Youth: Drawing further up, further in to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
June 13, 2017
In his epic Chronicles of Narnia saga the author C.S. Lewis paints a vivid picture of the spiritual life. If you have not read all seven books in this series, or have not re-read them as an adult, I encourage you to do so; there is a good chance that it will be a lion’s breath of fresh air to your faith.
In the final book of the series, “The Last Battle,” the land of Narnia comes to a dramatic end; the heroes and heroines find themselves in what C.S. Lewis calls “Aslan’s Country,” which is an analogy for heaven itself. Although they have all died (sorry for the spoiler) they feel more alive and more vital than they ever did before. Aslan’s Country appears to expand on and on forever, with nothing on the horizon accept a single mountain which itself stretches up and up with no end in sight.
As the characters begin to explore the everlasting country they feel drawn towards the mountain. With a sense of complete awe and excitement one of them says, “I have come home at last! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I did not know it till now... Come further up and further in.”
Within the tiny white host of the Eucharist is contained the entire body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ our Lord. Similarly, within His most sacred heart is contained the unlimited vastness of eternity and the celestial heights of heaven. The sacred heart of Jesus has no limits. There is no person who lies outside of its love, and no sin which cannot be cleansed by its mercy. Like the adventurers of Narnia we must continually move further up and further in to the Sacred Heart.
As members of the Catholic Church we are part of the mystical body of Christ. We are one with Him in the Eucharist, but must daily seek to be one with Him in heart, mind and soul. Christ wants to draw us into His sacred heart. In doing so He does not make us less, rather He makes us more. As St. John Paul II often reminded us: “Christ the Redeemer fully reveals man to Himself.”
There are two movements required in this spiritual exchange. God, as always, acts first. By His very being He draws each of us into the loving folds of His sacred heart. The second movement calls for a personal response from each Christian. We must willingly unite our heart with the heart of Christ. Once we have done that, our heart will rejoice when His heart rejoices, and our heart will break when His heart breaks.
When our hearts are one with the eternal heart of God we will be able to continue the mission of Christ which He has entrusted to the Church. The Second Vatican Council begins its pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world by stating that: “The joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”
May we all have the courage draw further up and further in to the sacred heart of Jesus. May we all have the humility to unite our hearts with His; and in doing so, may we truly make the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the whole world our own.
Brian Henritze is an associate director of the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.