In His Heart: The 2020 Prayer Pledge // Day 29

The Church Contemplates God’s Heart

In the Sacred Heart the believer encounters the symbol and the living image of the infinite love of Christ, which in itself spurs us to love one another… -Letter of John Paul II on the 100th Anniversay of Consecration of the Human Race to the Divine Heart of Jesus


There are two striking touch points that Pope St. John Paul II includes in this excerpt which I find comforting: encounter and the heart. Pope Francis has been describing a “culture of encounter” since the beginning of his papacy in 2013—the idea that we are changed by engaging our Faith in the world and the people in it. He says, “Whenever we encounter another person in love, we discover something new about God.”

We know this to be true in our own experience, whether we can relate to these discoveries in terms of our best friends, or those whose opinions and perspectives challenge us most deeply.

If we’re lucky, these attributes can be true of the same people.

So encountering the Sacred Heart—to experience Jesus’ divine love—should leave us changed. And how can it not? We recognize in the Sacred Heart the love of God in the familiar form of a beating, burning, life-giving Heart that has not only loved us into existence but sacrificed everything that we might never know separation from that nourishing Love.

Hands to heart, we physically identify our chest as the source from which our own love is derived. Logically it doesn’t quite add up, but there are no other words, no better geography to capture this landscape.

This, I think, is the core of what Pope St. John Paul II is saying. Neither physically nor faithfully can we separate life of any kind from the place that sustains us—the heart. The two are inextricably linked. In a beautiful way, the depictions of and devotion to the Sacred Heart point us toward the greater reality of the love of Jesus. It is a love that burns for us, suffers for us, and sustains us. And we can never be the same.

Encountering the Sacred Heart—to experience Jesus’ divine love—should leave us changed. #BISblog #prayerpledge // Click To Tweet

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Let Us Pray

Gracious God, in the beating of Your most Sacred Heart, we come to desire a love that permeates our daily lives—extending to the very periphery. Show us the way of encountering You in the other, that we might come to know You better. We ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.

For Discussion

Describe an encounter you’ve had that has shown you, in the words of Pope Francis, “something new about God.”

What is one area where you have felt “spurred to love” recently? What might that look like?

In His Heart: The 2020 Prayer Pledge // Day 29 #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.

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