Since Jesus is fully divine, we can say he is God. Since Jesus has a human heart, we can clearly say God has a human heart. God, therefore, is not a distant abstract lover but loved us with a human heart. This means he knew what he was asking from his disciples when he gave them a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.
The key to understanding this new command is the qualifier, “as I have loved you.” How did he love us? With the compassion in his sacred heart, he healed the sick, forgave sinners, raised the dead, fed the hungry, preached about the kingdom, and cast out demons. However, the definitive display of the love in his sacred heart is that he died for us.
When scientists were studying the Sacred Shroud, one of the things they scrutinized was the blood and water that marked the linen. They wanted to find out what the water was that flowed out from the side of Christ. After a careful study, Dr. Pierre Barbet concluded that the blood and water came from the pericardial sac that surrounds the heart. The Shroud shows marks of a wound on the chest of Christ were the lance would have passed through the ribs and punctured the pericardial sac. He explains that if the heart ruptures, blood seeps into the pericardial sac. When it sits there, the red cells separate from the serum that then begins to look like water. Modern doctors agree with this. What is interesting is in these findings is that Christ died of a ruptured heart. It is through a literal “broken heart” that Jesus gave us his life so that we may live.
For Catholics, the Church is the perpetuation of Christ’s presence on earth for it is through the Church we encounter Christ in the sacraments when he forgives sins in baptism and confession, when he feeds us in the Eucharist, when he cures in the anointing of the sick, etc. Since the Church is the mystical body of Christ, we are the different cells that make up its tissues and organs.
It would be nice to think that we can also be the heart of Christ’s mystical body – his mystical heart made of humans (a human heart). Let us, all of us, especially those who have a devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus, configure our hearts to his so that we learn to love like him. That way when others meet us along the streets, the corridors of our office, or at home, they get to encounter the love of the “sacred heart” of Christ through us.
Learn more about Mary in the book A Sky Full of Stars, where each title of the Litany is explained to understand Mary. Readers in the Philippines may get the paperback version here. Those in the USA can get the Kindle or paperback version here. Those in other countries can check the closest country where it is available here.
Joby finished Theology courses from the University of Notre Dame. He is a contributing writer at www.catholic365.com, and teaches in the De La Salle College of St. Benilde where he engages students in conversations about religion, pop-culture, and food.
Did you ever wonder how Mary is the Help of Christians or a Vessel of Honor?
Mary's titles express how the Church presents her, but some are obscured by language and culture. The book A Sky Full of Stars, explains all her titles in the litany so we get to meet Mary face to face.
Bishop Socrates Villegas says, "A Sky Full of Stars must be an obligatory reference material for religion teachers and seminarians. It helps the reader to see the Virgin Mary within the perspective of sound biblical theology and solid Catholic tradition... [and is] also easy to understand."