Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The heart is the symbol of love. The Heart of Jesus beats with love. St. John the Evangelist tells us that "God is love." The Heart of Jesus loves each of us more than we love ourselves. The Lord told the prophet Jeremiah, "Before you were formed in the womb, I knew you." He says the same to you and me: Before I was even thought of by my parents, God knew me. He has a loving plan for me. He has a loving plan for you too.
Because God's plans are not always so clear to us, we can get side tracked into bad habits, distractions, addictions, entertainments and a host of other time wasters. These distractions cloud our spiritual vision and make us forget that we were made to love God and our neighbor.
I remember giving a pulpit talk in a New England parish. I looked at the faces of the congregation. Folks were serious, even somber. When I recounted for the people an incident with a kindergarten child, finally smiles and even laughter rose up. The gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus said there will be "joy" in heaven over one sinner that repents.The shepherd who found the lost sheep called in friends and neighbors to "rejoice" with him on the return of his lost one. The shepherd put the lost sheep around his shoulders and carried him home. He did not stop to scold the runaway. Rather he carried him and made it easier for him to return to his home. When some one we know slips up, makes a mistake that may embarrass himself or herself, how do I react? Do I rejoice to see an apology, a sincere act of humble repentance? Or, do I say, "Here we go again. So-and-So will never get his act together".
The Heart of Jesus can grace a person with conversion from bad habits to virtue, from stinginess to generosity, from selfishness to self sacrifice. If we want to see these transformations in those around us, the best way to effect change is to model it ourselves. Psychologists and counselors will tell you and me that the only person you can change is yourself. I add to that advice: the only person I can change is myself with the grace of God! The Heart of Jesus is waiting to pour his love and graces on each of us. Let us ask him each day: "Jesus humble and gentle of heart, make my heart like unto yours."
By the way, I have not blogged in a while. This past Sunday I was in Ohio for the wake and then the funeral of my sister Coletta. My plane was to leave Washington Reagan National Airport at 6:00 AM. Instead a phone call at 2:30 AM jolted me awake to inform me that the 6:00 AM plane would leave at 11:00. If I wanted to leave earlier I would have to go tot he Baltimore airport. After going online to get directions to the Baltimore Airport, I went back to bed after 3:00 and got up at 4:00. My new flight took me to Chicago Midway Airport for a transfer flight. I saw a sign for Chapel. I me one of the Catholic priest chaplains. I found that the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in that ecumenical worship space.The Catholic Mass would be held later, but I needed to board my plane.before that. Father gave instructions for his assistant to give me Holy Communion after the Protestant service. The minister prayed for the intentions of those who wanted to have prayers offered for them. I asked for prayers for my deceased sister and for the consolation of her family. In addition I asked the group to pray for the seven young women who were making a discernment weekend with our Sisters in Chicago. I looked at my watch and realized that I was in the chapel at the same time as the world wide Eucharistic adoration was taking place. Sunday was the Feast of Corpus Christi--the day we celebrate the gift of the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. "I am with you all days, even unto the end of the world" Jesus assured us. In the Eucharist Jesus is truly with us to protect, sustain and nourish us.
Tomorrow I will attend the ordination of seven young men to the Catholic priesthood. I hope to tell you more about that later. Tomowwow is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.Have a blessed night and a peaceful day tomorrow!