The Sacred Heart in Scripture and Strawberries
June is the month devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Catholic Church. You may ask, what is meant by the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Well, the Sacred Heart is Jesus. And devotion to the Sacred Heart is a devotion to the love of Jesus, devoting oneself to loving Him entirely. The heart is a symbol of love, of course, but also an ancient symbol for the core of one’s being, the sacred abode in which God dwells with the person… and more. I wrote more about the heart HERE, HERE, and HERE. For an article on the more scholarly particulars of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, please click HERE.
What does any of this have to do with strawberries? The answer to that is at the end, after a bit of reflective exploration…
Why Does Anything Exist?
In my own particular understanding, which is in keeping with the theological definitions, I often think of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the Sacred Heart of Reality.
As we read in the first chapter of Genesis, God spoke His Word and all of life, all of created reality came into existence. God did not create the universe to be a personless cacophony of gaseous spheres solidifying and fleshy organisms evolving. No. God created the universe and brought all life into being for Love. And love is not personless. Love is personal.
Creation is divinely created and loved by God, who looks upon it and sees that it is good. And human beings are divinely created and loved by God, created with spiritual souls – as persons – to receive God’s love and to love God, as well as to love Creation and one another as fellow creatures in the image of God. The giving and receiving of love, then, is the purpose and therefore joy of Creation… it is the light that the darkness cannot overcome….
Jesus is fully human and fully divine, with divine nature and human nature. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, then, is where divine love and human love abide in perfect giving and receiving, in intimate unity, beating as one. This is the fulfillment of life, the hope of the universe, the heart of reality. In the presence of Jesus, even the stones rejoice!
What Is Truth? Who Is Truth…
In the Bible, we read of Christ as the Divine Word Incarnate, through whom all things were made. The order of reality is the truth of reality – and Christ is Truth Incarnate. Sublimely, we see Christ as the living heart of reality:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
St. Paul speaks of the divine nature of Christ as he says, “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily”. The Apostle to the Gentiles also shows us Christ as the heart, the reason, the meaning, of reality – “all things were created through him and for him”. He is the firstborn of all creation and also the firstborn of the dead. For, as Christ is the Word of God, through whom all things were made, he is also the saving word of redemption, through whom all are reconciled. Love Incarnate. He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Christ in All
We can easily imagine Jesus the man, flesh and blood, with a mom, friends, and a mission from God. We love this good man, this gentle, compassionate, and wise man, and we are truly grateful for for his sacrifice for us and amazed by his resurrection. But… How often do we think of him as a Divine Person?
If we believe in the Holy Trinity, then we know (if not fully understand) that Jesus is the Second Divine Person, truly God, God the Son, who became man. He is the Divine Word, the Word of God by which all of Creation came into being.
Let us try, then, to imagine our beloved Jesus speaking to us in these lines of Sacred Scripture:
“The LORD begot me, the beginning of his works,
the forerunner of his deeds of long ago;
From of old I was formed,
at the first, before the earth.
When there were no deeps I was brought forth,
when there were no fountains or springs of water;
Before the mountains were settled into place,
before the hills, I was brought forth;
When the earth and the fields were not yet made,
nor the first clods of the world.
When he established the heavens, there was I,
when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
When he made firm the skies above,
when he fixed fast the springs of the deep;
When he set for the sea its limit,
so that the waters should not transgress his command;
When he fixed the foundations of earth,
then was I beside him as artisan;
I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,
Playing over the whole of his earth,
having my delight with human beings.
This passage is an ancient Hebrew account of Wisdom personified. How beautifully and truly we see in it Jesus, the Word of God made flesh to dwell with us, speaking with profound love and joy. He is the Divine artisan whose delight is with human beings. This is Divine Wisdom, Divine Love… this love, this joy, this living heart of the universe – Truth, Life, Way – this is Jesus Christ, the Lord.
How Do I Live with the Sacred Heart?
(Now, back to the strawberries…)
In the lovely month of June, when I bite into a freshly picked strawberry warm with the sun, I will think of Jesus being there at its creation. This sweet red jewel of a fruit was loved into being through Christ… for me… for me to love it, too. In the shared union of our loving this berry, we meet each other… and we are one…
It is the same with every fellow human creature that I encounter, each person loved into being through Christ and precious to him. When I hold that person, like you, my dear reader, as precious, too, whether or not you return my love, I am meeting Jesus in my loving of you. Because he is loving you, too….
When human love meets divine love, there is the Sacred Heart.
And I will hold all of these things in my heart, beating within the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
© 2016 Christina Chase
Photo sources: fun4gatorkids.com/Blog
 Luke 19:40
 John 1:1-5; 14
 Colossians 2:8
 click to see the whole text – Colossians 1:15-20
 Revelation 22:13
 Proverbs 8:22-31
Christina Chase View All
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.
What a pleasant and enlightening surprise, Christina! I was led here after looking at your selection of images of “The Sacred Heart,” ( which, I may have told you before, has been a difficult concept for me to think about, mainly because the heart images often left me with a creepy feeling– my problem, of course, not the concept’s, or even the images’). So at the end of that recent post, as my eye drifted down to the right, I noticed the bright strawberry. Now that got my attention. And here I am wondering why no one in my range of teachers has ever been able to talk so simply yet elaborately about this topic. Probably I have never been ready to listen. Or it took meeting you and spending time reading your posts in order for me to trust that you were speaking from your quite well informed, open-minded, faith-filled, ab6d very human heart. So now I’m bookmarking this post as one to come back to for nourishment, or maybe just for anow uplifting treat. I’m so glad I looked down to the right and saw that strawberry!
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I’m glad you did, too! You made me read this reflection again… It’s funny, and kind of sad, how we can forget things that we once saw so clearly. I’ll be returning now to meeting Jesus in every beloved person and thing, thus dwelling in the Sacred Heart. Thank you!
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I loved reading this. I’ve always loved the fact that Jesus is the Word incarnated and that through him the universe was spoken to being. Remarkable. I used to have a different blog where I would share all my thoughts on God. I like to think that God made man with the intent of bringing him into the love that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit enjoy eternally. God is love and therefore he has to love before he created anything to love. So how is God love? There is love within the trinity and thus love is eternal. Isn’t that beautiful. I’m struggling with my faith now but I still love Jesus. I want to love Him. Before all this, I used to run a small blog where I would discuss the questions I had and what I thought the answers are. If you want to read the theological musing of my teenage self you can go here https://amorningcoffeewithjesus.wordpress.com/
It’s Sunday where I live and I hope you have a blessed day wherever you are.
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I may very well peruse the blog of your teenage self. The understanding that God is love is endlessly rich, one that I explored throughout my book. (There I go again! 🙂 ) An edited and elaborated version of this reflection is the concluding chapter of It’s Good to Be Here.
peace and blessings