Tag Archives: Sacred Heart

A Heart Says it All

IMG_0291

Faith has a way of saying great things in the simplest of ways. Sometimes a few words say it all, like the simple words the publican in the gospel utters, 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 sign of the human heart as a way of expressing divine love that cannot be measured. How is it possible to sum up all the words and works of Jesus Christ? He 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, he gave himself to us. The day he died, he gave us life. John’s gospel sums up this mystery by pointing to an important but 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.

Feast of the Sacred Heart

IMG_0291

The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on the Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi because  the Eucharist comes from the loving heart of Jesus.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart has influenced generations of Catholics. I think today of the beautiful church of the Sacred Heart in Springfield, Mass, where Father Theodore Foley, the saintly Passionist whose cause for canonization was recently introduced, grew up. That church surely had a profound influence on him.

The devotion was strong in the pre-Vatican II church, but is it as strong today? I ask that question because as I listened on the internet to a short segment on church music from Vatican Radio featuring popular hymns to the Sacred Heart I realized you don’t hear them much in church today.

The devotion, however, has a long history and is deep significance. Here’s an excerpt from St. Bonaventure for today’s Office of Readings  on the heart of Jesus:

“Take thought now, you who are redeemed, and consider how great and worthy is he who hangs on the cross for you. His death brings the dead to life, but at his passing heaven and earth are plunged into mourning and hard rocks are split asunder.

By divine decree, one of the soldiers opened his sacred side with a lance. This was done so that the Church might be formed from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death on the cross, and so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced’.
“The blood and water which poured out at that moment were the price of our salvation. Flowing from the secret abyss of our Lord’s heart as from a fountain, this stream gave the sacraments of the Church the power to confer the life of grace, while for those already living in Christ it became a spring of living water welling up to life everlasting.”

“Sweet Savior, bless us ere we go
thy words into our minds instill
and make our lukewarm hearts aglow
with lowly love and fervent will.
Through life’s long day and death’s dark night,
O gentle Jesus be our light.”

Sacred Heart

Today, the Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi, is the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The feast was deliberately placed on this date because of its associations with the death of Jesus and the mystery of the Eucharist. Statues and symbols of this feast can still be found in so many of our churches and shrines and even our homes. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was a favorite devotion of the generation of Catholics before ours. It was promoted especially by the Jesuits, but the whole church took it up.

I think today of Sacred Heart Church in Springfield, Mass where Theodore Foley grew up. The devotion expressed in that church must of had a profound influence on him.

The devotion was strong in the pre-Vatican II church, but not so strong now. How do I know? I was listening to a little segment on church music from Vatican Radio, which featured popular hymns to the Sacred Heart. Most of them you don’t hear today.

By the way, the Vatican Radio site is a lively place to get little gems of information, like “Was St. Paul a Mysoginist?” Some wonderful stuff on the art and architecture of Rome too.

The devotion, however, points to a mystery that transcends its present expression. Here’s St. Bonaventure, from today’s Office of Readings:

“Take thought now, you who are redeemed, and consider how great and worthy is he who hangs on the cross for you. His death brings the dead to life, but at his passing heaven and earth are plunged into mourning and hard rocks are split asunder.

“By divine decree, one of the soldiers opened his sacred side with a lance. This was done so that the Church might be formed from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death on the cross, and so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced’. The blood and water which poured out at that moment were the price of our salvation. Flowing from the secret abyss of our Lord’s heart as from a fountain, this stream gave the sacraments of the Church the power to confer the life of grace, while for those already living in Christ it became a spring of living water welling up to life everlasting. “

Fr. Theodore Foley Remembered

Foley Memorial

A memorial area honoring Fr. Theodore Foley, CP in Sacred Heart Church, Springfield, Mass. was blessed today by Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell of the Diocese of Springfield.

Fr. Theodore led the worldwide religious community of Passionists until his death in 1974 and the process for declaring him a saint has begun in Rome. Sacred Heart, in Springfield’s North End was Foley’s parish where he was baptized, attended school and served as an altar boy.

I was one of  nine Passionists at the service, along with a number of diocesan priests, seminarians, sisters and laity. I liked Bishop Mc Donnell’s observation that Fr. Theodore is “a reminder that holiness is all around us.”  How true that is! The memorial area in this beautiful church built in 1889, which has been the spiritual home for so many from the area, is a testimony to the simple, powerful faith of generations of loyal Catholics like the Foleys and their holy son.

The Springfield Republican covered the story  http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/late_springfield_priest_rev_th.html?category=Springfield and CBS televevision.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Springfield Priest A Candidate For Sa…“, posted with vodpod

Photo courtesy of Jim Brady, Chicopee

DSCN1729

DSCN1764