Discover more from Pope Francis Generation
The Sacred Heart loves everyone, without exception
Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Catechism says this about the Sacred Heart:
Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: "The Son of God. . . loved me and gave himself for me." He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings" without exception.
There is a lot packed into this passage, but I'd like to draw your attention to two points.
First, this feast reminds us that Jesus loves each and every one of us, without exception. He suffered and died for all of us, without exception.
Pope Francis used more explicit language to express this belief when he said, “God loves every man and woman with infinite love and thereby confers infinite dignity upon all humanity.” He went on to say, “We likewise believe that Christ shed his blood for each of us and that no one is beyond the scope of his universal love” (FT 85, emphasis mine).
Infinite and universal—these words extend beyond our imagination, yet they are used by the Church to describe the love of Jesus.
This feast of the Sacred Heart is an invitation to wrestle with this teaching. I say wrestle because as nice as “Jesus loves everyone” sounds at first, it’s no trite thing.
The woman at work who seems to go out of her way to make your day worse, Jesus loves her with infinite love. The politician who is tearing down the things you value the most, Jesus loves him with infinite love. The parent who neglected you, the pastor who abused you, the leaders who lied about you and threw you under the bus because you threatened their power…Jesus loves them with infinite love. Without exception.
The second thing I’d like to draw your attention to is that Jesus loves us with a human heart.
Jesus not only loves me with a transcendent divine love, but he loves me with a human heart, a heart like my own. A heart that aches and leaps and longs…and breaks. God gave himself a human heart that could break. And it did break. It was “pierced by our sins,” by my sins. The vulnerable human heart of Jesus is pierced every time I fail to love.
But also, the vulnerable human heart of Jesus is pierced every time my heart is pierced. Every time I’m treated unjustly. Every time I’m persecuted. Every time I’ve been hurt by others, and every time I’m vividly reminded of that hurt. Jesus’s heart breaks with mine. In Scripture, Jesus always associated himself identified himself with the most vulnerable and marginalized. His heart broke for the mistreated, wounded, and sorrowful, and it breaks for them now. Without exception.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is “the chief sign and symbol” of God’s infinite love for all people, without exception.
This year, more than past years, I have seen Catholics online pit the Sacred Heart of Jesus against Pride Month. And I wanted to speak into that briefly too.
Similar to any social or political movement (including whichever political party you align with), Pride Month encompasses both positive and negative aspects. Therefore, support or rejection of Pride Month is nuanced and varies among individuals. Not participating in Pride Month does not make one a bad Catholic, nor does attending a parade or displaying a rainbow flag.
But what is not nuanced is that God loves every single LGBTQ person with infinite love. Every single one of their sins, and every single sin against them, pierces his human heart. Without exception.
Can wielding the chief sign and symbol of God’s infinite love for all people as if it were a sword to strike down your culture war enemies be anything but blasphemy? If God loves everyone with infinite love, then no person is his enemy. And if I have been infinitely loved by God—even as my sins were piercing his heart—then what right do I have to see anyone as my enemy in the first place?
The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is not a trite feast to celebrate. It’s unimaginable good news. It’s also a call to conversion.
May my celebrations of this feast today transform my heart a little bit more so that I may be more capable of loving others, without exception.