Imprimatur + Daniel Mannix Oct 27,1944
Cor meum ibi cunctis diebus.
My heart shall be there always.
(3 Kings ix, 3.)
SAINT PAUL expressed a wish to the Ephesians that, through the grace of the Father, from Whom proceeds every gift, they should know the charity of Jesus Christ for men, "which surpasseth all knowledge." He could not wish them anything holier, or better, or more important. To know the charity of Jesus Christ, to be filled with the fullness of it, that is the reign of God in man. And that reign is the fruit of devotion to the Heart of Jesus, living—and loving us—in the Most Blessed Sacrament. This devotion is the sovereign worship of love. It is the soul and centre of all religion; for religion is merely the law, the virtue, and the perfection of love; and the Sacred Heart is the grace, the model, and the life of it. Let us study this love close to the fire where it consumes itself for us.
Devotion to, the Sacred Heart has a twofold object:
It honours first with adoration and public worship the Heart of flesh of Jesus Christ.
And secondly the infinite love with which this heart has burned for us since its creation, and with which still consumed on our altars.
Of all the noble faculties of the human body, the noblest is the heart. It is placed in the centre of the body like a king in the centre of his dominions. Immediately surrounding it are its most important members, which are, so to speak, its ministers. It sets them in motion and makes them function by imparting to them the vital warmth of which it is the reservoir. It is the fountain-head from which there gushes forth with impetuosity the blood that flows into all the parts of the body, and bathes and refreshes them. Weakened by this function, the blood returns from the extremities of the body to the heart to rekindle its ardour and receive a new supply of life-giving energy.
What is true of the human heart in general is also true of the adorable Heart of Jesus Christ. It is the noblest part of the body of the Man-God, united hypostatically to the Word and deserving thereby the supreme worship of adoration which is due God alone. It important that in our veneration we should not separate the Heart of Jesus from the divinity of the Man-God; for it is united to the divinity with indissoluble bonds, and the worship we pay to the Heart has not its final end in that Heart, but In the adorable Person Who possesses it and Who has united it to Himself forever
Whence it follows that we may direct to this divine Heart the prayers, praises and adorations we offer to God Himself. And it also follows that they are mistaken who, on hearing the words "The Heart of Jesus," think only of the material organ and look on this Heart only as a lifeless and loveless member, much as they would on a holy relic. They are again mistaken who imagine that this devotion divides Jesus Christ and restricts to His Heart alone a worship that ought to be offered to His whole Person. They overlook the fact that to honour the Heart of Jesus is not to ignore 'the rest of the divine body of the God-Man; for when we honour His Heart, we mean to praise all the actions and the whole life of Jesus Christ, which are but an outpouring of His Heart.
Just as it is in the sun that are formed and from it that issue forth the warm rays which fertilise the earth and give life to everything that lives, so it is from the heart that come forth the strong and gentle impulses which carry vital warmth and vigour into all the members. If the heart weakens, the whole body weakens with it. If the heart suffers, all the members suffer with it, nothing functions well, and the organic system soon stops working. The function of the Heart of Jesus was then to quicken, to strengthen, and to sustain all His members, all His organs, and all His senses by its constant action; so that it was the principle of the actions, affections, virtues and of the whole life of the Word made flesh.
For the heart, according to the opinion of ancient philosophers, is the seat of love; and since the prime motive of the whole life of Jesus was love, we must look upon His Heart as the source of all His mysteries and virtues. "Just as it is natural for fire to burn," says Saint Thomas, "so it is natural for the heart to love; and because the heart is the primary organ of feeling in man, it is fitting that the act which is commanded by the first of all the commandments should be felt by the heart."
Just as the eyes see and the ears hear, so the heart loves. It is the organ of the soul in the production of affection and love. In the vernacular, heart and love are interchangeable terms; heart means love, and vice versa. The Heart of Jesus was, therefore, the organ of His love. It co-operated with His love; it was the principle and seat of it. It experienced all the impressions of love that can touch a human heart, with this difference, however, that since the soul of Jesus Christ loved with an unparalleled and infinite love, His Heart is a real furnace of love for God and for us. From it are constantly darting forth the most ardent and purest flames of divine love. This love inflamed His Heart from the first moment of His conception until His last breath and, since His Resurrection, has not ceased nor will ever cease doing so. His Heart made and is daily making countless acts of love, a single one of which gives more glory to God than all the acts of love of the angels and saints. Of all material creatures, His Heart is then the one that contributes the most to the glory of the Creator and that is the most deserving of the love and worship of angels and men.
Everything that pertains to the Person of the Son of God is infinitely worthy of veneration. The least portion of His body, the tiniest drop of His blood is deserving of the adoration of heaven and earth. The most worthless things become worthy of the veneration by mere contact with His flesh, as was the case with the Cross, the nails, the thorns, the sponge, the lance and all the instruments of His death. How much greater veneration, therefore, ought we to offer then His Heart, the excellence of which is founded on the nobleness of the functions it performs, on the perfection of the sentiments it gives rise to, and of the actions it inspires! For if Jesus was born in a stable, lived as a poor man at Nazareth, and died for our sake, we owe it to His Heart; it is in the sanctuary of His Heart that were formed all the heroic resolutions and all the plans which inspired His life. His Heart must therefore be honoured as the Crib in which the faithful soul sees Jesus being born into the world, poor and forsaken; as the pulpit from which the Lord Jesus preaches His commandment to her: "Learn of Me that I am meek and humble of heart"; as the Cross on which she sees Him die; as the tomb from which she sees Him rise glorious and immortal; and as the everlasting Gospel by which she is taught to imitate all the virtues of which this Heart is the accomplished model.
A soul devoted to the Sacred Heart will, however apply himself in a special manner to the practice of divine love, because this Heart is above all the seat and the symbol of this love. And since the Most Blessed Sacrament is the sensible and permanent token of divine love, it is there the soul will find the Heart of Jesus from His Eucharistic Heart she will learn to love.