The Sacred Heart

The Sacred Heart

There are experiences that extend beyond understanding and exceed the limitations of language and yet we seek to give them meaning through inadequate words and explanations.

I had one of these experiences Tuesday. Having time to pass, I ventured into one of the local Catholic stores, not seeking anything other than a place of refuge before a meeting. I stopped at the jewelry case and my attention immediately was captured by the symbol on a small gold ring.

The employee told me it was the symbol for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There was only one ring and it fit perfectly on the middle finger of my right hand.

The symbol of a heart, encircled by a crown of thorns with a cross at its center, completely captivated me. I felt my heart start to pound but I put the ring back.

I wandered through the book sections, discovering a book called "A Heart Like His: Meditations on the Sacred Heart of Jesus" by Thomas Williams. Trying to listen to MY own heart, I decided to purchase the book--and the ring.

When I returned the ring to my finger, my eyes welled up with tears and a profound sense of --here is where the words fall short--a sense of sacredness came over me. Call it a “goose-bump” moment but something in me felt deeply…

As I got in my car, I called a friend who asked me if I knew about the calling and following of the devotion to the Sacred Heart? I had no idea what she was talking about but we talked for a bit and I knew-- I am to learn about this Sacred Heart devotion.

(I am one to get “turned-off” by too much religious expression. I tend to resist zealous faith witnessing stuff, in part because it makes me uncomfortable--especially Jesus stuff--and also because I worry what people will think, all my non-Christian friends… This post is one of those opportunities to put pride aside and just share my I will try.)

I am learning that the devotion to the Sacred Heart has a very rich and long tradition. I cannot possibly begin to explain it in this post but I feel called to explore and share my journey as I seek to understand this ancient devotion.  I am a little put off at the idea of a devotion to a "heart" but also intrigued at the richness of the history!

I will begin with the book by Williams and the series of meditations on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This book is a thirty-day journey of mediations related to the Sacred Heart. He also provides a bit of interesting introduction and foundational information. I will share a few highlights...

Pope Benedict XVI wrote, in 2006, that devotion to the Sacred Heart "has an irreplaceable importance for our life in love." Pope John Paul II said that when we refer to the heart, we refer to, "our whole being, all that is within each one of us." The heart represents, "all that forms us from within, in the depths of our being. All that makes up our entire humanity, our whole person in its spiritual and physical dimension." 

To think both of the past two popes wrote about the Sacred Heart—and in five years at the seminary, I NEVER heard mention of it. The depth of tradition, both good and bad, sometimes overwhelms me—and makes me want to study and study and study…MORE!  Well, this gives me something new to explore.

Williams writes, "Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus means devotion to Jesus himself, to the Word made flesh, to the humanity of the Son of God, and, in a particular way, to the love of God in human form."(p. 7). He writes that the whole point of the devotion "means allowing the Holy Spirit to make our hearts more like his."

Sounds a little too much for me initially, but I am intrigued as I am not even sure what the heart of Jesus is like but I will begin this meditation series, trusting God has a plan...and I will blog as I can. My faith is strong and clear enough to know that when I have one of the “experiences” then God has a plan. The last two nights I have dreamed about a heart, almost floating in no-where. I don’t get it and if I think about it too much, I will get “freaked out” but in the mean time, I hear God saying, “Do you trust me?” and yes, I trust…so I will open myself to learn more about this Sacred Heart of Jesus, completely uncertain where this will lead. I would love someone(s) to join me in reading the Williams book. has it for about $10.00…any one else up for it?? Let me know.

I end with a beautiful prayer by Dag Hammarskjold

Give us
A pure heart
That we may see thee,
A humble heart
That we may bear thee,
A heart of love
That we may serve thee,
A heart of faith
That we may live thee.


1 comment (Add your own)

1. Jordan wrote:
I love reading about your experiences!

Thu, July 7, 2011 @ 11:45

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