07 June 2013

Is your heart a Sacred Heart?

Sacred Heart of Jesus 
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP 
St. Dominic Church, NOLA 

Thus says the Lord God, “I myself will look after and tend my sheep. . .I will rescue them. . .I will lead them. . .I will bring them back. The lost I will seek out. . .the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal.” And we are glad to hear the Lord say that He will look for the lost, rescue the endangered, and mend the broken. We are especially glad to hear these promises when we find ourselves among the lost, the sick, and the wounded. Not only does God do all that He promises to do, He does more. Much more. “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” To find, to heal, and to mend, you need someone to be lost, sick, and injured. But Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” Before we repent, before we confess, before we seek his mercy and absolution, he dies for us so that we are able to repent, confess, and seek his mercy. How is this possible? “The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. . .” Because he surrenders his sacred heart on the altar of the Cross, our hearts are made sacred in the fires of the Holy Spirit! If your heart will be like Christ's, you too will surrender to the Cross. 

What does “surrender to the Cross” mean? And how is it done? If we think of surrendering as the coward's faint way of avoiding injury and death, or if we think of it as a desperate last resort before total defeat, then surrendering to anyone or anything is a failure. But if we accept in all humility that nothing is ours, that no one is ours; that all, everything belongs to God and we just make use of what He gives us, then surrender is nothing like a defeat or a failure. It's the first and last victory of a war we never have to fight. If nothing and no one truly belongs to us, then what do we have to give up? What is there left for us to sacrifice? Well, our sins are ours; we certainly own those. No. The Son is made flesh so that he becomes sin for us. Even our sins belong to God. Only He can forgive them, and He's done that already. So, what do we surrender? We hand over to God all that we think belongs to us; all that we imagine we own. Jesus said on the Cross, “Not my will but Yours be done.” We surrender to the Cross by freely offering to God what belongs to Him already. He doesn't need our surrender, but we need to surrender so that His will might become our own. 

How does God find us when we are lost? Heal us when we are sick? Lead us when we wander off? All trick questions! There is never a second of our lives when He isn't finding, healing, and leading us. The question is whether or not we are free enough from our attachments to Self and Things to be found, healed, and led. Whether or not we have given over all the weights and burdens and trials that work so hard to snuff the fire of His Spirit in us. Why do we insist on carrying our junk when He has already taken from us? Why do we demand to be punished for sins that were forgiven 2,000 yrs ago? Why do we invite tests and temptations when the war against both ended with a victory on the Cross? Christ's sacred heart split and bled out so that we might have access to the Father through His Holy Spirit. That access—our way in—remains open, has never closed, and will never close. But we cannot fit through if we are stuffed to the gills with pride in Self and bent over clinging to tons of stuff. Are you free to be found, healed, led, mended, rescued, and loved into the presence of the Most High? God knows where you are, but He will not find you unless you will to be found? He will not lead you or heal you unless you freely choose to be lead and healed. Unlike the dumb sheep of the gospel, we can choose to be livestock. And unlike the sheep of the gospel, we can choose to be freed by the Sacred Heart of Christ. 

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  1. It must have been good - you made me smile and cry! Thanks for writing a homily Just For Me ;-)!!

    1. Just for you??? I have no idea what you're talking about. . .