Find your parish Donate

Feast of the Sacred Heart: 07.06.2024

10am Mass – Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow

On the Feast of the Sacred Heart, I always think of the Sacred Heart lamp at home, on the kitchen wall. And all that hung around the lamp. The blue cards for the TB Test, the appointment for the dentist, the little memorial cards of those gone before us.

And of course the Sacred Heart picture was signed, every family name, some fading with time, consecrated to the Sacred Heart.

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus reveals the merciful love of our Saviour, banishing all fear, shame and discouragement from our hearts. The heart of Jesus continues to beat for us. It is believed that people in the ancient world as they could see their heart beat and watch it move, they believed the heart, rather than the brain controlled the body. In many ways they weren’t far wrong.

We hear today of people having ‘a big heart’ or a ‘full heart’. At times people can be ‘broken hearted’ or behave ‘heartlessly’. The heart has four chambers – the right atrium, the left atrium, the right ventricle and the left ventricle. They work together to manage your heartbeat, they send blood to your lungs to gain oxygen before recirculating it throughout your body. The heart is about the size of a pear, or a clenched fist.

The Lord’s promised St. Margaret Mary that “sinners shall find in my heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy” and those “who promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be blotted out”. I love that phrase “infinite ocean of mercy”. I think this is what makes todays feast in many ways perhaps richer to the understanding that can centre around Divine Mercy. I actually think todays feast is much more important.

There is that sense of, that Richard Leonard SJ calls “the transactional model of grace”, where God’s forgiveness will not be granted and his anger at our sins will not be obliterated unless we do certain things at certain times in certain ways. The Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus reminds us His merciful love is pumping out of his heart for all of us, all the time. It is not restricted by a condition or a clause.   

Early commentators on the Gospel of John had that sense that the piercing of the side of the dead Jesus had a more profound meaning than simply proving he was dead. It was in some way connected to sacramental grace.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in thee!