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This is one of our most powerful feasts, but it has not always been well served by the “artists” who make and sell religious objects.  Jesus with blood dripping from his heart does not stimulate my devotion, anyway.  Likewise, some of the prayers connected with devotion to the Sacred Heart strike me as putting the focus on ourselves—human sin and wrong-doing—rather than on God and the redeeming power of that love poured out in Jesus.

If we really mean love when we talk of God’s relationship with us human beings, then it must be mutual—not just giving, but receiving as well.  God is not a sugar daddy in the sky, but one who wants mutuality, wants to be in relationship with us.  That means that God becomes vulnerable to our not loving back.  In choosing to love us God chooses to feel the pain of our selfishness, indifference, and rejection.  This is the reality that underlies even the worst representations of the Sacred Heart.

There is more.  God is vulnerable to the pain of our not loving back, but God’s love will not tolerate vengeance or striking back in any way.  So God absorbs the violence of our failure to love, and so refuses to take part in the vicious cycles of violence that plague human relationships.

And ourselves?  Nourished by his body and blood we, the church born from his pierced heart, get the courage and great-heartedness to do the same.  We are strengthened to absorb the violence of our world and respond with love and forgiveness rather than vengeance.  In this way we really do become God’s gift to our world.

By Gerry Stockhausen

 

Pope Francis Twitter Feed

* Our Way of Life *

 

"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)

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"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)

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"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)

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"As Pallottines, it is our special charism to foster growth in faith and love among the laity, to awaken them to awareness of their apostolic call, and to cooperate with them in furthering the apostolic mission." (OWL, 21)

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"Our relationships with one another should be marked by a love that bears all, believes all and hopes for all, a love that is neither conceited nor jealous, which hurts no one, nor is embittered or resentful. It is never discouraged but remains patient and kind. It rejoices with others and shares their suffering. It is with this kind of love that we should help and support one another." (OWL, 90)