Throughout the month of June, we the Holy Cross members with our Mother Church worship and venerate the loving Heart of merciful God, the Savior of the World ,in different ways. Staying in the same line, let us try to look at the Sacred Heart of Jesus and reflect on his words on the Cross--“I thirst”--so that we may encounter with Jesus and live joyfully in his grace on this earth.
Looking at the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus when I was thinking of something to write, I felt an appeal in my heart to write on his words “I thirst” for our contemplation, focusing on the immense ocean of his “mercy” and his “passion for the souls” of human beings. Thus, I have tried, and I also invite you, to reflect on the Sacred Heart with these two dimensions only.
What does Jesus thirst for? Jesus answered to this question to St. Faustina:
“My heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. … For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them. You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept. In this way, you will console my Heart. Oh! how indifferent are souls to so much goodness, to so many proofs of love! My heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world. They have time for everything, but they have no time to come to Me for graces.” (Diary 367)
“My Heart is sorrowful, Jesus said, because even chosen souls do not understand the greatness of my mercy. Their relationship [with Me] is, in certain ways, imbued with mistrust. Oh, how much that wounds My Heart! Remember My Passion, and if you do not believe My words, at least believe my wounds." (Diary 379)
Jesus’s words mentioned above remind us of his thirst and suffering for the souls of God’s sinful prodigal children for whom he is awaiting with full of mercy. The heart of Jesus seeks our spiritual attention to see the open side between his ribs from where the blood and water pours out as his mercy, making us holy by washing our sins.
When we close our eyes and look at our own hearts in imagination, we see them as an essential organ of our body; think about the components and function of the heart which is beating restlessly to keep us alive. In a spiritual view, this restless beating of the heart represents the sinful restless soul of St. Augustine and of us which seeks and prays, “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God,” and pleas with the psalmist:
It is true that the human soul and heart eagerly await to reunite with God, but different types of sinful souls and hearts cannot do so, such as fierce and haughty hearts, or unsympathetic hearts and hearts which are spoiled and wallowing in the mire of shameful pleasures, or hearts filled with anger and bitterness, or lazy, lukewarm, and sluggish hearts. (Cf. Basil Moreau Essential Writings, p. 160.)
These unsatisfied and restless souls and hearts pierce the Sacred Heart of Jesus to fulfill their own thirst and desires of the mind and body in worldly pleasures. Therefore, even today Jesus tells us: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mk 7:6).
Jesus is awaiting with his thirst for these kinds of hearts who in contrition will come back to him one day and will set their hearts and souls on God’s love, to fulfill his thirst by following the divine commandment of love, forgiveness, and doing just things. In Christ, we are able to fulfill his thirst by following his commandments with joy not with burdened and restless hearts.
Let us be mindful that Jesus feels and knows our misery, our afflicted and sinful hearts; yet he desires us. Our souls shall receive his mercy and remain in his love. Can we reject this and be attached to the world by committing sins while he tells the following to St. Faustina?
Pure love gives the soul strength the very moment of dying. When I was dying on the cross, I was not thinking about Myself, but about the poor sinners, and I prayed for them to My Father. … Pure love understand these words; carnal love will never understand them. (Diary -324)
St. Teresa of Calcutta (Kolkata) who recognized and knew Jesus’s ocean of love and thirst for the human souls, tells her sisters:
“‘I thirst’ is something much deeper than Jesus just saying ‘I love you.’ Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you—you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.” (March 1993, Letter to the Missionaries of Charity)
We know our own thirsts of souls and minds; we also know the unconditional love and graces of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which indicate to us that Jesus is thirsty for us even today, and from this thirst he longs to satisfy our restless hearts by his living water and blood of the Divine Mercy.
Finally, I want to end here by assuring you all of the promise of Jesus who tells: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink” (Cf. John 7:37). Jesus’s Heart rejoices when it is worshiped in the title of “Mercy." Happy Feast to you all!
This reflection for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Patronal Feast of the Priests of the Congregation of Holy Cross, was written by Fr. Paschal B. Sarker, C.S.C. A member of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Province in Bangladesh, Fr. Paschal currently works as Assistant to the Register in Notre Dame University, Bangladesh, and as Assistant Director in Christo Darshan Seminary.