In his sermon on “Entering the Heart of Jesus,” Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, wrote, “Yes, whoever we are, rich or poor, great or small, young or old, just or sinner, let us lose ourselves lovingly in this heart which knows only the excess of tenderness, in this heart in which all the seraphim humble and annihilate themselves, in this heart whose activity has not been diminished by nineteen hundred years of ingratitude. Where could children better be than in the heart of their father?
“Come then let us all hasten into this waiting heart, no matter what the state of our soul. If we are in sin, here is the heart that received the prodigal son, pardoned the penitent Magdalene, made the apostate disciple weep repentantly, and converted a thief on the cross. If we are lukewarm, here is the source of charity in which we can renew our arms, warm our hearts, and draw new strength.
“If, after being committed to the Lord for many years, we are tempted to abandon him, if the spirit of darkness and our own evil impulses torment us by continual assaults, the heart of Jesus is our retreat and refuge, for it will lift us above the senses and enable our feebleness to win glorious victories. If we fear being lost in the deluge of crimes flooding the earth or being shipwrecked on the stormy sea of the world, here is the ark of salvation and the vessel that will carry us to the harbor.
“Let us enter, once more, then, and the heart of Jesus will be everything to us in life and in death.”
These words of Blessed Moreau echo so strongly today in the world in which we live. They chide us to turn, once again, to that Sacred Heart so overflowing with tenderness for all of us no matter what our situation, a heart that knows only love, compassion, and forgiveness for each of us both uniquely and collectively in the same beat.
What are the dimensions of this Heart that prompted Jesus to become one of us, to take on our Humanity that He might atone for our sins and reconcile us to His Father?
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We who have been called to religious life and priesthood in Holy Cross find in the Sacred Heart the perfect paradigm for our priestly lives, a calling not only to give ourselves totally to the mission of Jesus through his human and divine love for us, but to allow ourselves to be transformed by that same Heart as we experience His all-encompassing love through His forgiveness, His compassion, His mercy and His unlocking of our burning love of Him deeply embedded within us.
And so, we celebrate this great feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with humility and gratitude that He has chosen to give us His unconditional love shown through His Passion, Death and Resurrection and continued each day principally through the Holy Eucharist. In Holy Cross, we priests celebrate our patronal feast with a renewed sense of joy and commitment knowing that only in allowing Jesus to live and minister through us, freeing both His love for us and our love for Him burning intimately within us, can we truly be fountains of the living water flowing from His Pierced Heart.
This reflection for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Patronal Feast of the Holy Cross priests, was written by Fr. Charlie Kohlerman, C.S.C., a member of the United States Province. Fr. Kohlerman currently serves as the Religious Superior of Our Lady of Fatima House in Notre Dame, Indiana. He also serves on the formation staff at Moreau Seminary.
Special thanks to Fr. Ronald Patrick Raab, C.S.C., for the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.