Personal Reflection on the contemporary relevance of devotion of the Sacred Heart.
Whilst writing a reflection for the Feast of the Sacred Heart, my memory takes me back to the first time I gazed upon an image of the Sacred Heart. I was about eight or nine years old, living in our humble rental home in North Fitzroy, Melbourne with my parents, brother and sister. My mother placed the image on the pedestal in her bedroom, accompanied with a Legion of Mary brochure and a statue of Our Lady. There she prayed every night that my father’s employment as a railway worker would enable the family to purchase their own home. Eventually this happened when we moved into our new family home in North Carlton when I was 12 years old. The framed image of the Sacred Heart came with us and remained in the family home for the next sixty years! It now resides in my sister’s home to this day.
My devotion to the Sacred Heart has ebbed and flowed over time. During my early years, I did not understand the origins of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Perhaps I was not alone in my experience. In Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods’ time, devotion to the Sacred Heart was primarily one of external devotion. Although the more I reflect on their spirituality through reading their letters and recognised biographies, my appreciation that their deep love of the Heart of Jesus was a central theme in their spirituality which they practised with enduring love.
As we approach the Feast of the Sacred Heart, I revisit the origins surrounding the reasons for the sub-title ‘of the Sacred Heart’ being added to our name as Sisters of Saint Joseph.
Mary Cresp rsj provides a background:
The words: “orientation of the charism was to be perpetuated,” clarified for me the connection between devotion to the Sacred Heart and living the Josephite charism. The connection was evident in the spiritual lives of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods.
Memories continue to linger as I continue to write this reflection. My mother’s quiet devotion to the loving Heart of Jesus through daily prayer comes to mind. When I entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart in the sixties, my mother often alluded to her image of the Sacred Heart with prayerful gratitude for my vocation. Such was her simple, deep faith and trust in the power of prayer. Prayer for her was a daily activity. Her well-worn Sunday missal, which is in my possession today, reminds me of her devotion to the Indwelling Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
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Yvonne Harte rsj
Images provided by Sr Yvonne Harte. Used with permission.