LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS, PART II
6. HEART OF JESUS, TABERNACLE OF THE MOST HIGH
The original “Tabernacle” was the tent built by Moses in the desert as the Israelites journeyed and sojourned in the desert while they were on the way to the Promised Land. Within the tent was the Ark of the Alliance, which contained the two tablets of the Law.
The Ark was meant to be the constant reminder of God’s presence among His people. The tent was the sacred place where Moses could talk to God face-to-face, present to Him the requests of the people and receive from Him the instructions to be communicated to the people.
When He took flesh and became a human being, God’s Eternal Son “pitched His tent (Tabernacle) among us” (Jn 1:14). This means that He came to share in all the frailty of our nature, while at the same time becoming “the Tabernacle” of the Most High, the most Holy Sign of God’s presence in our midst.
By a unique combination of roles, Jesus of Nazareth is both the Sacred Tabernacle, erected by God Himself in the desert of human history, and the new Mediator of the everlasting Alliance, the one who brings to the Father the pleas of all His brethren and conveys to them the wishes and blessing of the Father.
7. HEART OF JESUS, HOUSE OF GOD AND GATE OF HEAVEN
Jesus is not only God’s Temple and Tabernacle, but also His “House” and the “Gate of Heaven.” These are two interconnected aspects and functions of the same reality: the person of Jesus Christ.
The term “House connotes something visible, something over which God can claim uncontested property; a “place” in which God dwells in the fullness of His being, and where He feels perfectly at home. Such is the Heart of Jesus, the perfect “House of God”.
But Jesus is also the “Gate of Heaven” – the only one through whom mankind can enter the Kingdom of Eternal Bliss. There is no other gate to heaven, for Jesus is the only Redeemer and Savior. He has no equals. He has no competitors. Jesus solemnly proclaimed Himself to be “THE GATE” through which the sheep can enter into the security of the fold or through which they exit to enjoy the pastures of the divine meadows. This is why we acclaim Him as the only Gate of Heaven.
8. HEART OF JESUS, BURNING FURNACE OF CHARITY
There are different forms of fire and different, likewise, are the results of these fires. There is a fire that destroys even the best in us: it is the fire of impure passions, greed, pride, aggressiveness . . . These are the fires of death. They lead to the fires of hell. Jesus has nothing to do with these types of fires.
There is also a fire that burns impurities and garbage, a fire that purifies precious metals or melts them, thereby enabling them to take beautiful and useful shapes. This “benevolent fire” is a symbol of the fire of love that purifies, refines, sublimates and transforms people into better persons. It is the fire that has its origins and burns in the Heart of Jesus and makes it like an immense furnace; which burns with the boundless charity that sanctifies and saves all human beings.
This Charity never ceases burning, not even in front of the coldest forms of rejection and offenses, for it is the charity / love that is immensely greater than human ingratitude and sinfulness.
This is why the Fire of Love that burns within the furnace of the Heart of Jesus can consume the huge mountains of our moral miseries and shortcomings, purifying our hearts from whatever defiles them or makes them lose the luster they were meant to have. This is the “Holy Fire” that the Holy Spirit ignited in the heart of Mary and all the saints; the fire that warms up and moves to action the souls that are frigid or crippled by callous indifference to the immense tragedies that afflict mankind.
9. HEART OF JESUS, VESSEL OF JUSTICE AND LOVE
Justice is one of the attributes of God. He is the Just One who rewards each individual according to his / her deeds. But if God were only justice, we would all be doomed, for no creature can measure up to the demands of Divine Justice.
God, however, is also Perfect Love. In Him, Justice and Love meet, complement and perfect each other, as it were. It is this blending of Justice and Love in God which is the origin and guarantee of our “justification” – the pure gift which no one can deserve; the absolutely free gift that makes us “just” in God’s sight.
In the mystery of the Incarnation, God’s Justice and Love have found in the Heart of Jesus their perfect revelation and actualization. He is the vessel from which our justification and salvation overflow. That is why He is the only source of our Hope, our Redemption and Sanctification.
As the Human Vessel of God’s Justice and Love, the Heart of Jesus is also the perfect model we should do our best to follow and from which we should derive inspiration in treating our neighbor, by harmonizing the demands of justice with the balm of love.
10. HEART OF JESUS, FULL OF GOODNESS AND LOVE
Goodness and loving kindness were the most outstanding traits of Jesus’ personality, behavior and teaching. They were the clearest revelation of what God is like. “No one has ever seen God,” writes the Apostle John. And he continues: “The only Son, [who is] God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed Him” (Jn 1:18).
This is why people came to see in Jesus how immensely good and loving God is; to the good and the bad alike, for He is Father to all. It was from Jesus’ Heart, filled with the Father’s goodness and love; that His deeds of compassion, mercy, and forgiveness overflowed like an inexhaustible life-giving stream.
It was such a superabundance of goodness and love that led Jesus to show so much care for the poor, the sick, the lonely, the hungry, the thirsty, the weak, the sorrowing and the sorrowful. He never turned away anyone who went to Him, not even the greatest sinners, as Mary Magdalene, the repentant thief, and so many saints can testify.
This is the fundamental attitude and behavior that each one of us should always endeavor to imitate, that our frail hearts and love, too, may be full of goodness and love.
LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS, PART III
LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS, PART I
The Messenger of Divine Love
Volume 2 Number 1
July - September 2007