30 May 2008

Let's Pray Two

That's not an accidental misuse of a homonym for "too" -- it's a reference to Ernie Banks' famous quip, "It's a beautiful day, let's play two!" (If you don't know who Ernie Banks is, click here.)
Following Sunday's beautiful Solemnity of Corpus Christi, this eighth week of Ordinary Time is punctuated by the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Feast (Solemnity, for our Order) of the Visitation of Holy Mary. In a way, this "doubleheader" may be seen as a seamless celebration.
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus invites us to contemplate and imitate the deep and abiding love of the Lord which was made manifest in Jesus Christ. When the son of God took flesh and pitched His tent among us, His heart visibly became vulnerable to the continuum of human emotions. It knew pain, sorrow, rejection and betrayal. It experienced joy, delight, peace and it radiated love. This gentle and humble Jesus calls us to bear his yoke; he invites us to enter into his Most Sacred Heart. The door is narrow; we must leave behind our judgments, anger, jealousy, and all unkind or negative thoughts, words and deeds. Only those free of this baggage may enter fully because only those who are truly free can imitate the Lord's gentle and humble manner of selfless living. For most of us, our daily pilgrimage to the Heart of Jesus is one of "coming and going", as we struggle against temptations which bring unwelcome baggage.
It seems fitting, in a way, that the Visitation follows on the heels of the Heart of Jesus. Mary carried, in her womb, this Most Sacred Heart. She bore His flesh in her Immaculate body, for she bore the graces of his gentle and humble yoke from the moment she said "Yes" to the angel. In Mary's visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, she personifies all the qualities of one who dwells always in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Let us make a daily journey to someone in need. Let us go, in prayer -- if not in person -- to one who is in need of comfort, company or something we might be able to offer. Let us journey toward that Most Sacred Heart of Jesus by seeing and responding to those around us who are in need. When our hands are extended to help those around us, they have no opportunity to carry the baggage which will keep us from pitching our tents in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

And let's pray, too!

"We shall be steeped, as it were, in sweetness and gentleness toward our sisters and our neighbors in general, for we shall look upon all these souls as resting in the Heart of our Savior."
St. Francis de Sales

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