Dear Parishioner and Friend of Our Lady of Peace in Fords,
Each beat of the human heart keeps us alive, pumping blood through our bodies, powering our organs. Without it, we simply could not do anything. That is the physical heart. There is also the symbolic heart, the one that is connected to the idea of love. This heart is the center of our moral and emotional being. It guides us through our days, our relationships, our lives. But what of the Sacred Heart? The Feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on June 19, and is dedicated to the memory of Christ’s compassion, love, and suffering.
God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten son. Born of the Virgin Mary, the latter of Jesus’ 33 years were marked with miracles, parables, and sacrifice. These actions required both His physical and symbolic heart. His heart represents and recalls His infinite love for us. While His heart is flesh, His heart is also divine – the heart of God. Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God’s infinite love for us, beyond what any human might have. The heart of Jesus never ceases to love us from heaven.
Jesus showed how much He loved us by dying for us, taking all of our sins with Him. He was stripped, tortured, and crucified to the sounds of cheers. His mother wept while He suffered.
The Sacred Heart is a reminder of that suffering. The Heart is shown as wounded and bleeding. It is pierced in the side, as Jesus was stabbed on the cross. The Heart also has a crown of thorns, reminiscent of the crown Jesus wore while bring crucified. It is radiating light, ablaze in fire with a cross above, reminding us of the transformative power of God’s love – a love that lives on in each of our own hearts.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart has a long history and has grown in popularity over the centuries. We are called by our Catholic Faith make reparations for the indifference and ingratitude with which he is treated and for leaving him abandoned by so many.
Why it is important to still honor the Sacred Heart today, Pope Francis says, “We only have to look at the violence that takes place in the world today, be it terrorism or in the political sphere. We must always pray for His peace, as we will never do it alone. The Sacred Heart is our reminder.” Suffering is everywhere, for many around the world in comes with the Covid-19 emergency, and it is through prayer that we find peace.
A popular prayer to the Sacred Heart is, “O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee.” This short, simple prayer requires total devotion. In return for this devotion, Jesus promises grace, peace, consolation, refuge, and more. He promises that sinners shall find an “infinite ocean of mercy” and that His priests will have the power to “touch the most hardened hearts.” These blessings further show the breadth of Jesus’ love for us, and how it has never diminished over time. He gave us His life and His heart. If we listen, we can hear it beating.
As I conclude, I know that we are all praying that we may "reopen" our churches soon. When that answer comes it will be posted on our website, along with all the details that will accompany our return to in-church Masses and Sacraments.
May the Lord keep you well. May you be good to each other. You are always in my Masses and prayers.
Faithfully in the Lord,
Rev. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.