June is a special month of particular devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, culminating on the June 11th the feast Day itself. It is a time when we can pray ‘Heart to Heart’, when ‘heart speaks to heart’.
As Pope Francis said:
“It is not us who first loved God,” it’s the other way around: “it is He who loved us first” he said. The Pope said the prophets used the symbol of the almond blossom to explain this reality highlighting the fact that the almond blossom is the first to bloom in spring. “God is like that: he is always first. He’s the first to wait for us, the first to love us, the first to help us”. (Pope Francis – Homily: Casa S. Marta, June 2018).
Nano Nagle and the Sacred Heart
Devotion to the Sacred Heart was central to the spirituality of Nano Nagle.
“Her great enterprise had been firmly rooted and held in a love that was both human and divine, whence she became a living icon of the compassionate heart of Jesus to the hungry and poor of Cork”.
This is now Sr. Anne Lyons, pbvm describes it in her recent book: “The Story of Nano Nagle: A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge”:
“Over a lifetime, God had painted His portrait in her. The Incarnate Love of the Gospel Jesus, daily contemplated, propelled her to his service”.
“Nano contemplated in stillness the fact that in Jesus the Word had become flesh and embraced our human condition. He was vulnerable, wounded, rejected, and paid the ultimate price of self-donating love. Once Nano was awakened to this mystery of the Incarnation, she moved to act with the self-same justice, to love the needy tenderly, and to walk humbly among them.
One imagines her before the tabernacle, leaning into the heart of Christ as she whispers, ‘What should I do? How do you wish me to play my part in healing this corner of the fractured and broken world?’”
“Caught by the passionate love of Jesus she, and subsequently her companions, were drawn to move from ‘the temple of riches to the tables of the poor’.
We too (as Nano Nagle did) can ask to understand better:
“What should I do? How do you wish me to play my part in healing my corner of a fractured and broken world?”
Prayer to the Sacred Heart
Lord Jesus Christ, you became one of us to reveal to us how much your Father loves each one of us. You reached out in love to the sinner and humble of heart. Your heart was full of compassion for the sick and disabled, for the bereaved, for the oppressed and the poor, and for all who felt the burden of their humanity too heavy to bear.
Be with us in our weakness and help us to raise our hearts and minds to you in trust. Give us loving hearts like yours so that we too may spread your love in the circles in which we move. Make our hearts gentle and humble so that we may have compassion for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
Replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. Open our eyes to the goodness and beauty in all your people and in all your creation. Bless us with hearts that are always ready to forgive.
Note: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began with the mystical visions of Jesus and his Sacred Heart, as revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation Sister living in the French town of Paray-le-Monial.
(Extract text used above is taken from Chapter 7 – Nano’s Spirituality: pages 45 and 46 of: “The Story of Nano Nagle: A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge”, by Sr. Anne Lyons, pbvm – Messenger Publications See Life lived on the ‘Razor’s Edge’ | Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland (presentationsistersne.ie)
See also: Global Sisters Report – An interview with Sr. Anne Lyons, pbvm on Ven. Nano Nagle
See also: Pope: ‘God’s love has no need for words but for concrete gestures’ – Vatican News
And: Prayers & Reflections | Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (mscmissions.ie)