Jesus’ Heart - the fount of boundless love and mercy
The New Testament is replete with examples of the forgiving nature, ardent love, compassion, mercy and forbearance of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. Jesus’ Heart is also referred to as the ‘Bleeding Heart’.
By K. L. Joseph
Christian faith depicts Jesus’ Heart as the universal symbol of boundless love for humanity. Devotion to Jesus’ Heart started following mystical revelations made by Jesus to a Roman Catholic Nun of France named Margaret Mary Alacoque between 1673 – 1675. Saint Margaret Mary had a series of apparitions during this period and she is said to have received twelve promises from Jesus’ Sacred Heart. These promises, Jesus said, will be given to those who honour and worship my Heart. So, Jesus told Margaret Mary to reveal his promises to the people in the world. These are the twelve divine gifts in a nutshell that Jesus has promised to give to the humanity if His Sacred Heart is honoured and worshipped:
1. All the graces needed in life.
2. Peace in every home.
3. Comfort in afflictions.
4. Refuge in life and death.
5. Abundant blessings upon the Undertakings.
6. Attainment of mercy.
7. Lukewarm hearts to become fervent.
8. Fervent hearts to reach perfection.
9. Every place to be blessed, where Sacred Heart of Jesus is placed.
10. Priests to receive His power to touch the hardened hearts.
11. Those who promote devotion of Jesus’ Heart to be entered into His Heart.
12. Those who receive Holy Communion on the first Friday for nine consecutive months to receive Jesus’ grace and sacraments at the time of death and refuge in His Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart is depicted on fire, encircled with thorns and surmounted with a cross. The cross is shown enveloped by the leaps of flame. Drops of blood are shown dripping from the wounded Heart. The palms of both the hands bearing the deep wound marks inflicted by the nails when Jesus was crucified are depicted as pointing towards his Sacred Heart. The leaping flames from Jesus’ Heart spreading the dazzling light around signify His ardent and passionate love for humanity, though a majority of the people he had associated with during His time on the earth including those at his home town, had ridiculed, rejected, hated and betrayed him. The wounded Heart with drops of blood also signifies the great passion of the Christ that he endured on the cross and it acts as a reminder to humans of His intense love for their cause that he showed until He placed his soul in the hands of his heavenly father while on cross before leaving from this world.
(Saint Maria Faustina)
On some images of Jesus’ Sacred Heart, a lance is shown piercing through it. Jesus’ Heart, apart from being the fount of boundless love, is also the seat of the divine wisdom and light and it encompasses all other virtues like forbearance and mercy. It is from this mercy we have the image of Divine Mercy and the saint who brought it to the attention of the world was Sister Maria Faustina of Poland (25 August 1905 – 5 October 1938). The light and fire are often depicted as the divine signs of the presence of God whenever commandments and warnings were desired to be made by Him to his chosen people or to the prophets.
The twelve promises that were revealed to Margaret Mary Alacoque are not new, as these were being freely given by Jesus’ to the humanity much before she had her apparitions, as can be seen from the miracles in the gospels that Jesus performed when He had begun his Ministry of preaching and teaching the people.
(Saint Margaret Mary)
As said above, Jesus’ Heart was also associated with light. It was the light of a bright star that helped the three wise men from the East find out the birth place of Jesus in the town of Bethlehem in Judaea. Jesus himself said, “ I am the light of the world”, “ Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness “ ( John 8. 12). What Jesus says is what His Heart reveals. When transfiguration of Jesus took place his face was shining like the sun, and his clothes were dazzling white.
The New Testament is replete with examples of the forgiving nature, ardent love, compassion, mercy and forbearance of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. Jesus’ Heart is also referred to as the ‘Bleeding Heart’. Bleeding Heart means a person considered to be excessively soft-hearted or liberal. This is what Jesus was and is! Jesus can not withstand the pains and sorrows of the people as his life, teachings and actions during the New Testament Times have already testified to us. For example, this miracle happened in a town called Nain. When Jesus and his disciples came here, he saw a funeral procession being taken out and the dead person was the only son of a woman, who was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his Heart was filled with pity for her, and he said to her, “Do not cry.” Then he walked over and touched the coffin, and the men carrying it stopped. Jesus said, ‘Young man ! Get up, I tell you!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother (Luke 7. 11-15).
The incident of the woman caught in adultery (John 8. 1-11) also unfolds yet another amazing example of Jesus’ infinite mercy for the sinners. Many examples of Jesus’ infinite mercy, such as this one, can be noticed throughout in the Gospels and all those who were afflicted for various infirmities received His ‘Grace’ without asking for. That shows the boundless mercy of his Sacred Heart.
To achieve the graces of God needed in our life, apart from those under the twelve promises, we are bound by our faith to worship the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Worshipping the Sacred Heart means worshipping God the fount of mercy. Jesus’ Sacred Heart, in fact, is hidden in the trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For these three roll into one called ‘God ‘– a mystery of Jesus’ divine birth! So, once we worship the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we also simultaneously worship the Heavenly Father, the only Son and the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus’ Heart opens and his grace flows to us.
So, before we begin our spiritual journey to get our name written in the Sacred Heart of Jesus through our devotion we should first cleanse our heart of all its impurities. For all the impure and harmful thoughts and evil intentions hatch in the heart. Devotion to Jesus’ Sacred Heart is possible only after our heart is emptied of all the impurities and brought to a spiritual glow first through a sincere repentance and atonement before God. Mere placement of the image of Jesus’ Sacred Heart at home will not bring in God’s grace unless we honour His Heart and worship it regularly fervently – until we experience that gentle tick of vibrations in the cords of our own heart, a sign of Jesus’ love finally fondling us from his Sacred Heart ! Then the lukewarm heart is bound to become fervent and the fervent heart will turn into perfection
(October 5: Feast of Saint Maria Faustina who propagated the devotion to the Heart of Divine Mercy)
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