|St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, in a vision of Christ revealing his Sacred Heart|
The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a special time for all people to recall the nature of the love of God, a love that is so real and so potent that it is the essence of God himself. It is a love that is often referred to as the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. It is also revealed to us by God himself taking flesh and coming to us as a tiny child in the Incarnation. The love of God has been revealed to us as something that changes substances; something that makes old things new and dark things light. It is a love that purifies, a love that challenges, a love that leads. It is a love that demands sacrifice, even as it gives unconditionally.
As St. John teaches us so beautifully:
"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.
This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world. Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us."
Sometimes we need to sit back and remember that the holiness we are called to by our baptism - that call to live for the Lord that can sometimes be so challenging - has at its core a gaze. A gaze of love. A gaze of love for a Heart that has gazed at us since the moment of our conception. A Heart that has always gazed upon us with love, even in the times we have been furthest from returning that love. As that Heart loves us, it draws us. "I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like those who raise an infant to their cheeks; I bent down to feed them" (Hos 11:4). We need only to look back, to return the gaze. To be within that love that he is generously giving.
To love is an act of the will, and also engenders many acts of service... yet, initially, it is a reception. Allow him to gaze upon your heart... allow him to love you, and look him back in the eyes. Recognize that Heart as the source of your life, the source of hope and the source of joy.