In Joigny in February we were shown the tapestry of Sophie's image of the Sacred Heart. I found it hard it at first. What strikes me is the exuberant, over the top flames or reeds and flowers that come out of the top of the pierced heart and the pelican that will feed her dying young with her own blood. It was all just too much to take in and perhaps the images didn't capture me, because it wasn't something that spoke to the context I live in now in 2014.
Then I saw this tree, I really saw it, really noticed it over a number of days, months even. This tree looked very different earlier in the year. The truck seemed totally dead, it had an unusual shape; it had grown bent over. A few months ago it was cut down, left to be a dead tree, nothing particularly spectacular about it. I walk past it so often and had begun to not notice it. Then one day I noticed these new branches appearing with new buds on. From a seemingly dead trunk there was sap rising and life bursting forth. Now each day I pause at this tree for it seems to speak to me of the Sacred Heart and Sophie's image.
From the apparent weathered, battered, pierced, opened, cracked, dead trunk of this tree there still flows energy for life, over the top and exuberant growth. It strikes me that of course Sophie's image of the Sacred Heart would be over the top and exuberant. What was Sophie trying to express in the image of the Sacred Heart? What are we trying to express by being women of the Sacred Heart?
It is something of the exuberant, over the top, self sacrificing and life giving love of the God of love. The Heart of God manifest in the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the gift of the spirit to reveal that Sacred Heart to us today.
For me, something of that Sacred Heart is revealed in this tree just bursting forth with uncontainable life - not just the image created by the new branches, but the very hollow of the trunk and the branches are a home to all creatures. It is a place for shelter for some, food for others and inspiration for me. It is a reminder that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is always open, a place of shelter, food, rest and ultimately growth and life. More so it reminds me that this heart is as available to me now as it was to Sophie.
Where might you see the Sacred Heart in your daily walk? How might you be more aware of the Sacred Heart in the world?
"The Society of the Sacred Heart shares this mission by making known the revelation of God's love, whose source and symbol is for us the Heart of Christ." Constitutions 3
Janet Hopper nscj