"Cor Iesu" by Jelena Vasilj - Eco di Maria n. 164
In 1956, on the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (instituted by Pius IX), Pope Pius XII wrote a marvellous encyclical on Devotion to the Sacred Heart. Its Latin title is Haurietis aquas. The title itself has its origin in the prophet Isaiah’s book, where he prophesied that Jesus’ Heart would become a fount of love: "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Is 12:3).
The prophet uses highly significant imagery. The water he talks of is symbolic for the Holy Spirit, or Christ’s love within the Trinity. At the same time, this Charity (Love) is poured out onto mankind. In other words, God’s Holy Spirit is given as a gift to the Church. St. Paul says: "God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rm 5:5). Therefore, given the twofold nature of Christ, his love is both human and divine, and it is also the pivot of the feast of the Sacred Heart.
The Encyclical stresses that divine love is real love, and that it has always accompanied the history of that people within whom God wrote His laws. It was with this people that God established numerous covenants of love, even if this same people quite often broke them with their infidelity. Nonetheless, the people would only need to repent, and God would renew His covenant with them in an even stronger bond of love which is made clear by the prophet Hosea: "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. I taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love... I will heal their faithlessness; I will love them freely. I will be as the dew to Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, he shall strike root as the poplar" (Hos 11:1, 3-4; 14:5-6).
The highest expression of divine love is the amorous incarnation and passion of the Son of God by which it also becomes perfectly human - that is to say, it is endowed with every human sentiment. This way, the Heart of Jesus becomes the highest example of love and consolation towards men. St. Augustine says on the matter: "These affections of human infirmity, even as the human body itself and death, the Lord Jesus put on not out of necessity, but freely out of compassion so that He might transform in Himself His Body, which is the Church of which He deigned to be the Head. So that if any of His members who
are among the faithful and the saints, should be saddened and afflicted they should not think that they are deprived of His grace. Nor should they consider this sorrow a sin, but a sign of human weakness."This tender love culminates in the Cross where Jesus’ Heart is pierced by a sword and thus becomes the greatest example of His invisible wound of love. The Pope speaks of another aspect of love "with which Christ loves the Father and humanity, and is the symbol of that burning love which, infused into His soul, enriches the human will of Christ and enlightens and governs its acts by the most perfect knowledge derived both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused" (cf. Col 2:3). Jesus’ Heart is for us a fount of all knowledge, the mystical stairway which takes us to God’s embrace so richly endowed with His greatest gifts: Himself in the Sacrament of the
Eucharist, His Passion and Death, His most holy Mother, the office of the priesthood, the institution of the Church, and the mission of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the faithful.
Says the Pope, "Likewise we ought to meditate most lovingly on the beating of His Sacred Heart by which He seemed, as it were, to measure the time of His sojourn on earth until that final moment when He said, ‘It is finished.’ Then it was that His heart ceased to beat and His sensible love was interrupted until the time when, triumphing over death, He rose from the tomb. But after His glorified body had been reunited to the soul of the divine Redeemer, conqueror of death, His most Sacred Heart never ceased, and never will cease, to beat with calm and imperturbable pulsations. Likewise, it will never cease to symbolize the threefold love with which He is bound to His heavenly Father and the entire human race, of which He has every claim to be the mystical Head." (60-61)
Let’s entrust ourselves, then, to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. From the time when He was in Mary’s womb, Jesus’ Heart and Hers beat as one. May ours, too, beat in tune with Theirs in the eternal inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and our love be united to Jesus’ Love within the Holy Trinity. (J.V.)