The Love of All Human Beings Without Exception

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Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is celebrated on the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ), which is the second Sunday after Pentecost. Both of these feast days are solemnities (celebrations of the highest degree).

Article 478 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the meaning of the Sacred Heart in this way:

Jesus knew and loved us each and all during His life, His agony, and His Passion and gave Himself up for each one of us: “The Son of God… loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, (Cf. Jn 19:34) “is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that… love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings” without exception. (Pius XII, Haurietis aquas, 1956)

Brother Charles had great devotion for the Sacred Heart. After arriving in Béni Abbès, Algeria in 1901, he built a hermitage and chapel. Behind the altar he placed an image of the Sacred Heart, an image he painted himself. It is pictured above.

A few years prior to this, while living in Nazareth, Brother Charles wrote several spiritual meditations in his journal. He composed this act of confidence in the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

When I think of the infinite graces You have heaped on me and the unworthiness of my present life, You forbid me to say to myself, “I have gone too far in misusing my graces; I ought to be a saint, but I am a sinner; I cannot correct myself, it is too difficult; I am nothing but wretchedness and pride; after everything God has done, there is still no good in me; I shall never go to heaven.”

In spite of everything, You want me to hope, to hope always that I shall receive enough grace to be converted and attain glory.

What is there in common between heaven and me — between its perfection and my wretchedness? There is Your Heart, O Lord Jesus. It forms a link between these two so dissimilar things.

There is the love of the Father who so loved the world He gave His only Son. I must always hope, because You have commanded me to, and because I must always believe both in Your love, the love You have so firmly promised, and in Your power.

Yes indeed, remembering what You have done for me, I must always have such confidence in Your love that, however ungrateful and unworthy I may seem to myself to be, I can still have hope in it, still count on it, still remain convinced that You are ready to accept me as the father accepted the prodigal son — and even more ready — and still remain convinced too that You will not stop calling me to Your feet, inviting me to come to them and giving me the means to do so.

(Retreat at Nazareth, November, 1897)

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