Saturday, 26 April 2008

Proposing Jesus Christ - True Love

The Holy image of the sacred heart of Jesus has always been something that has a special place in my own heart. There is a side alter in my home parish in Scotland dedicated to the sacred heart; even when I was away from God and away from the Church, that alter was a place where I would go because I felt at home there. I remember both my sisters telling me that when my grandfather passed away, they both went to that alter, neither of them knew the other was going. It's not suprising really that they found each other in the very heart of Jesus Himself.

Before, I wasn't sure what it was that attracted me to this image. But now i realise it was because this image speaks to us; not of a pious hope, but of a fact. Jesus loves us, and love can indeed hurt.

The sacred heart also tells us something of our own sin and the cause of that sin. Look at the crown of thorns around the heart of Jesus... It's not suprising then that our parish priest decided that the confessional should be situated next to this side alter!

In a recent lecture, on the return of religion Archbishop Celli, president of the pontifical council for social communications said:

'At the heart of the Judeo-Christian faith is the belief that the "other" who is by nature infinitely distant has chosen to reveal himself to us. The God of the Old and New Testaments is a God who has revealed himself as a God of infinite love who has chosen to be near to his people. For Christians the fullness of this revelation is to be found in the person of Jesus Christ. In his words and in his actions, Jesus revealed a God of infinite and unlimited love for all human beings, a God who invites humans to discover the fullness of the own lives by reaching out to others in love and solidarity. I believe that the message of Jesus cannot fail to touch the hearts of human beings who by their very nature are in need of an assurance of being loved and who will be drawn to find meaning in their lives through service of others.'

The Archbishop is not saying anything new, but he points towards the truth that the sacred heart points to well... We need to communicate this truth today, in our time, in our lives. Yet how do we do this?

All to often we can fail to see why God would want us to suffer... God doesn't want us to suffer, but love by it's nature means sacrifice and sacrifice is never easy. Sometimes we have to give up we want. 'There is no greater love than this; than to lay down one's lives, for one's friends'. John 15:13. If we want to propose Jesus Christ to the world, we must first of all give our lives to God, and that involves laying down all our hopes, dreams, plans, ambitions and letting God take the driving seat.

'Take Lord, receive all my memories, my energy, my will and understanding; give me only your love and your grace, that's enough for me" was the prayer of St. Ingatius. It's a brave prayer to pray. Be sure you are ready to pray it before you do, after all - prayer is not simply a collection of nice words, it's a cry to God.

It's in doing God's will and bearing witness (always in Love) to our faith and the hope that promises, which will enable us to propose Jesus to the world. Each of us has a responsibility in doing this, the question is will we do it?

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