WelCom June 2020:
Pope Francis Prayer Intention
During the month of June 2020 Pope Francis’ Universal Prayer Intention for Evangelisation is: The Way of the Heart – We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.
God’s Heart a Pledge of Love
In our Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart of Jesus points to God’s boundless love and mercy, and draws us into the mystery of suffering. Devotion to the Sacred Heart recognises Jesus as both human and divine, bringing love, compassion and suffering together as unique signposts on our journey to God.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been in the Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856. The date depends on that of Easter. It is celebrated on a Friday, 19 days after Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. This year, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is honoured on Friday, June 19.
James B Lyons
The only signatures of my parents I still possess are attached to a framed picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
They signed it, together with our parish priest, Fr Bill Clancy, on 1 July 1958 when our family, like many others, was dedicated to the Sacred Heart. The picture hung for decades in our home and remains a source of comfort and strength to me in my own residence.
It carries the words of Jesus to the 17th century French mystic, St Margaret Mary Alacoque, I will bless the house in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart was very strong in the early to mid-1900s and was promoted as a ‘precious gift’ for the whole family. Together with the family Rosary – popularised internationally in the 1950s by Fr Patrick Peyton – that focussed attention on the Holy Family, Catholic families were offered a simple way of pondering and developing their faith together.
Today, devotion to the Sacred Heart often centres on the Divine Mercy programme. It has a similar aim to draw families, and people generally, to a fuller awareness of the intensity of God’s love for us and send us into the world as messengers of mercy and loving service.
Today, devotion to the Sacred Heart often centres on the Divine Mercy programme…to draw families, and people generally, to a fuller awareness of the intensity of God’s love for us and send us into the world as messengers of mercy and loving service.
Remember Jesus’ beautiful and consoling affirmation: God loved the world so much that he gave his only son – not to condemn the world, but to offer eternal life (John 3:16). This tells us we matter to God or, as St Paul writes, we are God’s work of art (Ephesians 2:10).
This makes the heart of Jesus, which like ours is the ‘seat of emotions’, the supreme image of a loving God.
We can easily identify with a love that reaches out to help and to serve.
We speak of having a ‘heart-to-heart’ with someone we love or highly value and don’t want to see hurt or disappointed. This requires generosity, trust and often considerable sacrifice, but we do it because we think the other person is ‘worth the cost’.
The gospel themes are rich with declarations of God’s tenderness in Jesus. There is the shepherd theme where the lost sheep is sought with great love (Luke 15:3-7), and the invitation of Jesus to find rest in him (Matthew 11:30). The crucifixion scene (John 19:31-37) with the piercing of the heart of Jesus, shows the totality of his offering. He had nothing left to give.
The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus flows into the following day with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a reminder that Mary, the mother of Jesus, suffered with him and also for us. It is Mary’s offering that invites our own participation for she is the human model of one reaching the potential towards which God calls each of us.
James B Lyons, Priest of the Archdiocese of Wellington.