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Douglas, Alaska, United States
I have lived in Alaska since 1978, having come to Juneau as a Jesuit Volunteer. I fell in love with Alaska and now live on Douglas Island with my husband and two dogs.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today is the Feast of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

This popular Roman Catholic devotion emphasizes the love that Jesus has for us, and that he is both human and divine.  The depiction of Jesus, with his wounded heart exposed, has been displayed since the Middle Ages, but the modern form of the devotion stems from Marguerite Marie Alacoque, who claimed that she learned of it during a mystical experience in 1673, in which Jesus appeared to her and taught her about devotion to His Sacred Heart.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia: "Since the Heart of Jesus appears to us as the sensible sign of His love, the visible wound in the Heart will naturally recall the invisible wound of this love."

The artistic depictions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I remember were unfortunately very cloying and sentimental, usually showing a fair skinned Jesus with long blondish hair.  
This is the image that we had at our house.
I never practiced this devotion as a child or young adult, regardless of the presence of this image in my family home.  But upon doing more research, I have found myself increasingly drawn to it.

Here is a link to a blog by Elizabeth Scalia, the Anchoress, who has some interesting information about the devotion to the Sacred Heart : Litany to the Sacred Heart

This is the image of the Sacred Heart that she has on her blog:
Photo courtesy of shutterstock.com
This image speaks to me on a much deeper level.  I realize now that the pastel pictures and the poor iconography that I saw as a child influenced me negatively, and I let this stop me from exploring this beautiful devotion, and so many others.  But, should I have and should I continue to let "bad" art keep me from remembering that Jesus loves me, and that he loves all of humanity?  Should my snobbery keep me from devotion?  I don't think it should.

So, today, I will pray this litany, and ask Jesus to mend my heart and give me a heart like His.

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