Today is the feast of the Sacred Heart. It is one of those moveable feasts that depends on the date of Easter. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be clearly traced back at least to the eleventh century. It marked the spirituality of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in the twelfth century and of Saint Bonaventure in the thirteenth.
The reading for today’s Office of Readings is taken from St Bonaventure. He writes
“It was a divine decree that permitted one of the soldiers to open 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.”
In these few words we have summed up the whole theology of the doctrine of the Sacred Heart. Leaving the theology behind, what does this feast mean for us on a day to day basis.
It gives us contact with God, close contact with the very heart that lies at the centre of the Trinity. It is an incredible thought that through Jesus we have access to the deepest heart of God: and it is a heart that is human, that lived our fears and loves and felt every emotion that we have ever experienced.
What a wonderful, secure and loving God, a God who can let us get so close to him.