THE SACRED HEART: OUR NOURISHMENT, OUR COMPANION AND OUR FRIEND

The command, “Love the Lord with all your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:4), has been an obligation which has expressed the totality of the person’s response to the love of our God who gives all. The symbolic expression for this in the Church has been in the devotions focused on the Sacred Heart – to which Eugene and the Oblates were very much attached.

The Oblate church in Aix was dedicated to the Sacred Heart and in 1818 the Diocese entrusted the organization of the annual procession through the streets of Aix on the feast or the Sacred Heart to the Oblates.

I understand, dear friend, that with all the worry of the affair which we have just been speaking of, you have not had time to give me details of our beautiful feast of the Sacred Heart. On that day, I was with you in spirit and twenty times, I would even say a hundred times, I united myself in prayer with you…

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 24 June 1825 EO VI n 187

 Eugene himself had written a pamphlet for this procession. In it he linked devotion to the Sacred Heart with the gift of God’s oblation in the Eucharist:

All of us gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus, with the intention to honor and worship the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, inflamed with love for our souls. We come to express our gratitude to him, especially because after he shed his precious blood for all people in His Passion and Death, he wanted to stay with us until the end of time in the Blessed Sacrament and become the nourishment for our life, our companion, our friend.

« Exercice a l’honneur du Sacré-Cœur qui se fait par les agrégés tous les premiers vendredis de chaque mois dans l’Église du Sacré-Cœur, dite de la Mission, à Aix »

 

During the procession focused on God’s compassion for the world, and the participants were invited to make an act of consecration to imitate the love of the Sacred Heart. Thus the aim of the procession was a deeper conversion to the love of God and to treating others with the same love.

 

“The human heart, at whatever age, opens only to the heart that opens in return.” Maria Edgeworth

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One Response to THE SACRED HEART: OUR NOURISHMENT, OUR COMPANION AND OUR FRIEND

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    When I began this morning I chastised myself for not having a devotion to the Sacred Heart, you know one where I might wear a special medal or scapular, one that might include a public celebration or procession. I had to look up the date of the feast which took place in June. How could I call myself a good Catholic, or say that I love God when I don’t even know and celebrate such a great and solemn feast day? But then I thought of all the times throughout the year that I go sit before the statue of the Sacred Heart (or simply before and with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament) and allow myself to move through that image into the very heart of Jesus. I ask God to take my heart, empty it and then fill it with God’s own self. Not something nice and sweet but something profound and real that beats and gives life through my very being. I sit and reflect on this awesome heart of my Savior and what it calls, what it invokes in me. This prayer, this devotion is but another gift from God.

    My inner smile feels quietly shy this morning. I have learned something new about St. Eugene and realised something new about myself. Frank has written “During the procession focused on God’s compassion for the world, …. the aim of the procession was a deeper conversion to the love of God and to treating others with the same love.” God is before us in the most wondrous ways, be it with a procession outside of church, or simply sitting with us before the image of Jesus, his heart. I do have a devotion. I understand intimately somehow the what is written “The Sacred Heart: our nourishment, our companion, our friend”. And once again I move to start my day filled with gratitude for the many ways that God fills me and connects me with others.

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