“Ohio, The Heart of It All” is the tourism slogan of Ruah Woods Press’ home state. “I HEART you.” “The key to my heart.” “Take it to heart.” “Follow your heart.” “You broke my heart.” These are all widely known and shared expressions in our culture, using our strongest and necessary body part to express feelings and emotions. Next time you listen closely to popular music lyrics, notice how often songwriters call upon our bodies most vital organ to express sentiment!
In his Theology of the Body, Pope St. John Paul II teaches us “the body and it alone has the ability to make visible the invisible—the spiritual and the divine.” This means our hearts, this part of our body, truly does reveal who we are, created in the image and likeness of God, male or female, unique and unrepeatable. Saying our heart is hungry, broken, or skipped a beat truly is an expression of our human nature.
As we wind down June, the entire month dedicated to The Sacred Heart of Jesus, as well as, the month when both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are celebrated on consecutive days, we can turn to our Savior and His mother to see the truths about our bodies (and hearts) revealed through Christ and His mother’s perfection. Their perfect hearts, one created from two earthly parents, yet Immaculate at conception, and one heart created Divine and from human flesh, point to God’s original plan for man.
The devotion to both holy hearts is deep and long standing in The Church. Both of these perfect and sanctifying hearts echo God’s original plan for our hearts (our bodies) before the fall and sin entered the world. Great saints knew the importance of drawing upon the hearts of Christ and Mary as an example of the holiness and redemption to which we are called.
“Jesus has promised to have the names of all who spread devotion to His Sacred Heart written in His Heart.” — St. Teresa of Calcutta
“In the Sacred Heart every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden. In that Divine Heart beats God’s infinite love for everyone, for each one of us individually.” — St. John Paul II
Perhaps these great saints knew that by venerating the only perfect hearts created, our broken and hungry hearts (our bodies) could learn that our human nature is redeemed.
As Jesus himself shared to Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries, “I want My Church to… put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.” Christ himself is calling us and reminding us that by way of His Incarnation, passion, death and resurrection, and through devotion to His mother’s perfect human heart, our bodies are redeemed!
One of my favorite holy men of The Church, and my local Bishop when I was a baby, Venerable Fulton Sheen shares the truth of our heart, so well.
“The human heart is not shaped like a valentine heart, perfect and regular in contour; it is slightly irregular in shape as if a small piece of it were missing out of its side. That missing part may very well symbolize a piece that a spear tore out of the Universal Heart of Humanity on the Cross, but it probably symbolizes something more. It may very well mean that when God created each human heart, He kept a small sample of it in heaven, and sent the rest of it into the world of time, where it would each day learn the lesson that it could never be really happy, that it could never be really wholly in love, that it could never be really whole-hearted until it rested with the Risen Christ in an eternal Easter, until it went back to the Timeless to recover the sample which God had kept for it from all eternity.”
Jesus and Mary’s bodies are in heaven. We know this through the Ascension and Assumption. It is their desire that we spend eternity with them, body and soul. By leaving their hearts here to be venerated, studied, and honored we can move closer to this reality every single day. Learning more about the Sacred Heart and Immaculate devotions and studying more on Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, we can come to absorb these truths even more in our hearts (our bodies).
Curriculum Consultant, Ruah Woods Press
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