Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has probably inspired more tacky ‘repository art’ than any other devotion in the history of the Church. It is easy to sniff at all those horribly graphic light-emitting hearts emerging from the breasts of impossibly aryan Christ figurines. Easy, but wrong. I confess that even after I discovered that devotion to the Sacred Heart goes back a long way before St Gertrude, St Margaret Mary Aloquoque and the rest, I found the feast too saccharine for my taste. It took me a while to realise that the feast is actually anything but sugary. The clue is in the fact that it always occurs on a Friday. It is the supreme devotional feast of the Passion, as Corpus Christi is the supreme devotional feast of the Eucharist. Unlike Corpus Christi, however, it has never had a Thomas Aquinas to compose its Office and has therefore suffered from sometimes embarassing hymns and other literary infelicities. All these are secondary. What we celebrate today is the overwhelming, sacrificial love of God made man in Jesus Christ. That thought alone should bring us to our knees. It should fill us with joy and wonder and make us want to share that love with everyone else. Today is not only the supreme feast of the Passion, it is also a feast of discipleship, of the sacrificial love we too are called to show in our lives.
However busy we may be today, let’s try to find a moment or two when we can reflect on God’s tremendous love, give thanks, and ask him to show us how to follow in the footsteps of his Son.