In our Catholic tradition May was always focused on Mary and June was dedicated to the Sacred Heart. From our childhood many of us may have seen pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus around our homes as a symbol of God’s abundant and selfless love through the heart of Jesus. In my home there was a bust of the Sacred Heart which was given to my parents on their wedding by the priest who married them. It sat on our buffet table throughout my youth. I remember sitting staring at it with very little piety but with an openness and wonder about what it might “really” mean. Devotion to the Sacred Heart seemed too sugary and yet I found myself often repeating the aspiration: “Sacred Heart of Jesus I place my trust in you.”
When my father died I inherited the statue. Since that time it sits in my bedroom and as I moved throughout the years from ministry to ministry so did the Sacred Heart Bust so it eventually lost the tip of its nose, the paint was gone from areas that were bumped, and the bright colors faded. I felt like I had been careless with it. I asked Sr. Christopher our resident artist and miracle worker to touch it up a little and she did but it still looks a bit “old” and “neglected”. And so was my devotion to the Sacred Heart.
As time passed however I had a renewed interest after learning that Teilhard de Chardin in his prayer saw the Heart of Jesus as the center of all created reality, the very center of love. In his retreat journal, he calls Jesus the “Universal Lover”, “the heart of the Universe.” With a more positive attitude and an enriching book entitled The Sacred Heart of the World by David Richo I have come to see this image and this month of June as a way to share with all how passionately in love God is with each of us and that our call is to receive that love and make it visible by our lives. Throughout the stress of this year we have come to see ourselves as wrapped in that love and the love of others.
Certainly each of us as staff have felt wrapped in your love as we close one chapter of the Franciscan Spiritual Center and await what new thing God is preparing for us. In the mean time we clear out files, pack up what is no longer needed and, as we do it, we remember all of you as we say “Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place out trust in you”.
As we close we have good news to share — Clare House and the hermitages are opening this month and, of course, we are blessed to see some of you in spiritual direction. Until we meet again may each of you feel wrapped in God’s love and in ours.