Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
I propose that one can celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart by pondering the question, what shaped (or “begot”) and guided Jesus’ heart? One influence really stands out for me: the love of the One Jesus called “Abba.” Buddhists have the Four Noble Truths and Hindus have Dharma; Jesus suggests this great “mystery hidden from ages past” is best understood as a person who loves us, who wants the best for us because he chose to give us life.
By using the term familiar term “Abba,” Jesus reinforces the intimacy of this relationship, and Paul appeals to this intimate relationship, “I kneel before the Father,” even as he says that Christ can come to dwell in our hearts and help us appreciate the “breadth and length and height and depth of that love.” How has this love sought to shape my heart? Have I been open to this grace?
—Fr. Tim Hipskind, S.J. is co-director of the Institute for Leadership and Service, as well as Director of Service Learning at the University of Detroit Mercy. He regularly ministers to Hispanic Catholics in the Detroit area.
Holy Father, we honor the heart of your Son broken by our cruelty, yet pledge of all that we are called to be. Teach us to see Christ in the lives we touch, to offer him living worship by love-filled service to all our brothers and sisters. Amen.
—Prayer for the feast of the Sacred Heart