Sunday, June 13, 2010

Merciful Love and Returning Love for Love

"O Jesus, I know that Your Heart is more grieved by the thousand little imperfections of Your friends than by the faults, even grave, which Your enemies commit. Yet, it seems to me, that it is only when those who are Your own are habitually guilty of thoughtlessness and neglect to seek Your pardon, that You can say: 'These wounds which you see in the midst of My hands I have received in the house of those who love Me.' But Your Heart thrills with joy when You have to deal with all those who truly love, and who after each little fault come to fling themselves into Your arms, imploring forgiveness. You say to Your angels what the prodigal's father said to his servants: 'Put a ring upon his finger, and let us rejoice.' O Jesus, how little known is the merciful love of Your Heart!" (St Therese of Child Jesus, Letters, Councels and Souvenirs)
In the encyclicalAnnum Sacrum, Pope Leo XIII declares, "The Sacred Heart is the symbol and image of the infinite charity of Jesus Christ, the charity which urges us to give him love in return." Indeed, nothing is more able to arouse love than love itself. St Teresa of Jesus said: "Whenever we think of Christ, we should remember with what love He has bestowed all these favours upon us...for love begets love. And though we may be only beginners...let us strive ever to bear this in mind and awaken our own love" (Life, 22). The Church offers us the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to stir up our love and asks us "Who would not love Him who has loved us so much? Who among His redeemed would not love Him dearly?" (RB). Jesus said through the Prophet: "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee" (Jer 31:30). Devotion to the Sacred Heart, which is devotion to the infinite love of Jesus, should produce this particular effect on us: it should give us an ever increasing comprehension of "the charity of Christ which surpasseth all knowledge" (Eph 3:19). Meditating and contemplating the Heart of Jesus pierced for love of us, may be the way to learn the science of love, a science which no book on earth can teach us, because it is a science that can be acquired only from the open book of the Heart of Christ, our one and only Teacher, as St John of the Cross said: "He thought me a science most delectable". Therefore, the answer to His love is easy: He "loved me and delivered Himself for me...and I most gladly will spent and be spent myself for Him and for the souls that are His treasure" (Gal 2:20, Cor 12:15). Behold the love that raises us above all calculation, all self-love.