An Image of the Sacred Heart
“The world will be saved by beauty,” we hear. These words consoled Dorothy Day, which tell us a great deal about the needs of the human spirit. In her houses of hospitality in New York City during the Great Depression and beyond, she witnessed the ugliness of poverty and addiction on a daily basis. She knew what it meant to long for and to be filled by beauty.
Now close your eyes for a moment and imagine a quiet chapel with stained glass windows and statues that mark the pathway for the Stations of the Cross. Think of Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or your grandmother’s simple Crèche. Our Church has a vast collection of inspired artists with deep theological imagination and I thank God for it.
One of the things I love best about the Catholic Church is the incredible array of depictions we are offered by faithful artists. Their rendering of concepts, events, and people from Scripture and Tradition help to us to wrap our minds around the essence of the Faith we claim; because, truthfully, it can be really difficult.
The Sacred Heart is one such image we have to call upon, which at the same time, can be difficult to visualize or understand. Not surprisingly, there are a variety of such depictions of the Sacred Heart. Some are realistic, pierced, and bloody; others are radiant with a consuming light, encircled with the Crown of Thorns, and a flame to remind us of the Passion and Jesus’ never-ending love with which His Heart burns.
In the same way we can practice lectio divina, or sacred reading, there is an equally fruitful (though less common) prayerful counterpart known as visio divina, sacred seeing. We, the viewer, allow an artistic rendering to inspire the words of our prayer.
The image I chose for today’s reflection is a mosaic of a radiant, warm, illuminating light that reminded me of the Sacred Heart I imagine St. Gertrude addressed her prayer. I can almost imagine it as the spark that would “set the world on fire.”Click To Tweet
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Let Us Pray
Creator God, You are the source of the beauty we seek. Thank You for inspiring artists, that the work of their hands would remind us of You and call us to a posture of praise. Bless our efforts to do the same in the vocation we have been given. We ask this through the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.
What image of the Sacred Heart do you find most meaningful? Why?
Once you find a meaningful image, try praying with it for inspiration in your own prayer today. What new insight did you gain?In His Heart: The 2020 Prayer Pledge // Day 28 #BISblog #prayerpledge // Click To Tweet
Katie Cassady is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She is a wife and mom to two little girls in Denver, CO. Steeped in theological reflection, beekeeping and motherhood, she is appreciative of any and all wisdom she can glean from those living intentional lives of faith. Find out more about her here.