-4). Moreover, He promises that the
presence of the Trinity will come to dwell in our hearts (Jn 14:23)
and that the Holy Spirit will guide us to the full truth. (Jn 14:26;
His Priestly Prayer
In this prayer, He asks the Father to consecrate us in the
Truth and to give us eternal life, to make us perfectly one in mind
and heart as a testimony of the love of God.
His Words on the Cross
Destitute of all things, full only of His love for humanity,
He gives us His love, expressed in a few words that are full of
self-denial: He forgave those who crucified Him; He gave us His
Mother to be our Mother; He gave hope to the good thief; He
fulfilled the will of the Father; He gave up His spirit into the
hands of the Father.
His Pierced Heart
He allowed His Heart to be pierced so that the Blood and
Water could pour forth from it. Not having anywhere to lay His head
during His life, He died without ever finding rest. He died loving
because He lived loving. This is the love of the Heart of Jesus – a
passionate and ardent love that has never been seen before on
earth. This is the Heart of Jesus – a burning furnace of charity.
The Heart of Jesus, remedy of
the evils of our time
mystical experience, Saint Gertrude asked Saint John why, if he had
rested on the chest of the Lord during the Last Supper, did he not
write about the depths of His most Sacred Heart. Saint John
responded to her, “My ministry in that time in which the Church was
being formed consisted in speaking solely upon the Incarnate Word of
God. The grace of hearing the eloquent voice of the Heart of Jesus
has been reserved for those in the end times. When this voice is
heard, the world, being weak in the Love of God, will be renewed,
will be lifted from its lethargy, and will be enflamed in the flame
of divine love once more.” Our Lord tells us through St. Gertrude
that the renewal of the world, when it finds itself tired and
without fire in its heart, will come by listening to the heartbeats
of the Heart of Jesus – the beatings of love.
his human and divine Heart, source of reconciliation and principle
of new life in the Holy Spirit, to today’s men and women who are
immersed in a secularized world and risk losing the centre of
gravity in their lives” (John Paul II, Angelus Message, June 28,
We live in a
world that has separated itself from God, and therefore, has lost
its center. Everything is altered: faith, relationships with God,
morality, family life, the identities of men and women, the values
of life, etc. Let us look more in depth at some of these realities
and how the Heart of Jesus can remedy them.
of Faith – Saint Thomas saw the Heart of Jesus, and this
experience penetrated his doubts; he placed his finger in the
Wound of His Side and thus exclaimed with ardent faith, “My Lord
and My God” (Jn 20:28).
of Unity – His love brings all creatures to Himself and
causes those who believe in Him to have a single mind and a
single heart. While hatred divides, separates and destroys,
love, on the contrary, unites, brings peace and edifies. This
is why only love perfects all things. The essence of mutual
love does not consist in the fact that nobody causes us pain –
which is impossible while living amongst one another – but
rather in learning to forgive with promptness and perfection.
of Peace – His Heart is a sign of reconciliation, which is
the basis of peace. In His Heart, man finds his weakness and
misery, as well as his greatness in being a child of God. Only
from His Heart does peace flow. When Christ appeared to the
Apostles, He showed them the wound of His Heart and told them,
“Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19). Peace is a fruit of the love of
Abundant Fear – When one is able to contemplate the image of
the Merciful Heart of Jesus that pours forth graces and hear
within the intimacy of one’s soul what St. Faustina heard – “Do
not be afraid of anything; I am with you” – he will be able to
respond with confidence: “Jesus, I trust in You.” This dialogue
of the Heart of Christ with the heart of man is based on love,
for “there is not fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”
(1 Jn 4:18).
Cold World – Coldness is the fruit of selfishness. As
iniquity increases, the love of many will grow cold. For this
reason, it is necessary in our times to draw close to the flame
of ardent love and charity in the Heart of Jesus. The love of
Christ does not cease nor deteriorate in any way. His love is
eternal. It is the only love that is capable of transforming
the world and human life. It is the only love that is capable
of causing human hearts to become enflamed with love. “The
devotion to my Heat is my last effort to warm a world that has
grown cold” (Jesus to St. Margaret).
World in Need of Love – “God has made us for Himself [He
created us for love, to love and to be loved], and our
hearts are restless until they rest in Him” (St. Augustine,
Confessions. Italics added). Love is the force behind our
existence. This means that the fullness and maturity of our
humanity is reached to the extent that we experience the love of
God, that we know and believe we are loved by Him, and that we
love others. The human heart is always hungry and thirsty for
love. Its greatest desire is love. Therefore, if we do not
live in love, our hearts are robbed of its greatest desire. Our
full human development – on all levels, not only the spiritual –
is reached to the extent that the human person experiences love.
It is a grave error to think that we reach this fulfillment
outside of love. Selfishness robs us of our dignity and leaves
us in a state of immaturity. There is no fulfillment outside of
love. Our dignity is found in being children of God; therefore,
we live in and for love. “See what love the Father has given
us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1
Empirical and Rationalistic World – We live in a world that
rejects what is supernatural and denies the divinity of Jesus
Christ and the authority of the Church. As a consequence, it
proclaims indifference in matters of faith and religion,
independence of thought, and the autonomy to decide what is good
However, when we
contemplate the Heart of Jesus, we discover the contrary. We
discover the Heart of God-made-man who entered in direct
relationship with humanity. We discover the Pierced Heart of God –
from which the Church was born – robed in divine strength and with a
supernatural power that has the life of the souls and of societies
within it. Because of this, Pope Pius IX consistently told the
Church that the Sacred Heart of our Lord was the remedy destined to
save the world.
Contrary to the
spirit of pride so prevalent in the world, the Sacred Heart shines
with humility. Contrary to the spirit of independence, the Sacred
Heart submits in obedience. Contrary to the spirit of weakness that
serves the values of the world, the Sacred Heart remains firm and
The Heart of
Jesus – burning furnace of charity, fountain of salvation, abundant
fountain of grace and salvation – is our hope! The hope of
My brothers and
sisters, let us lift up very high above humanity the Heart of Jesus,
through which humanity is redeemed and transformed. May we all
enter through the wound of His Side to live in the Heart of Christ
and in this way, consumed by the fire of His love, may we one day
come to burn so brightly with love that we enflame the world today
that is so in need of a new civilization and culture of love.
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