The month of June is traditionally set apart for devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On June 12, we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the feast that sets the mood for the whole month.
On May 25, 1899 Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Annum Sacrum, said “all Catholics should consecrate themselves to the Christ’s Sacred Heart.”
The Sacred Heart moves us to be compassionate; it is a symbol of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another. In the Oxford dictionary, compassion is defined as: “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” In order to practice compassion, one must first be humble, and have a sense of gratefulness for what the Lord has done for him.
On the June 9th 2013 Angelus address, Pope Francis refers to a story in Luke which demonstrates Jesus’ compassion. The mercy of God gives life to the man and raises him from the dead. In this story, Jesus, along with his disciples, has just arrived in Nain a village in Galilee, and at the very moment a funeral was taking place. At this funeral, the only son of a widow has been buried. Jesus’ gaze immediately fell on the boys’ weeping mother. St. Luke says in verse 13 “seeing her, the Lord was moved with great compassion for her.” The compassion that is described here is the love that God has for man. The mercy of Jesus is a force that brings the dead to life and the attitude of God in contact with our suffering and our anguish. In this same way, does God call us to have compassion.
In his Angelus address, Pope Francis continues, “what is the fruit of this love and mercy? It is life! Jesus says to the widow of Nain: “Do not weep” and then he calls the dead boy and awakes him as if from sleep (cf. vv. 13-15). Let’s think about this, it’s beautiful: God’s mercy gives life to man, it raises him from the dead. Let us not forget that the Lord always watches over us with mercy; he always watches over us with mercy. Let us not be afraid of approaching him! He has a merciful heart! If we show him our inner wounds, our inner sins, he will always forgive us. It is pure mercy. Let us go to Jesus!”
Are we like Jesus? Do we extend compassion to those around us who need it most? Let us allow the Sacred Heart of Jesus to move us to compassion and love for one another this month, the month of the Sacred Heart.
To read more on the role of the Church on mercy and compassion, check out the book, The Church of Mercy.