The Feast of the Sacred Heart (16 June) invites us into a deepening awareness that all of life is held in the loving embrace of God. This spirituality of the heart calls us to honour that Christ dwells in our hearts through love and we in turn are to ‘clothe ourselves in love’ (Colossians 3:12) so that we may radiate this love to others.
Throughout Jesus’ life, the gospels show us that he acted from his heart, that place of union with God. He confronted injustice, shared meals with those who were considered outcasts and allowed himself to be moved with compassion as he encountered the sick, lonely, heartbroken and wounded.
As Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, our call is to ‘live from the heart’, to be people whose lives speak of God’s love shining through us to our larger world. When our lives are guided by Jesus’ vision, our hearts too are moved with compassion. In these moments, the power of God’s love flows in and through us into our wounded world.
Mary MacKillop had a deep connection to the Sacred Heart. She speaks of climbing into the abyss of God’s heart and finding inner peace. She heard Jesus words: “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and you will find rest. For I am gentle and humble of heart”. (Matthew 11:28)
Mary MacKillop understood what it meant to be on mission with a humble heart. This enabled her to create a church of the heart wherever she went. This feast calls us to be a heart-centred church going out to where the people are and creating a church of the heart in their midst as Mary did.
On the feast of the Sacred Heart this year, the Sisters of Saint Joseph will be launching their Reconciliation Action Plan. Inspired by the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the Sisters in collaboration with our Indigenous brothers and sisters have chosen this pathway to deepen our commitment to walk alongside First Nation peoples as they seek voice, treaty and truth-telling as outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
In developing the Uluru Statement of the Heart, over 1,200 Indigenous Australian representatives from across the country were consulted. In 2017, they gathered at Uluru, a place of great cultural and spiritual significance for Indigenous Australians. Here they listened and dialogued with one another until their hearts were in communion with one another. These words came to birth through this deep listening and sharing:
We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.
May God’s transforming love guide us at this important moment in our history as we create space in our hearts for what the Spirit is asking of us, as our Indigenous brothers and sisters seek recognition and voice.
May the Sacred Heart draw us into the heart of God’s abundance love so that we will have the courage to be God’s compassionate voice in our world today.
Sr Monica Cavanagh