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Friday, June 15, 2012

How to Freak Out a Protestant: On the Feastday of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Gabriel Wüger [Public domain],
 via Wikimedia Commons
There are a few ways.  Mary is always somewhere on the list, but here is the way that is pertinent to this particular day...

*Be devoted to a body part.*

Protestant heads will spin.

Those images of Jesus and his heart...pierced hearts...disembodied hearts...they are just freaky, right?  Protestant friends, I get it.  I was a Lutheran once, remember?

But here is the thing...

Roman Catholicism has been around for a long while. Just how long depends upon your views...but no one will debate that it's been a long time.  So, we can't very well look at its traditions without a view of history.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. ~ Matt. 11:29

One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart 
that you can’t utter.” ~James Earl Jones

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.  ~ Confucius

[[File:Herz Jesu (Portal Herz-Jesu-Kirche Bernau).jpg
|Herz Jesu (Portal Herz-Jesu-Kirche Bernau)]]
Catholicism is old, but not so old as some allegories.  One such allegory is the representation of the emotions, the will, strength, determination, and the moral conscious by reference to the human heart.  Aspects of that analogy were alive and well in the Holy Land in which Jesus walked...and in Hebrew writing and thought before he arrived. We humans have been talking about feeling, believing, and loving things with our "hearts" for a long time.

One of the significant aspects of liturgical Christianity, including Roman Catholicism, is that it is not averse to representing the spiritual via the physical.  Liturgical Christians experience, and meet, God, with their senses.  So, with Catholics being what they are, and worshiping as they do, they sometimes represent the will, purity, and unparalleled love of Jesus...the love in his heart... by a heart. 

Simple as that.

Whether one likes it or not, one can understand it, yes?

More than a few Baptists have given thanks for the love of Christ, and have given honor to that love.  It just looks a little different when one is a Baptist.

Take a look at the image, over a church doorway, pictured above.  Regardless of the "type" of church building we enter each Sunday, didn't we all, ...each one of us..., enter the doorway of Christianity through the love that flows from the heart of Jesus Christ?

To my Catholic friends, I understand that there is multifaceted depth to the tradition of the Sacred Heart, and I don't mean to minimize it.  I just think that the concept of the Sacred Heart is one that is foreign to most Protestants and that it merits some basic understandings.

As I have said before, it's a difficult world out there; Christians might as well profer one another grace.

(As always, dear friends, if I am in error about aspects of your neighborhood of Christianity, please correct me.) 

Pax Christi, dear ones,

And may we, each one of us, give some thought ....on this Feastday of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, ... to the sacred, unmerited, and immeasurable love of our Lord Jesus Christ,



If that one made you frown, you might enjoy upping the crankiness factor with this one:

Blessed John Paul XXIII on a personal relationship with Jesus: Living Solely for Him @ The Breadbox Letters


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  1. Love your title! I just had to see the article. I'm not any of your choices to the left but Jesus is my Redeemer. We all believe in and love the same God...we just have different ways of showing it. Good post! Hopping from Deep Roots at Home.

  2. You didn't freak me out but I don't consider myself a "protestant". Was raised Catholic though I prefer a church that uses the Bible as their main guide for truth. I've been through the Bible myself a few times now seeking God & truth. You won't find anything about the "sacred heart of Jesus". You will find that we can grieve God & we can grieve the Holy Spirit with sin. If you are looking for what gives life according to the Bible, it is the Spirit of God. This is poured out upon us through believing Jesus' death on the cross brings salvation. Personally I would add repentance & baptism to that( the protestants don't like that though!) Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

    1. I do call myself a Protestant. Immensely valuable, isn't it, this opportunity that we have for dialogue among Christians? My intent here is not to argue doctrine or practice, but to foster understanding, and to encourage each of us to share the love of Christ. Different expressions of Christianity experience and express that love in different ways, and in the context of different cultural and experiential backgrounds, as they live in thanksgiving for the priceless gift of free grace. Whether one includes Sacred Tradition as a source of value in ones Christian experience, or feels, instead that non-Biblical means the same thing as unbiblical...what an indescribable gift we have in the person, and grace of Jesus Christ Our Lord, and the Salvation gained through him alone.

  3. I have great respect and appreciation for the rich history and symbolism in the Roman Catholic Church, and I appreciate your desire for understanding and unity.

    "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:22-23

  4. Your title is really catchy so I had to read what you had to say! :) Great post! I pretty much agree with everyone else - so long as we are all loving Jesus and worshiping him, then I don't mind if we do it a little differently. :) I had never heard about the sacred heart either - thanks for that explanation! Be blessed! :) Lauren,

  5. I am not Protestant and very much consider myself liturgical as an Orthodox. However, we aren't as big into "devotional" images such as the sacred heart. Our icons have a lot of mystery to them which is multi faceted or layered so to speak. I find that the devotional images tend to become over commercialized and watered down. Coming from the very ancient church myself I thought it important to note that not all liturgical worshippers follow Anglican/Roman Catholic symbolism and some of us would even argue this to not be a part of the original church, yet we share more in common with you than the Protestants in other ways...just food for thought.

    1. I am always grateful for the Orthodox voice. It tends to be drowned out in our Western culture. Thanks so much for chiming in! You're right; I tend to lump "liturgical Christians" together. This is largely because I don't want to "leave anyone out". Perhaps though, I sometimes fail to point out the uniqueness of the many and various liturgical traditions. I do, also, recognize the claim of Orthodoxy to be the New Testament church. I do not believe that claim is a weak one.

      The concept of the Sacred Heart, is, to my knowledge, singularly Roman Catholic. It is certainly not part of Anglican patrimony or practice. I do believe, though, that one ought, at least, understand, where other Christians are "coming from". The pursuit of mutual understanding does not preclude loyalty to, and maintenance of the richness and distinctiveness of, our own cherished traditions...even if our belief is that our own tradition is uniquely authentic and true.

  6. Indeed, Christians should understand each other. Our Metropolitan Jonah just did a speech for the Anglican church last week to bridge the gap between us. You may find it interesting to read..

  7. Hi Michelle, I found your post quite interesting. The title of course, was what captured me first! I sometimes forget, that the Feast days we celebrate as Catholics, that have been around hundreds and hundreds of years, is only a Catholic celebrated day. So, my thought is "Oh Protestants don't celebrate or recognize this day?"

    I would like to to invite you to add your post onto our Feast of the Sacred Heart link up over on my blog. I think many would enjoy your post as I did!

    1. Noreen's link festival:

      Thanks Noreen, =)

  8. Great post:) I am Protestant myself and always believe it doesn't matter how you worship just that you do:) Thanks for linking up to the NOBH. BTW I love you background, Callie Lilies were in my wedding bouquet:)

  9. I am a Lutheran and surprisinglly I pray the devotion to the Sacred Heart. I find it very meaningful.
    I agree with Kim that some day, God only knows when, that as Christians we will all be one. Oh I do pray so. For we love the Lord and no matter Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant our hearts belong to Him.


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