10 June, 2012

Homily for the First Sunday after Trinity (Evensong - Sacred Heart) 2012


Later on this week we will keep the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
 
At first, this may seems a celebration completely alien to the Anglican tradition and rather more suited to the 19th century continental Catholicism in which it spread like wildfire.
 
If we think of the Sacred Heart a distinctive type of iconography may come to mind; paintings and statues in which Jesus shows to the faithful his heart through his chest and clothing. These images are very much the flavour of the century in which they were fashioned. More recently, we may think of the Divine Mercy images, in which the Sacred Heart is concealed, and two bright rays of light shine forth from Jesus’ chest; one red and one white, representing the blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side on the Cross.
Here in St Ives we may be reminded of our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters whose church is dedicated to the Sacred Heart and St Ia.
 
However, it is important that we shake off all our preconceptions and focus on what is really important and wholesome about the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
In Biblical language, the heart indicates the centre of human life, the point where reason, will temperament, and sensitivity converge; where the person finds his unity and his interior orientation (Benedict XVI). 
Thus, in the heart of Jesus we find that prefect union between creation and the creator; and also between Jesus and the Father. Being devoted to the Heart of Jesus, means to focus our attention on something wondrous and unique; our humanity wholly united with God, and to contemplate the mystery of Jesus’ burning love for the world.
The Sacred Heart is very much a fruit of English piety springing forth from the ancient devotion to the wounds of Christ. It survived in this land even during the Puritan revolution. It is a devotion to the humanity of Christ which brought redemption to us all.

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