Feast of the Sacred Heart

sacredheart01 350This week we celebrated the Solemnity of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It is a moment when we can pull out all the stops to immerse ourselves in the love of God poured into our hearts by the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We pray for an experience of joy that only the risen Jesus can invite you and me into.  What will be your response?  Could this be a time when we can revel in joy – a joy that we have been released into; into our own full potential as human beings?

In John 16: 16-20 Jesus speaks of the disciple’s grief turning into joy.  Much of what we would describe as joy, sadly, is confused with being happy.  Happiness depends upon my station in life, how I am valued by others (what other people think of me), what I have, what I own, but disappears when they fade away from our sight and we struggle along in a solitude, made the more dreary because of remembered success and/or companionship.  And much of our happiness depends upon the goodwill and help of others.  They can snatch it all away – they can hedge up our road and make it uncomfortable and sad for us in many ways.  Our happiness necessarily depends upon and fluctuates with external circumstances of a hundred different kinds, as we all only too well know.

No one but myself can put a roof over my head to shut me out from God, from Jesus; and as long as I have a clear sky overhead, it matters very little how high may be the walls that foes or hostile circumstances pile around me, and how close they may press upon me.  When Jesus is speaking of joy, he is not speaking of a joy fed from these surface springs.  We may dig deeper down if we like.  If we are Christian, we have, like some beleaguered garrison in a fortress, a well in the courtyard that nobody can get at, and which never can run dry.  That, I believe is the joy that is real and true.  From the well, which never runs dry.

I heard someone say once that as long as we have Christ, we cannot be desolate.  The speaker continued;  ‘if God and I were alone in the universe, or, paradoxical as it may sound, if God and I were alone, and the universe were not, I should have all that I needed and my joy would be full, if I loved God as I ought to do!’

We need to remember, though externals have no power to rob us of our true joy, they have a very formidable power to interfere with the cultivation of that faith, which is the essential condition of our joy.  They cannot force us away from Christ, but they may tempt us away.

Jesus invites his disciples, us, to see to it that we dig deep enough for the foundation of our joy, our blessedness, and that it is on Christ, our joy is on him, and nothing less infinite, less eternal, less unchangeable, where we have our repose for the inward Joy which nothing outside of us can touch.  That is the Joy which we may all possess, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us” (Romans 8:38) – from the eye and the heart of the risen Christ who lives in us joyfully.


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