Devotion to the Sacred Heart (3)


We continue to delve into the devotion to the Sacred Heart.  In writing this section, I am motivated by one goal:  to revitalize our family heritage and live our spiritual devotion to the Heart of Christ in terms of spirituality.  In fact, this devotion can and must incorporate within our apostolic spirituality an element that, if possible, makes more human the only path by which we can access the experience of God:  the person of Jesus Christ.  This element is the heart.

Heart is a primordial word, a source word: proto-word.  It’s one of those striking words that lead us to the depths of the personal (and divine) mystery.  The heart stores the deepest secrets of the person, says everything about the person:  it reveals our personality.  Father Coindre affirms, “it is the heart that makes the man”.  Therefore, “if today we want to speak of the Heart of Christ, we must paradoxically give primary importance to the heart of man.  It is still necessary to introduce the notion of heart in the theological and pastoral field” (Maurice Gaidon).

Let us review the expressions we associate with the word heart and which, normally, are preceded by a preposition: with all my heart, from the bottom of my heart, to heart, half-hearted, by heart…. This way of speaking reveals to us that the heart is the crystal through which we look at life.

So, if spirituality is also a way of looking at the world – transformed by the Spirit – the spirituality of the Sacred Heart would be a way of seeing everything from the Heart of Christ and living in consonance with it.  Here is the key:  “from” where we live, think, decide and act. This “from where” is more decisive than the “why”, the “how” or the “to do what”.  Because it is the source of life, it comes first.

It is only when we look at reality “from” the Heart of Christ that we can give form and pedagogical and pastoral content to those expressions with which we identify so strongly and we can thereby overcome the ambiguity of the upper-case or lower-case “h”:

  • “To educate from the heart” (which is at the same time our mission): to educate starting from this absolute reference point that is for us the person of Jesus. “To educate the person according to the Heart of Christ” (John Paul II, audience with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart).
  • “To put heart into all that we do”: put the love of God in people’s lives. A love that is liberating, healing, humanizing … a love that Jesus brought into being by his presence.
  • “To love his brother with all his heart”: to love in the manner of Jesus, without conditions or requirements, freely, without expecting anything in return. To love “just because”.
  • “To be men and women of heart”: people who act from basic kindness, who search for truth and spread beauty through their way of life. Kindness, truth, and beauty that attain their greatest representative in the person of Jesus.
  • “Brothers of the Sacred Heart”: a name that expresses belonging and identity. The Brother belongs to Christ, to no one else.  To be “of the Sacred Heart” is to affirm, with complete clarity, to whom I do not belong, because Jesus is gentle and humble.

Conclusion : to live from the heart, that is, to educate, work, evangelize, live together, speak, act, pray, suffer, wait, think, rest, play … from the heart of Christ, is the best means to live spiritually our devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Let’s teach our students to live like this:  to make everything pass through the heart (after, before, or even at the same time that we make it pass through our head); to live from deep within, from interiority, from the layers least damaged by sin.  Teach them to see with the heart, as Benedict XVI taught us, “a heart that sees where there are needs and acts accordingly”.

“From our heart”:  here is a good synthesis of our spirituality.

Provided it is a heart transformed by grace, which is nourished on the holy reading of the Word, the Eucharist, and Reconciliation, fraternal and sincere relationships, compassion as the fundamental attitude of life, of the daily effort to become salt and light, etc. That is to say, a heart like that of Christ.

Jesus, gentle and humble, make our heart like your own!

Brother Carlos Almaraz

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