A Heart Says it All

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Faith has ways to say great things in simple ways. Sometimes a few words say it all, like the simple words the publican says in the gospel, not raising his head. “Be merciful to me, a sinner!” Sometimes signs like bread and wine point far beyond themselves to an infinitely generous God.

Today’s Feast of the Sacred Heart offers the human heart as a way of expressing divine love that can’t be measured. How is it possible to sum up all the words and works of Jesus Christ who burned with love for us?

The feast of the Sacred Heart is always celebrated on Friday, the day Jesus showed us the depth of his love, the day he faced rejection and gave himself for us. The day he died, he gave us life. John’s gospel sums up this mystery by pointing to an easily overlooked moment of that fearful day– a soldier pierced the heart of Jesus on the cross and blood and water poured out. “Immediately blood and water poured out.”

Look at these signs with eyes of faith, John’s gospel says. They are powerful signs of God’s love for us and for our world. A pierced heart says it all.

Almighty God and Father,  we glory in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, your beloved Son,  as we call to mind the great things his love has done for us.Fill us with the grace that flows in abundance  from the Heart of Jesus, the source of heaven’s gifts.Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,  one God, for ever and ever.Amen.

Consider

Consider who hangs on the cross for you,

his death gives life to the dead,

his passing heaven and earth mourn, 

even the hard stones split.

Consider how great he is, who he is.

He slept on the cross 

that the church be formed from his side

and scripture might be fulfilled:

“They shall look on him who they have pierced, 

One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear,

blood and water flowed out

paying the price of our salvation.

He gave his blood that the sacraments give grace,

living water eternal life.

Bride of Christ, arise and like the dove,

like the sparrow finding a home,

drink from the wells of your Savior.

He is the spring flowing in the midst of Paradise.

from him four rivers flow to every heart,

watering the whole world and making it fruitful.

Run with longing,

cry out from your inmost heart:

Beauty of God most high,

Shining everlasting light,

Life that gives life to all life,

Light that illumines every light,

Water eternal and unseen, clear and sweet,

flowing from a spring hidden from all,

A spring whose depths can’t be plumbed,

whose height can’t be measured,

whose shores can’t be charted,

whose purity can’t be muddied.

From him flows the river 

that makes glad the city of God. 

So with songs of thanksgiving,

we sing hymns of praise.

With you is the fountain of life

and in your light we shall see light. 

Adapted from St. Bonaventure.

5 thoughts on “A Heart Says it All

  1. peggy nitka

    hi father victor,
    i feel so encouraged reading this set of entries on preaching for the church we are today. the main thing that strikes me is that i need to learn in order to preach. i need to hear voices like yours – thoughtful, open, scholarly and compassionate preachers. today’s environment is a challenge but it is the only reality we have. your words are the first that i have seen that address the world we live in and the jesus we preach and will leave behind for others. thank you. please keep teaching and preaching. your words are nourishment.
    peggy

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  2. vhoagland Post author

    I appreciate your comments, Peggy, and I encourage you to keep learning so you can preach. We need voices like yours too to speak to the next generation. Take a look at that comment from RoseMarie Byrnes a few comments back. She mentioned groups of adults who are trying to learn how to talk to the world in which they live. I asked her to send any information about them. That’s the kind of movement we need now.

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  3. Charlie Kelley, St. Mary's Church, Colts Neck

    Father Victor. I just now got to read your message on “A Heart Says It All” and the related comments. It focused me on my desire to learn as much about my religion as possible so as to be a position to preach God’s word to special family members, especially my 15 year old grandson, Justin.

    Justin confided in me that he doesn’t really believe in God. He says that he has had many problems in his life already and at times he has reached out to God and ‘nothing happened’.

    A little background: Justin was born with a severe heart defect and already has had many surgeries to deal with the problem. Over the past few years he witnessed the deterioration of his parent’s marriage and recently that ended in divorce. He one lives with his mom (my daughter) and an older brother who is in college and is now home for the summer. They do not go to church. I think his mom has similar feelings about God.
    Then recently, Justin experienced his pet dog come down with tumors that were not treatable and had to be euthanized.

    I’ve tried to the best of my ability to turn him around and point him closer towards God, and although he listens to me and respects me, I’m not sure my message will stand the test of time.

    I would appreciate your comments and suggestions relative to how to deal with this situation.

    Thank you.
    Charlie

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  4. vhoagland Post author

    Charlie,

    I appreciate what you’re facing with young Justin and I admire your hope for him. Keep in there. If we know anything about God, it’s that he’s close to those who know suffering and evidently Justin does. I just put up a post on my blog about knowing God. On the Higg-sBoson Particle. Maybe that would be helpful. I have been noticing lately a lot of people like yourself who are concerned with passing on the faith to the next generation. Would be good to get together and try to help one another with this crucial question, wouldn’t it? Be sure, though, that Justin’s listening and your words are getting through. God works through all of us. Fr.Victor

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