Since the time of the Incarnation, God now has a human heart …
This sentence, dear Reader, expresses not only a great truth of the Catholic and Christian faith.
But (albeit more personally and far, far less significantly) it also conveys something at the very core of this website – dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – as well as something relevant to how this website originated.
For this weblog is born out of my recognition of that simple fact of faith – that for the last two thousand years God possesses something He never had before – a human heart, a human affectivity, a human sensitivity …
Yet I spent at least thirty four long years of my life without ever being able to conceive such a thing. Much of that time was lost in a New Age wilderness, wherein I thought of Christianity primarily as a belief-system – rather than a Sacramental Connection to the human heart of God.
(And the notion ‘Christianity is just a belief-system’ rather than Sacramental Connection has everything to do with the fact that for at least thirty four years I had no idea of what a Sacrament was …)
Dear Reader, sometimes it seems to me as if the foundations of this website are neither named adequately nor explicitly enough.
Or, at least, it seems there is a need for me to blog at times to express more straightforwardly what this website is all about …
This, then, will be the theme of a series of entries at the start of this new year, wherein I try to say more of the very foundations of this project.
So, yes, the staggering realisation that God now has a human heart was denied me for thirty four years, before I came to realise what a Sacrament is, what Christianity is and what the Church is.
And that staggering realisation lies at the heart of what this website, this weblog, in essence are.
For my own writing grows, quite naturally, out of who I am and what I have experienced.
Who am I and what have I experienced?
I think it fitting to try to answer those questions a little – given the nature of this new series about the essence of this site.
Now, there is a much, much longer piece at this website (here) which tries to answer those unanswerable questions. Any reader who really wants to know is referred to it.
But let me say now that I am a convert to the Faith and, for the moment, let me just draw some extracts from this longer piece:
I was born fifty years ago of English parents on the Western coast of America. And I grew up in both Britain and the United States.
One might observe, then, that I am quintessentially Anglo-American.
I am peculiarly marked by two great Protestant nations of modern times. Marked, I say. For a distinct effect of this marking was to render the Catholic Mystery virtually invisible to me for decades.
Herein, dear Reader, lies a key to this website that I lived the first thirty four years of my life amidst:
The peculiarly Anglophone blackout of the Holy Church. There is a cultural blanketing in the English-speaking world, which frequently buries the Catholic Church so deeply as to make Her not only invisible, but also incomprehensible – even when and if She is at last discovered.
But let me return to my childhood, which after my earliest years in California, mainly took place in a very ‘White Anglo-Saxon Protestant’ part of Oregon.
My upbringing was not especially religious, although my father possessed a deep faith in God, a gift beyond price to his son. When I was young, he read the Bible. Later, he turned to the Koran – but not before he taught me to pray the Pater Noster. And so as a child, I prayed to Our Father nightly – though I saw scarcely anything at all that pointed to Jesus Christ.
Still, all my early years, I believed in God – yet a God seen purely as transcendent. I would not know the Incarnate God, the Word who became Flesh and dwelt amongst us, until many years later.
Nothing in my childhood gave me a clue as to the Word who became particular and personal. Nothing showed me that since nearly two millennia, God now had a human heart …
God now had a human heart. It was only by entering the Catholic Mystery, dear Reader, that I came to understand something of the Mystery of the Sacred Heart.
And, as I say so often at this website devoted to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Cor Jesu Sacratissimum in Latin), it was not until I later went to live in Catholic Ireland and Catholic France that I saw this much more fully – as well as all that I had missed growing up in America and England.
This would happen above all in Paray-le-Monial, a sacred place in Eastern France, where St. Margaret Mary Alacoque beheld his Sacred Heart, beginning in 1673.
But I am getting ahead of myself. The point for now is that my entire early life was formed without knowing that God now had a human heart …
Yet as that great Pope Ven. Pius XII wrote in Haurietis Aquas in 1956:
[Christ’s] love was not entirely the spiritual love proper to God inasmuch as “God is a spirit.”
Undoubtedly the love with which God loved our forefathers and the Hebrew people was of this nature. For this reason the expressions of human, intimate, and paternal love which we find in the Psalms, the writings of the prophets, and in the Canticle of Canticles are tokens and symbols of the true but entirely spiritual love with which God continued to sustain the human race.
On the other hand, the love … of the Heart of Jesus Christ, expresses not only divine love but also human sentiments of love [Italics mine].
This is from Haurietis Aquas, the last great papal encyclical on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which Ven. Pius XII reflects at length on the intensely personal and human nature of Our Lord.
But my point for now is that this intensely personal and human nature of God – since the last two millennia – was lost to me as an Anglo-American growing up in a Protestant-cum-secular culture and having absolutely no inkling as to the (sacramental) nature of the Church …
This is why I turned to the New Age, as indeed do so many ‘Anglo-Americans’ like myself.
This remains something much less likely in Catholic France or even Catholic Ireland, even whilst the latter is now tragically overwhelmed by my own Anglo-American culture …
Here are things we will consider further as this little series unfolds.