By Fr Tom Singleton, Parish Priest, Our Lady of The Lakes and St Charles, Keswick.
On the 19th day after Pentecost each year the Catholic community celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart.
For those of you who are not ‘cradle Catholics’ this must seem like a really strange thing to celebrate. If you had to speculate what it was about you would probably think it was something to do with Victorian spirituality, or at least a religious devotion old enough to be dusty but not to be ancient. Some of you not of the Catholic tradition might even be able to bring to mind an image or statue of Jesus, garishly coloured perhaps, pointing to his heart, which has been conveniently exposed to view. We have one in Our Lady of the Lakes church on High Hill – thankfully (for my taste) not painted at all, but made of wood.
For Catholics, the devotion to the Sacred Heart probably means memories of having a house blessed and a picture of the Sacred Heart being installed on a prominent wall. There is even a hymn, which begins ‘O Sacred Heart, our home lies deep in thee.’ If you recognise these words and perhaps can even sing them – then you belong to at least my generation. I haven’t sung it for some years. It seems somehow too old-fashioned.
But the core tradition of the Sacred Heart devotion contains a great truth – at least for those of us who are Christian – and that is that our Faith is rooted in the love which Christ showed for us when he gave his life for us. That love is our inspiration and our ambition, driving our love for others.
Here is a link to the Wikipedia treatment – which even members of my church might find illuminating: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Heart