'The feast of the Sacred Heart reveals the vulnerability of God. It is difficult for those who are Thomists to use, of God, the word 'vulnerability'. How can an unchanging God be vulnerable? It is only in his Son made man that we can get a glimpse of this. Again, one can produce a list of situations in which Our Lord showed his vulnerability: his reaction to the ingratitude of the nine lepers; his weeping over Jerusalem; his grief at the death of Lazarus; his evident affection for Martha and Mary; and his reaction to his betrayal by Judas: "You betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Read the Gospels again and again, and you will encounter the vulnerability of Our Lord. It seems that God became man to feel what man can feel, to show that he understands. And we can see, since Christ's humanity is part of him and part of the life of the Trinity, how there can be vulnerability in the Trinity itself.
It was to St Gertrude, so it is said, that St John talked about the Sacred Heart: St John, we may say, is the theologian of the Sacred Heart. The Office of the Sacred Heart lays stress on the piercing of Christ's side and the outpouring of water and blood. This was his moment of glory, his hour: the water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit; the blood, the Holy Eucharist. Christians down the ages, contemplating the pierced side of Christ, have witnessed at that moment the birth of the Church.
That is why we observe the Feast of the Sacred Heart. We need to come to the first principles of the spiritual life: the tremendous love God has for each one of us. The consciousness should not only be an inspiration and a consolation to ourselves - it should be a model of our reactions to each other'.
Basil Cardinal Hume OSB OM, 1923-1999
O God, who hast suffered the Heart of thy Son to be wounded by our sins,
and in that very Heart hast bestowed on us the abundant riches of thy love: grant, we beseech thee;
that the devout homage of our hearts which we render unto him,
may of thy mercy be deemed a recompense acceptable in thy sight;
through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Divine Worship: The Missal
Fr Lee Kenyon
Priest, Husband, Father, Lancastrian, Mancunian