Newsletter of the District of Asia

 May - June 1999

 by Fr. Mateo

The doctrine of the Sacred Heart can be summed up in what I call “the Gospel of the Heart of Jesus” in three chapters.

The First Chapter – because of His infinite, incomprehensible love, God willed to redeem the guilty world.  He might have done this in one and a thousand ways, each one worthy of His divine Majesty.  But He chose the lowliest way of all, that of humiliation: “Et Verbum caro factum est”.

If a simple child or a learned theologian asks the why and the wherefore of this mystery there is but one answer – the only one that is enlightening, the only doctrinal one – the only answer given by God Himself: “Sic Deus dilexit mundum” – love!

Let us now turn the page for the Second Chapter.  The Incarnation was more than enough to save a thousand worlds, and yet God willed to do more.  He did not have to become incarnate, yet He was made man.  Having accomplished this stupendous miracle, being God, He did not have to die, yet He willed to become a corpse: “Crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus.”  The astonished angels ask “why” and “wherefore”.  For them as well as for us, the answer is the same: “Sic Deus dilexit mundum.”  The “folly of the cross” can be explained only by the excess and folly of divine love.

The Third Chapter: before dying and returning to His Father, Christ determined not to leave us orphans.  And so, on Holy Thursday, the Man-God of the Incarnation and of the Cross gave Himself to us until the end of time in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Blessed Sacrament.

Before you ask the “why” and the “wherefore”, I forestall you and repeat the words which gave us the key to this mystery: “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” . . . “Sic Deus dilexit mundum.”  The infinite charity of God; the love - and nothing but the infinite love - of Jesus Christ, is the only adequate explanation of this supreme gift of God.

Now, which one of these three chapters contains the true doctrine of the Sacred Heart?  Is it the first, the Incarnation?  Is it the second, the Cross?  Or is it the third, the Holy Eucharist?  Obviously, we may prefer to meditate on or preach about one or another of these three marvelous mysteries, according to our personal devotion and attraction: “The Spirit breathes where He wills.”

Thus in the annals of the Church we have a great number of saints who have been attracted especially by the Incarnation.  An example would be St. Thérèse of  Lisieux.  Many others have been fascinated by the beauty of the Cross; for instance, St. Francis of Assisi and St. John of the Cross.  Still others have devoted their lives to loving the Blessed Sacrament, towards which they felt a special attraction.  Among these we might mention St. Paschal Baylon, Father Eymard, or St. Juliana Falconieri.  In each instance these saints followed the inspiration of the Holy Ghost according to their special vocation.

But from the moment we speak of the doctrine of the Sacred Heart, and not of personal devotion and attraction, there will be no longer a question of one or another of the three chapters, but of all threeTogether they form the integral Gospel of the love of God manifested by the Incarnation of the Word, by His Passion and Death and by the incomparable gift of Himself in the Holy Eucharist.  Thus the Summa Theologica contained in these words of St. John, “Deus caritas est”, is not to be found in one chapter more than in another, but in the three fused into one.

 -  Fr. Mateo speaks to priests

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