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The Heart of The Matter
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" — Luke 2:34-35.
Last time, we talked about the spirituality of the Immaculate Heart: pondering prayer that contemplates the mysteries of Jesus' Life, Death, and Resurrection. This time, we'll talk about the "heart" of the matter. Why does Our Lady's Heart matter so much? Why do we have devotion to the Sacred Heart of our Lord? What is our heart?
Everyone's heard someone say, "We'll sit down and have a heart-to-heart." Are they about to have a casual conversation about nothing important? No — they're about to have a very serious conversation about something that matters a great deal. So the heart is very important. But what is it?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us a truly beautiful definition of the heart in its section on prayer. Take the time to "ponder" it, to read it slowly and pray about it as you read. Maybe even read it a few times and allow the definition to sink in.
The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the ... Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw." The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant (2563).
The heart is where I am, where I live — the heart is me! In a special and deep sense, the heart is the person. Mary's Immaculate Heart is Mary. Jesus' Sacred Heart is Jesus. When two people have a "heart-to-heart" conversation, they are encountering each other honestly, openly, clearly seeing the other person and being seen, knowing the other person and being known, loving the other person and being loved.
And the heart is "the place of covenant" — the place where relationships are formed in the human person, where we become fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, Catholics and children of God. The heart is the place where we remember our love for our families and friends, where love abides. The heart is the place where our loved ones live.
The Heart of Mary, then, is where all her children find a home, for she is our Mother, and she loves us with all her Heart, with her whole self. The Heart of Jesus, then, is where all His brethren find a home, for He is our Brother, our Savior, our God, and our Friend.
Next time, we'll talk about Jesus' promise that the Trinity will make its home in the hearts that love Christ.
For more, see Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC's Consoling the Heart of Jesus (Product Code TH-CHJ), pp. 41-46.
Spirituality of the Immaculate Heart
Mary Pondered in Her Heart
The Heart of The Matter
Temples of the Holy Spirit
From Sons to Slaves
Baptism Saves You
Confession Resurrects You
Eucharist Nourishes You
Confirmation Ignites You
Through Darkness Into Light
Mary, Mother of Christians
Salt. Light. Hope.