A contemplative community in formation of the Institute of Saint Joseph
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee!
Homily for the External Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 13 June 2010
Our texts from this Sacred Liturgy, the External Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, point toward a wonderful mystery: God has so loved us, has made Himself so vulnerable, so approachable, so absolutely weakened by physical, psychological and mental sufferings that no sinner could ever feel that the God who created him, loved him from all eternity, shed His very Blood for him, suffered untold agonies in the Garden of Gethsemane, was scourged without mercy at the pillar, tried before men who closed their hearts to the the Truth, was given a heavy Cross-beam, was humiliated before the crowd, affixed to the Cross in a most horrible manner, suffered for three hours, forgave His enemies and entrusted Himself to His Eternal Father before He breathed His last; this is Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, Whose Sacred Heart bore all of these burdens for our sake, Who was wounded, and at His death, His Sacred Heart was pierced, from which blood and water flowed. The source of all Sacramental life; the water of Baptism; the Blood of the Holy Eucharist which came forth from the Sacred Body of the God-Man Who loved each one of us unto death, the complete spending of Himself in obedience, the complete blood=letting of His Precious Blood.
We stand before this most sublime mystery today in our celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Holy Mother Church allows us to celebrate in an External Form on this Sunday closest to the actual Feast. The Patron of this church, of this “Oratory of Cor Jesu”, which, God willing, will soon have the daily praises of the Divine Office sung here; the daily offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; the daily Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; the daily reparation requested by our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque, in her French convent, some four hundred years ago. It is no mistake that our small, humble, hidden monastic community was given this place dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Archbishop Raymond Burke entrusted us with the work of writing an icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that he blessed and then consecrated our Diocese in 1999 to the Sacred Heart. We have gone through many years of discernment and search of where our “permanent home” would one day be; the Lord knew the answer; He gave us this most historical religious site, dedicated to His Sacred Heart. The church bell that rings out the announcement of the Holy Mass each Sunday is dedicated to Saint Joseph, under the inspiration of Fr. Goldsmith, the great missionary of this area. And it was consecrated on June 11th, the birthday of our co=founder, Rev. William Felix, one hundred years before we took possession of this holy ground. The Lord, in His Providence, makes no mistakes; He knows and provides for everything. Praised be His Holy Name!
Pope Benedict, in his homily for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday of this last week, in the closing Mass for the “Year for the Priest” spoke most eloquently of the “Good Shepherd,” Jesus Who loves and cares for his sheep, His people. The past years have been filled with the news of how bishops and priests have not loved their flock as “Good Shepherds”, have, in fact, abused their authority and responsibility toward the innocent, the vulnerable, the dependant; this is a grave sin and a horrid violation of the true vocation of the “Good Shepherd”, one who is to imitate Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Guardian of Souls. The violation of even one of the innocent is a sin that cries to God for vengeance; it is a horrible violation of the trust that a representative of Jesus Christ, a bishop or priest, must be always careful to observe. I want to make public reparation, apology, and ask forgiveness from any of you, here present, who have been treated in any way that is abusive or somehow outside the proper treatment that a “Good Shepherd” should treat His flock. It is a horrible crime for the innocent to be violated in any way by the very one who should be leading them to God. It is not always sexual abuse that is the case, here; many times, the abusive and atrocious behaviour of God’s representatives manifests itself in the insensitive, uncharitable, and dismissive acts and attitudes of bishops and priests, who should, above all, be very sensitive and attentive to the needs of the faithful.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a pierced Heart; it is a Heart that is full of mercy, kindness, forgiveness, understanding, compassion, love. Pierced by a lance. From which blood and water flowed. A Heart so vulnerable, so impassioned, so full “of fire”…how can we ever begin to understand the Divine Compassion?
In the revelations to Saint Margaret Mary, Jesus made a definite reference to a very important point: He was deeply offended by the lack of love of His chosen ones; He felt the deep sadness and neglect of those who should be His dearest friends. In other words, Jesus came to us, in these revelations, as a beggar. He so wants our love, our adoration, our reparation, our time, our attention…He is like a neglected friend who calls, leaves messages, tell us that He wants us to “call back”…He wants us to spend time with Him, He wants us to avail ourselves of the graces that He wants to give us…He wants to be our constant friend and companion.
For me, this is most poignant and important. Jesus begs to be MY friend; my friend. He is the God of all; the Second Person of the Trinity; the Lord and Beginning and End of all; and He begs to be MY friend? How is this possible? How is this even imaginable?
When we say the Creed, we bow or genuflect at the words “Et incarnatus est”—the Word became Flesh…He is one of us! He unites Himself to us! Always and forever more! His Sacred Heart, beating within the womb of the Virgin Mother, knows me, He loves me, He has thought of me from time immemorial! How can I not accept His Love?
The true devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is based in the biblical revelation that “God so loved us, that He sent His Son”…He sent His Son! Born of the Virgin Mother; Who lived thirty years at Nazareth under the obedience of a Son to His Mother and Guardian, St. Joseph. This is most relevant to us today; the Christian family, who is under constant attack, must be rooted in the home of Nazareth: the love of the Son for His Mother and Guardian, St. Joseph. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the love for the family, both the Christian family of mother, father and children, the family of the religious community who is consecrated to the Holy Family in the Holy Trinity and makes present the “Kingdom of God” and the men and women who are consecrated to the Lord in various ways, celibate for the Kingdom of God. The reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is manifest in those who give everything to God in their particular circumstances; who live only for Him, through Him, in Him by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and their commitment to living His Law according to their particular state in life.
This is the charism of our Institute of Saint Joseph. We endeavour to promote and sustain the “universal call to holiness” that the Church has consistently taught and which is made manifest in “Lumen gentium”…the call to holiness of all the members of the Body of Christ, His Church. This is what this Oratory and future priory of monastics is all about: “to make God present to the world, and the world present to God” through the daily celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, the daily celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Adoration of the Lord in the most Blessed Sacrament, and the oblation of love, sacrifice and commitment to the norms of Christian life.
This place is meant to be a “Temple of the Lord”. We need your prayers, your financial help, your gifts and assistance. This is not meant to be a place only for ourselves. It is meant to be a holy place, a place “set apart” for the exclusive praise of God, for daily Sacrifice, reparation and love.
It is meant to be a place where the “Heart of Jesus” is loved above all. Where He is put first. Where He matters the most. We are most grateful for all that you do to assist us in this aim; we are in most need of your continued help. Jesus is not loved in most places; His Heart is wounded, beyond measure, in many places, especially where the innocent and vulnerable are abused or neglected. We attempt to make reparation for this and want to be a “sign of hope”. Will you assist us? Can you help us?
“Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you.” Amen.