Mgr Joseph Arshad shares a message released for festivity celebrated on 3 June. “[W]e have a duty to do our best to make” the Sacred Heart of Jesus known, he writes. Jesus’ biblical call to sinful humanity must inspire humans, who are facing the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of current needs and the need to defend the dignity of every human being.
Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – The solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus underlines “God’s passionate love for his people, and that this love is directed to each individual through the Heart of Jesus," writes Mgr Arshad Joseph, bishop of Faisalabad, in a message for the festivity on 3 June, which coincided with the Jubilee of the Clergy. For him, “God’s love is destined to fill the world, and therefore we have a duty to do our best to make it known.” The full message follows.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The universal Church celebrates the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with great liturgical devotion and enthusiasm. In many parts of the world, the faithful continually pray and have great honor and devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus. The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus emphasizes, among many other things, God’s passionate love for His people, and that this love is directed to each individual through the Heart of Jesus. After all, love of its very nature flows outwards until it fills all things: the thought of the Sacred Heart should convince us that God’s love is destined to fill the world, and therefore we have a duty to do our best to make it known.
Historically in Catholic devotional life, the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the First Friday of June observed as the proper feast day of the Sacred Heart. This year, the feast fell on June 3.
The Sacred Heart devotion was formalized in the seventeenth century, through apparitions of Jesus Christ to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, a simple Visitation nun in Paray-le-Monial, France.
As the Church enters the month of June during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, The Divine Mercy devotion of Saint Faustina is certainly a step, a major one, in this direction. So too was the recent 24 Hours for the Lord initiative, when each parish held a prayer vigil in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed, giving an opportunity for a silent encounter between the Heart of Christ and human hearts.
The message of the Sacred Heart emphasizes the immensity of God’s love and compassion for all people. It echoes the biblical call of Jesus for sinful and hurt humanity to turn to him for mercy, healing, and restoration. It is this love which must inspire humanity today, if it is to face the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of the most diverse needs and, especially, the duty to defend the dignity of every human person. Humanity is good and is greatly loved by God, and God generously offers mercy to all. Furthermore, God is seeking to show humanity a better way. Alongside the reality of humanity’s fallenness and sinfulness, is the reality of fraternal compassion and mercy. Humanity was made for greater things than pessimism, exclusionism, and rigorism. The degree to which humanity is willing to listen and to live this liberating message of mercy is the degree to which there will be peace in one’s heart, and peace in the world.
The heart is the center of a person, the place from which he/she makes the choices which will affect the world within them and around them. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus reminds us that it is in His Sacred Humanity that we find the pattern for becoming fully human ourselves. In His Incarnation, saving life, death and Resurrection, we receive both the pattern - and the means - to become more like Him. The Feast of the Sacred Heart reminds us of our duty to spread God's love. Let us spend the month of June in Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, lifting up our Nation, indeed the whole world, to the One in whom we place all of our trust. He will not disappoint; His Heart still beats with Mercy and Love for us and for the whole world. May God bless all of us abundantly!
(Shafique Khokhar contributed to this article)