Heart of Jesus – A Home of Love!

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the living and vivifying source of eternal life, infinite treasure of divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. It inflames our hearts with the ardent love of the Father, pours into our hearts the graces of His source and grants that our hearts may be so closely united to His; so that His holy will may be done in and through us. The Sacred Heart is the bedrock of Divine Providence. This explains why for so many centuries, most facets of our devotion revolve around the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Even the Eucharistic devotion which has become the source and summit of Catholic worship is predicated on the outpouring of the Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Therefore the Heart of Jesus is truly the home or the sanctuary of Love. To certify this truth, the stories and parables of Jesus in the Bible will guide us well.
One of the most compelling revelations of the Heart of God in Scripture is found in ‘THE FATHER OF THE PRODIGAL SON’. The younger son, returning home, approaches the father completely broken; yet the love in the heart of the father sees only that his son is back and his response was fully an explosion of love! The next evident parable is ‘THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN’. It captures in a very vivid way, love in action. The heart of the Samaritan went out to the victim in love, compassion and total identification. The very essence of his ‘altruism’ was precisely the essence of love – to give, give some more and to keep on giving until one is totally empty.
Another confirming event is THE STORY OF THE WOMAN WHO WAS CAUGHT IN ADULTERY and brought before Jesus Christ for “judgment”. It amply demonstrates His revolutionary love. The woman’s accusers could not see beyond the sin. But Jesus Christ, whose heart is the fountain of love saw it differently. His response was a challenge that eventually silenced the accusers. With love comes the knowledge that all are sinners in need of redemption. With love comes the realization that we are all beneficiaries of God’s abundant mercy that needs to be extended to our brothers and sisters.
Next, on seeing the multitude of people by the lakeside, Jesus felt sorry for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. On that occasion His compassion led Him to FEED FOUR THOUSAND PEOPLE in the same manner as God had fed the Israelites with manna in the desert. Finally, while HANGING ON THE CROSS, JESUS PRAYED: “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Jesus’ prayer amply demonstrates the truth that the very nature and essence of Jesus’ heart is love.
Therefore, the heart of Jesus Christ as the home of love cuts across all boundaries – race, culture, gender, class etc, thereby making all into one family with one history and one destiny. It is so total and unconditional that we are reluctant to accept it. For us it is much easier to accept love that is conditional with the hope that love would be reciprocated, but Jesus’ is different. His love precisely demonstrates a unique and revolutionary form of love which is unconditional, unhurtful and descending upon us. Unlike the limited heart of man and woman, the heart of Jesus is limitless in love. The nature of Jesus’ heart is love par excellence. It is not that Jesus has love and Jesus can love but the essence and nature of Jesus’ Heart is Love for ‘God is Love’.
His love accepts us as we are and completely. We are invited to that LOVE. It sets us free to love as Jesus loves. The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a training in the love of Jesus. As religious ‘the more one is devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the more the person is expected to manifest Christian virtues especially LOVE. Let us strive to become the personified witnesses of Christ’s love for it is the Heart of the World.
Hail, Sacred Heart of Jesus!
Fr. Soosai Rathinam

Spiritual Fatherhood … Grief, Forgiveness and Generosity!!!

A few days ago I happened to read a beautiful book, “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henri J.M. Nouwen, a bestselling writer, and pastor of the L’Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, Canada, who died in 1996. He portrays Rembrandt’s depiction in which the disheveled young son is kneeling before his old father in order to be blessed and forgiven. The tender way in which the father touched the shoulders of his young son was heart breaking and reveals a welcoming attitude.
Grief, forgiveness and generosity are the three ways by which the image of the father can grow in each one of us.
Grief: is the discipline of the heart that sees the sin and there is no compassion without many tears. The tears should well up from our hearts. To become like the Father whose only authority is compassion because His divine love is so boundless.
Forgiveness: it is very hard to remain at home and wait. In our communities and mission places have I dared to carry the responsibility of a spiritually adult person? Or becoming a welcoming home for those who have been hurt and wounded? There is a dreadful emptiness in this spiritual fatherhood which includes no power, no success, no popularity, and no easy satisfaction. We behave like the rebellious younger son and the resentful elder son. Henceforth both sons in us can gradually be transformed into the compassionate father.
Generosity: the third way to become like the father is generosity. The father gives himself away completely without reserve. The way the younger son is treated with robe, ring, sandals and a welcoming with a sumptuous celebration are the visible gestures of the generous father. In order to become like the Father, I must be as generous as the Father is generous. Today our great motivations are survival, self-preservation, self-interest, greed and power.
May St. Joseph, role model for fatherhood with his fatherly greatness, provide profound insights to imitate his virtues!

Fr. Soosai Rathinam