The Sacred Heart: Love Divine

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the highest human expression of divine love. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy. (Pope Francis)

One of the great things about our Catholic Faith is that we express our faith with very tangible signs and symbols. We live our faith not just with our minds, but also with our hearts. We don’t just espouse theological principles; we freely show our emotions. And so it is with our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a beautiful devotion that has particular prominence during the month of June.

As Pope Francis points out, the Sacred Heart is the “highest expression of divine love; the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy,” and surely that mercy and love are virtues we need and treasure during our earthly pilgrimage.

We need to experience God’s mercy and love in those moments of suffering and pain that we all encounter at one time or another. In those moments we hear Jesus saying to us tenderly: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Mt 11: 28-29)

We need to experience God’s mercy and love whenever we’re exasperated by the emptiness of today’s secular culture, when it seems that the world is spinning out of control, and it’s become abundantly clear that human resources cannot redeem us. Then we return to Jesus and say, as St. Peter did: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6: 68)

We need to experience God’s mercy and love when we admit the depths of our own sinfulness, when we understand that our sins have offended God, who loves us so much, and so often have hurt other people. But while gazing at the Sacred Heart we remember how often and how eagerly Jesus extended the Father’s forgiveness to sinners, while also encouraging them to do better. And there we find renewed peace and hope.

What a comforting message we find in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the source and sign of love divine.

Something to think about: As we experience the mercy and love of God in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we should try also to extend those same virtues to our neighbors.