Friday, 1 July 2011

" Sweet Heart of Jesus"

I found this painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the web site of a Catholic Church in Indiana, U.S. There is nothing there to say who painted it. As an amateur artist myself, I have tried - unsuccessfully - to produce my own images of the Sacred Heart. It is notoriously difficult to produce a good one - either the face is wrong or the depiction of the Heart is wrong (too small, too clinical, too off-putting etc). I suppose the devotion of the Sacred Heart is most often associated with "Catholic kitsch". The painting above is one of the best modern depictions I have seen; it does not try to do anything other than be a simple attempt to to encourage devotion. It is tasteful, clear and approachable.


Like many Catholics of my generation (born 1948) and before, the Sacred Heart has been a major influence in my life. I was brought up in a parish dedicated to The Sacred Heart and St. Bernard (so there was a Marian connection through the saint). I remember looking up to a small stained glass window high above the altar - a window containing a traditional 19th century depiction of the Sacred Heart. It was, and remains, beautiful. Our Lord is holding out His arms in blessing and greeting. When I was a young priest, I enthroned the Sacred Heart in the home and personally wrote the names of my parents (now both deceased) and brother and sister, and signed it as the priest enthroning it. That picture now hangs in my presbytery bedroom. On the picture, the words of the enthronement speak about the parting that will come with death, but as we are reminded in the Funeral Mass, this parting is neither complete nor lasting. I am a great advocate of the Enthronement.


When I first began to read the writings of Vassula Ryden (True Life in God) I had the distinct impression that the Person I had known all my life and grew to love as a Friend - the Sacred Heart of Jesus - was "speaking" there. I still have this very strong impression when I read those "messages" and I find nothing there incompatible with the faith I had as a child and grew into and studied later as a seminarian.


Below is another reminder of my childhood and the importance of the devotion - Regina Nathan, the extraordinary Irish soprano, singing "Sweet Heart of Jesus"


video

12 comments:

  1. Church of England reader1 July 2011 at 04:11

    What is the Enthronement?

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  2. I have two Sacred Heart pictures, one is an unsigned enthronement, (although I have had the house blessed) above and beside the television, also a small copy of a painting of Jesus, done by an American lady, after she saw him in a vision. The eyes seem to be looking at you wherever you are. I am not frightened of this at all. It evokes a very intimate and familiar sense of the reality of Jesus' presence, although I can sense this when on my own in the dark sometimes, much more powerfully so it isn't giving idol worship or anything like that. It certainly disciplines what's on the TV!

    I also found Vassula's words to be recognisably of God Himself, their atmosphere, so to speak. Challenging too.

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  3. Here is a good explanation of the Enthronement ceremony;http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=430

    The founder of the "Enthronement Movement" (just an encouragement to enthrone the Sacred Heart) was Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SS.CC, an unusual man. There is plenty of information on him on Google. he was given enthusiastic papal approval for his work in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart. So the movement dates from the early years of the 20th Century. Fr. Mateo was born in Peru and spent much of his life working in South America. He personally had to stop travelling in 1946 due to ill health but rallied in 1956 when he travelled to Chile, but his health did not hold out and he died, after much suffering, in 1960.
    During his "inactivity" he continued his nightly adoration (a practice he encouraged)and continued to write.

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  4. Thank you Father--I believe St Margaret Mary Alocoque was the person very involved with the Ssacred heart ,, could you explain how she is invloved

    Many thanks

    Barbara

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  5. Douay-Rheims Bible
    "For he that is not against you, is for you".
    Mark 9:40

    Thank you Father John for your story and what has influenced you on your journey,

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  6. I have a few pictures of Jesus with the Sacred Heart from my school days because my school was actually called Sacred Heart College.

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  7. I have a large painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that was given to my grandparents as a wedding present from the Archbishop of Liverpool.
    It has a paragraph underneath it written in Latin and signed by a Pope. I would love to find out more about it and if I ought to have it insured. Can anyone help please? Thank you

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    1. This question is for father John.
      Could you please tell me what is the website of the church in Indiana where you found this picture. I am searching to find out where this picture is located and who is the painter?
      Thank you in advance for any information that you can provide me with.

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  8. I will back track and try to find the source of the painting, but it is some time since I found it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you father.

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    2. The Sacred Heart painting is by a Milwaukee artist named Marilyn Hamman. She died of cancer a few years ago. She never copyrighted the image because she wanted it to be spread around the world and draw people closer to God's love. Marilyn was a member of the Apostleship of Prayer in the U.S. and I am the director here. We have holy cards with this image and the Morning Offering on the back. See our web site: www.apostleshipofprayer.org

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  9. Thank you Father! I am sure many will see this as an answer to prayer. Since I put the picture here so MANY people have seen it, and continue to view it - and obviously elsewhere too. I'm sure the graces being given through it are immense.

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