Greetings on the feast of the Sacred Heart.

Today (19 June) we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart. This feast speaks of the love God has for each of one of us and the love we are called to extend to one another. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was integral to the spirituality of both Fr Julian Tenison Woods and Saint Mary MacKillop. Mary MacKillop wrote to the Sisters in 1907 a reflection on the Sacred Heart. In it she reflects upon the special relationship that she has with the Sacred Heart. She writes:

When storms rage, when persecutions or dangers threaten, I quietly creep into the deep abyss of the Sacred Heart; and securely sheltered there, my soul is in peace, though my body is tossed upon the stormy waves of a cold and selfish world. [1] Mary MacKillop 1907

How apt are these words as we come to celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart in 2020? Danger has threatened our world through the existence of a small virus named COVID-19; people continue to be persecuted for the colour of their skin, their religious beliefs and their voice for justice; and our planet Earth is ravaged by unprecedented natural disasters and the destruction of the environment.

Our Sisters of Saint Joseph Constitutions remind us:

God’s compassionate love, symbolised for Mary MacKillop by the Sacred Heart, would become a reality for her sisters and the people with whom they shared their lives. Constitutions of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart

Saint Teresa of Avila reminds us our eyes are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion on our world today that same compassion which Saint Paul in his letter refers:

Clothe yourself in compassion.Colossians 3:12

Compassion that capacity to stand in the shoes of another and see the world from that viewpoint. Recently we have seen this reflected in the program on SBS called ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’ when five people have been sent to experience the realities of homelessness in our society. We have seen it in the many essential service workers especially the nurses and doctors who have risked their own lives to care for the life of another and at times making the ultimate sacrifice of their own life. We have seen it in a new sense of neighbourliness that has arisen out of the COVID-19 experience. We have seen it in the response of thousands of people across the world raising their voice against racial discrimination. We have seen it in the UNICEF and other volunteer groups working with those in refugee camps to put in place steps towards preventing the spread of the coronavirus. We have seen it in the simple gestures of kindness and words of encouragement and hope that have filled our world with love in these recent months.

Inspired by the compassionate way of Jesus we are called on this feast day to send forth from that sacred place within us, compassion and mercy on our world. Drawn into the very heart of God the source and fountain of all love we hear the Spirit whisper, ‘Go and embody my Love. Go to those places of deepest pain. Be my hands and feet. Be my eyes and ears. Be my tears and joy. Be my voice. Go plant seeds of love’.

Happy feast day.

May the Sacred Heart shield and uphold you in every trouble. [2]Mary MacKillop 1873

Sr Monica Cavanagh
Congregational Leader

Sr Monica has provided a message from Pentecost in the video below:

Additionally, you’re invited to view a message for the feast of the Sacred Heart from the Congregational Leadership Team below:

CLT Feast of the Sacred Heart Message (PDF)

[1] Letter Mary MacKillop to the Sisters 21 May 1907
[2] Letter Mary MacKillop to the Sisters 1873