There are many images we use to describe the Love of God. One such image is a “burning flame of Love.” This is seen in the spiritual classic Living Flame of Love written by St. John of the Cross. He believes that a flame of God can give light to the darkened heart, can purify the sinner, can consume our pains, and can emit heat and energy for all those who seek it.
In the different villages of Afzalpur Taluka in India, the Holy Cross Fathers are drawn by the love of God to reach out and to bring into the fold of God’s love the poor and the needy, be they men, women, or children, Christian or not. In fact, most of the people we serve from our Divine Mercy of Jesus Mission here are Hindu, yet we want the flame of God to shine light in their lives, too.
We reach out to them in many ways: an after-school center for poor children, a tailoring center, self-help groups for women, youth groups that teach life-coping skills, and educational classes for dropouts from villages and migrants.
My experience with the people at our mission reminds me to be merciful. Traveling 20 to 25 kilometers daily on an uneven road when temperatures rise above 45 degrees Celsius, being bold, yet compassionate during times of conflict, forgetting my own comfort zone to feel one with the poor—all this allows me to resemble the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As Saint Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
Recently, during a vaccination camp that we hosted, I happened to meet an elderly man who refused to take the dose. Everyone tried to convince him but he wouldn't. I approached him with love and explained to him patiently the importance of it, and he was convinced to take the dose. I felt that this was a miracle from the Sacred Heart of Jesus who comes to my life daily through Holy Communion.
We read in the Gospel of Luke that the disciples were overwhelmed with joy, exclaimed: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us” (24:32). With that experience, they rushed to other disciples without even thinking of their long journey.
Like the disciples, we too encounter Christ in our daily life. When the love of God is burning within us, everything around us, even what is arduous and difficult, can become easy and beautiful.
As we reflect on the Sacred Heart of Jesus today, we are reminded of the boundless love, mercy, and compassion that our Lord extends to each and every one of us. The image of the Sacred Heart serves as a powerful symbol of His divine love, poured out for us on the Cross.
We ask that we might be purified by the love of Christ. Let us carry its transformative power into our homes, our communities, and our world. Let us be agents of love, peace, and reconciliation, spreading the message of the Sacred Heart to all whom we encounter.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the patronal feast of the Priests of the Congregation of Holy Cross. This reflection was written by Fr. Roshan D’Souza, C.S.C., a member of the Province of South India, who serves at the Congregation’s new mission in Afzalpur Taluka in India.