The Feast of Christ, the Lover of Us All

Icon courtesy of Marek Czarnecki

Everything that Jesus has done and does for us is motivated by only one thing:  His great love for us.  If we meditate on this love and have even the smallest glimpse of its immensity, we realize that this love is worthy of recognition and veneration.  However, love is a concept that is sometimes hard to perceive.  The Church gives us the image of the Heart of Christ to help us meditate on this great gift.

“In biblical language, “heart” indicates the centre of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell.  In the Heart of the redeemer we adore God’s love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy.  Practicing devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life.” ( Benedict XVI Angelus 5 June 2005)

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus developed in the western Church.  Around 1673 St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was visited by our Lord.  He showed her His wounded heart and asked her to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart.  Some Roman Catholic Church forms of this devotion are:  celebration of the first Fridays of every month with Communion of reparation: the enthronement of the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in homes; and Eucharistic adoration.

Since the services of the Eastern Church are filled with devotion to the divine love and mercy of God, the Ukrainian Catholic Church was open to this devotion to the Heart of Jesus.  The Eastern focus on the Sacred Heart of Jesus is somewhat broader, though.  What we worship as the Heart of Jesus, is the whole interior life of Christ:  His teaching, wisdom, virtues, prayer etc.  In effect, we worship all the things that make up His soul.  We adore the incomprehensible love of Christ through the symbol of His Heart.   We honour His love with the Feast of Christ, the Lover of Us All.  In fact, the entire month of June is dedicated to Christ, the Lover of Us All.

 “The most fervent desire of our Saviour is to see the fire of love with which His heart burns being born and growing in the souls of the faithful.  Therefore, let us go to Him for He asks of us nothing more than that we repay Him love for love.”  (Pope Leo XIII).