DeMARCO: Looking to the wounded, royal heart of Jesus
July 12, 2022
The Sacred Heart of Jesus. (Herald Archives)
What is there to say about our Lord’s most sacred heart that hasn’t already been said by more respectable people and in more eloquent ways than me? I suppose what I can offer to you is a new perspective on this image and devotion. Let’s take a look at this image through the lens of trying to minister to the young people of our Church. How can the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ possibly relate to the youth of today?
It is Bloody and Wounded
Somewhere along the way, young people got the idea that the Church was for the “righteous” and the “perfect.” That if their lives were messy and broken in any sort of way, they had to first figure it out and “get it together” before approaching God at the altar.
When we look at His Sacred Heart, we see a giant, gaping wound. We see that it is bleeding and pouring out, spilling blood everywhere. It is messy and wounded. Young people are all too familiar with this internal pain and ache. But what they aren’t always aware of is that Christ felt it too.
Just look at His heart. We must encourage teens to unite their sufferings, their pain, and their woundedness to His. Not only does this help them to realize that they are not wrong or broken for being so wounded, but that they are not alone. Their sufferings have value — eternal value — just as our Lord’s did.
It is on Fire with Passion
Young people are deeply aware of their passion. They have not fallen into the same trap that we adults have of living a routine and predictable life of Monday thru Friday, 9 to 5. For them, every day holds adventure and new things to explore.
Most teens these days, however, turn this passion and desire toward the things of the world. Looking for the latest trend on social media, trying the newest video game or delving into drugs. But the fire that burns so fervently with desire in their heart is the same one that burns in our Lord’s heart, even if they haven’t realized such.
Instead of shaming teens for such wild desires, let us remind them that they are not weird or defective for having this.
In fact, it was placed there by God to drive them into a further relationship with Him. Their deep longing, their insatiable appetite, can be directed towards the Lord and ultimately sanctify them in the process.
It is Crowned as Royalty
The world does not believe in young people. It markets to them because it figures they are an easy target — susceptible to their own impulses and to the pressure from their peers. However, Holy Mother Church has always believed in young people.
\Instead of saying things like, “Oh well, they’re going to have sex anyway, might as well teach them how to do it safely.” The Church has stood firm and said, “No, they are not animals operating on instincts alone. They have an intellect and a will, and they have the strength to say “no” in moments of temptation and practice chastity.”
The Church believes in young people and recognizes that by their Baptism, they are priests, prophets and kings. Yes, these young people whom we sometimes shake our heads at because we do not understand their ways; they are kings. They are royalty.
We, as adults, must remind them of this. When they are feeling insecure about their bodies, incompetent due to their low grades, or like a failure because they didn’t make the varsity sports team, we must remind them of their true identity in Christ — as a beloved child of God.
We must affirm them of their royalty. They are heirs to the Kingdom and have simply lost sight of that amidst the chaos of this world. They are the future of our Church.
May the image of the Most Sacred Heart draw us, and young people everywhere, ever closer to the Lord.
Breanne DeMarco is the youth minister at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Katy.