Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart
The Church’s liturgical life, which nourishes us by simple participation, can feed us more and more, the more we are aware of what is going on. Saturdays, for example, are the special days of Our Lady – and that is lovely and fitting, as the heat of the week is over, there is a completion, and a fullness and the beginnings of rest, even as Our Lady is the summit of creation, and anticipates the Sabbath rest of Sunday. On most Fridays, the Church allows the celebration of the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart. No doubt this has its roots in the contemplation of the saving events of Our Lord’s Passion on Good Friday.
But what has the Passion to do with the heart? Why suffering? It is a curious thing, but in our fallen condition, at least, we humans are always trying to find a paradise, free from worries, free from sorrows, free from pain and suffering of all kinds. But the problem is, we are fallen beings who are always trying to create our own paradise. And even as Adam and Eve lost paradise when they went for what seemed to be a “better offer,” so we also can create our own grinning hells by shutting down our hearts.
Conversely, suffering, properly received – that is, with grace – can open the heart as nothing else, and only such a heart is open to love. Love of God, and love of others. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a heart pierced and bleeding, and yet full of love for us. We live in a heartless world, becoming more and more heartless as we move into our computerized paradise, freed of human messiness. We are tempted to become cold and heartless ourselves to survive in this frozen landscape. Let us learn to live with – and tame – those “technological monsters” by being centered in the heart of Jesus, and by finding and then uniting our own hearts with His, and so to help melt the ice age which is upon us . O Sacred Heart of Jesus – have mercy on us!