First Fridays for the Sacred Heart: link-up is below!
Why on earth would anyone worship the Heart of Christ?
Sure, he’s Jesus but it’s still a heart. It’s kinda weird… and feels like it could be blasphemous. I mean, why worship His Heart at all?
In his encyclical on the Sacred Heart, Haurietis Aquas, Pope Pius XII gives us two reasons.
Because they’re brilliant and he’s a pope, I’m just going to quote him.
“§21. That all may understand more exactly the teachings… concerning this devotion, they must clearly understand the reasons why the Church gives the highest form of worship to the Heart of the divine Redeemer. As you well know, venerable brethren, the reasons are two in number.
#1 The physical Heart of Christ is hypostatically united to the Divine Word
“The first [reason], which applies also to the other sacred members of the Body of Jesus Christ, rests on that principle whereby we recognize that His Heart, the noblest part of human nature, is hypostatically united to the Person of the divine Word. Consequently, there must be paid to it that worship of adoration with which the Church honours the Person of the Incarnate Son of God Himself. We are dealing here with an article of faith, for it has been solemnly defined in the general Council of Ephesus and the second Council of Constantinople.”
If anyone shall take the expression, Christ ought to be worshipped in his two natures, in the sense that he wishes to introduce thus two adorations, the one in special relation to God the Word and the other as pertaining to the man… and does not venerate, by one adoration, God the Word made man, together with his flesh, as the Holy Church has taught from the beginning: let him be anathema. (2nd Council of Constantinople, Capitula, IX)
#2 The Heart is a natural symbol of love for the God who is Love
“§22. The other reason which refers in a particular manner to the Heart of the divine Redeemer, and likewise demands in a special way that the highest form of worship be paid to it, arises from the fact that His Heart, more than all the other members of His body, is the natural sign and symbol of His boundless love for the human race. “There is in the Sacred Heart,” as Our predecessor of immortal memory, Leo XIII, pointed out, “the symbol and express image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return.”
Every single part of Jesus is to be worshipped as one divine person. He may have two natures — human and divine — but He is only one person and that person is the Divine Word Incarnate who is worthy of all worship!
We worship His Heart in particular because, unlike His right toes or His left elbow, the heart is a symbol of love — and the great revelation of the Gospel is that God is Love. By worshipping His Heart, we are getting to the heart of who Jesus is: the Beloved Son of God.
Thanks Pius XII!
(ALSO, just a reminder that this is my last post here as Catholic Cravings. Come Easter, it will be lauramcalister.com! Until then, I’m doing daily meditations via email on the Scriptural Way of the Cross!)
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