On June 16, the Church celebrated the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is a day in which, liturgically and spiritually, we as a Church give thanks and praise to the God who is Love Incarnate, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
This feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a day of us taking the time to realize the simple yet profound truth that God is love, and that from Christ’s beating, bleeding, pleading heart we see the burning furnace of his desire to save us.
The feast of the Sacred Heart is also the day of prayer for the sanctification of priests, and it is a day on which Bishop Robert Brennan has asked us, as the people of God in the diocese which he shepherds, to pray specifically for the bishops, priests, and seminarians of the diocese.
Let us examine all three aspects of what is described above.
First, that simple statement, one that can fall so tritely off our lips, one we have become so used to hearing that we as a Christian people can forget its tremendous impact: “God is Love.”
Recognizing that love that our Triune God has for us is such a gift. If there was only a single individual ever created, God still would have become incarnate, taken on flesh, to save that one.
In addition to showing the “hesed” (the loving kindness) of the Lord, the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a day for reparations for offenses made against the Heart of Christ. This is particularly important in our present age. Think about the outrageous attacks against the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist in Astoria, the attacks against churches and chapels in East Elmhurst, not to mention the incident of honoring an anti-Catholic group that mocks women religious in Los Angeles.
We need to pray for the world to the Sacred Heart. Add onto that the slaughter of millions in abortion mills in New York state and beyond; the continuous attack on Christian values of marriage and family; a general misunderstanding in the culture of the dignity of the human body; lack of respect for the elderly and the differently abled; a culture of racism and sexism; the society’s call for euthanasia and for the expansion of the death penalty; and a lack of respect for migrants seeking a better life, and we have so much for which to pray to the Sacred Heart.
Finally, we as Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens, need to heed the plea of our bishop. He asked us for prayers for himself, priests, and seminarians. Pray for Bishop Emeritus DiMarzio and Auxiliary Bishops Massa, Mroziewski, and Tiedemann. Pray for our Auxiliary Bishops Emeriti Chappetto, Cisneros, and Sanchez. Pray for those retired priests in the Bishop Mugavero Residence in Douglaston and in rectories, nursing homes, and private residences who have given their lives to faithfully serve the people of God. Pray for our pastors and our parochial vicars, our chaplains in hospitals, cemeteries, high schools, colleges, and in the military. Pray for those priests who work in diocesan administration, in vocation work, and in priestly formation as professors. Pray for our seminarians who are being formed in St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, Pope Saint John XXIII Seminary in Massachusetts, St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, and the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Finally, Bishop Brennan has asked us to pray for him to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. In this month of June, a month dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us offer up an Our Father for Bishop Brennan, our shepherd.