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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jesus, the heart of the Church

By Tina Coffey

File:Sacred Heart Currier.jpg
Sacred Heart by N. Currier (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).


I'm currently taking a class that focuses on the fourth section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which focuses on Christian prayer.  As I read my material this week, one word in particular stood out to me: heart. Over and over again in scripture and in the writings of the saints, we see the word heart.  When I think of the human heart, there are two aspects of its function.  The scientific aspect is that it receives blood deficient in oxygen and pumps out oxygenated blood to the entire body.  The heart is what keeps all parts of our body alive.  

I actually reflected on my readings in the Eucharistic Adoration chapel at my parish.  As I sat and focused on the Host, I couldn't help but think that Jesus is the heart of the Church.  The Catechism tells us that the Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life."  (CCC 1324)  In this way, just as the function of the human heart keeps all parts of the body alive, the function of Jesus in the Eucharist is what keeps the Church alive.  On the cross, Jesus received the sins of all of humanity.  In return, from that cross, we received mercy.  We literally received His life. His sacrifice was life-giving.  But the life we received from Him is not like the life we receive from our hearts which will one day stop beating.  The life we receive from Him is eternal.  

The second aspect of the function of the heart is something more abstract.  This is the part that refers to love.  Each one of us has this place inside of us that only we and God can know.  This innermost place is where we can meet God and where we can communicate with Him.  It is also where He communicates with us.  

This place where we seek, thirst, and desire for "something" is put there by God.  He wants us to find Him there and to be with Him.  This is prayer.  Prayer is finding that connection with our Creator and growing in that relationship.  

Responding to that which He put inside each of us and pursuing that relationship is the greatest love there is. There is an unmistakable peace that comes from relationship with God.  This is because His love and mercy are infinite.  We know that no matter how many times we fail, His love in never-ending.  To know that you are loved that way and to look forward to eternity in that love is indescribable.

Tina originally posted this at Parish Book Clubs.

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