The Sacred Heart in Scripture and Strawberries

strawberries

June is the month devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Catholic Church. You may ask, what is meant by the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Well, the Sacred Heart is Jesus. And devotion to the Sacred Heart is a devotion to the love of Jesus, devoting oneself to loving   Him entirely.  The heart is a symbol of love, of course, but also an ancient symbol for the core of one’s being, the sacred abode in which God dwells with the person… and more. I wrote more about the heart HERE, HERE, and HERE. For an article on the more scholarly particulars of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, please click HERE.

What does any of this have to do with strawberries? The answer to that is at the end, after a bit of reflective exploration…

Why Does Anything Exist?

In my own particular understanding, which is in keeping with the theological definitions, I often think of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the Sacred Heart of Reality.

As we read in the first chapter of Genesis, God spoke His Word and all of life, all of created reality came into existence. God did not create the universe to be a personless cacophony of gaseous spheres solidifying and fleshy organisms evolving. No. God created the universe and brought all life into being for Love. And love is not personless. Love is personal.

Creation is divinely created and loved by God, who looks upon it and sees that it is good. And human beings are divinely created and loved by God, created with spiritual souls – as persons – to receive God’s love and to love God, as well as to love Creation and one another as fellow creatures in the image of God. The giving and receiving of love, then, is the purpose and therefore joy of Creation… it is the light that the darkness cannot overcome….

Jesus is fully human and fully divine, with divine nature and human nature. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, then, is where divine love and human love abide in perfect giving and receiving, in intimate unity, beating as one. This is the fulfillment of life, the hope of the universe, the heart of reality. In the presence of Jesus, even the stones rejoice![1]

What Is Truth? Who Is Truth…

In the Bible, we read of Christ as the Divine Word Incarnate, through whom all things were made. The order of reality is the truth of reality – and Christ is Truth Incarnate. Sublimely, we see Christ as the living heart of reality:

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him,

and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life,

and this life was the light of the human race;

the light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness has not overcome it.

And the Word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us,

and we saw his glory,

the glory as of the Father’s only Son,

full of grace and truth.[2]

St. Paul speaks of the divine nature of Christ as he says, “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily”.[3] The Apostle to the Gentiles also shows us Christ as the heart, the reason, the meaning, of reality – “all things were created through him and for him”. He is the firstborn of all creation and also the firstborn of the dead.[4] For, as Christ is the Word of God, through whom all things were made, he is also the saving word of redemption, through whom all are reconciled. Love Incarnate. He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”[5]

Christ in All

We can easily imagine Jesus the man, flesh and blood, with a mom, friends, and a mission from God. We love this good man, this gentle, compassionate, and wise man, and we are truly grateful for for his sacrifice for us and amazed by his resurrection. But… How often do we think of him as a Divine Person?

If we believe in the Holy Trinity, then we know (if not fully understand) that Jesus is the Second Divine Person, truly God, God the Son, who became man. He is the Divine Word, the Word of God by which all of Creation came into being.

Let us try, then, to imagine our beloved Jesus speaking to us in these lines of Sacred Scripture:

“The LORD begot me, the beginning of his works,

the forerunner of his deeds of long ago;

From of old I was formed,

at the first, before the earth.

When there were no deeps I was brought forth,

when there were no fountains or springs of water;

Before the mountains were settled into place,

before the hills, I was brought forth;

When the earth and the fields were not yet made,

nor the first clods of the world.

When he established the heavens, there was I,

when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;

When he made firm the skies above,

when he fixed fast the springs of the deep;

When he set for the sea its limit,

so that the waters should not transgress his command;

When he fixed the foundations of earth,

then was I beside him as artisan;

I was his delight day by day,

playing before him all the while,

Playing over the whole of his earth,

having my delight with human beings.[6]

This passage is an ancient Hebrew account of Wisdom personified. How beautifully and truly we see in it Jesus, the Word of God made flesh to dwell with us, speaking with profound love and joy. He is the Divine artisan whose delight is with human beings. This is Divine Wisdom, Divine Love… this love, this joy, this living heart of the universe – Truth, Life, Way – this is Jesus Christ, the Lord.

How Do I Live with the Sacred Heart?

(Now, back to the strawberries…)

strawberry

In the lovely month of June, when I bite into a freshly picked strawberry warm with the sun, I will think of Jesus being there at its creation. This sweet red jewel of a fruit was loved into being through Christ… for me… for me to love it, too. In the shared union of our loving this berry, we meet each other… and we are one…

It is the same with every fellow human creature that I encounter, each person loved into being through Christ and precious to him. When I hold that person, like you, my dear reader, as precious, too, whether or not you return my love, I am meeting Jesus in my loving of you. Because he is loving you, too….

When human love meets divine love, there is the Sacred Heart.

And I will hold all of these things in my heart, beating within the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

© 2016 Christina Chase


Photo sources:  fun4gatorkids.com/Blog
and:  www.rodalesorganiclife.com

[1] Luke 19:40

[2] John 1:1-5; 14

[3] Colossians 2:8

[4] click to see the whole text – Colossians 1:15-20

[5] Revelation 22:13

[6] Proverbs 8:22-31

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