CHAPTER XX. GLORIES OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS.
By VERY REV. ALEXIS M. LEPICIER, O.S.M. Consultor of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation, etc.
THE Heavenly Father was not content with adorning the Heart of His beloved Son made Man with admirable wisdom, with the purest and most ardent love, with an exalted sense of justice and with marvellous power— all attributes befitting, indeed, the King and Sovereign of our hearts. He also chose to surround Him with all those external signs of glory with which the heads of kings are encircled that their subjects may more easily recognize in them the majesty of God, from whom all power comes and whose authority they represent.
In that beautiful epithalamium which is the forty-fourth psalm, David tells of the glory with which God invested the adorable Person of His Son made Man. The Royal Prophet in sublime accents sings Our Lord's praises and His mystical espousals with the Church: "Thou art beautiful above the sons of men*
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee forever" (Ps. XLIV, 3.) Incomparable, indeed, are the prerogatives of the Heart of Jesus. Besides being full of grace and truth, He is presented to us in Holy Writ as: "Holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and made, higher than the heavens." (Heb. VII, 26.)
But the Most High had ordained that this inner beauty of Jesus should also be made manifest outwardly, and that the whole course of His mortal life should be lit up by the purest radiance of glory. First, He was glorious in His coming into this world, when the laws of nature were set aside for Him, He being conceived by a Virgin through the operation of the Holy Ghost. He was glorious in His birth, when He came forth from the virginal womb of our blessed Lady without diminishing her honour. He was glorious in His youth when, twelve years old, He who had had no schooling, held speech with the most famous doctors of the law in the principal city of Judea. He was glorious in His preaching, speaking as no man ever did before. He was glorious in His miracles, through which the multitude were brought to believe Him a Prophet. Glorious in His passion and death on the cross, where the incomparable qualities of His Heart shone with so divine a light. Glorious in His resurrection, marvellous in His ascension; most glorious in His sepulcher, which is, even for unbelievers, the object of so much competition: "And His sepulcher shall be glorious."
Great as was the halo of glory with which the Father surrounded His only-begotten Son in this life, far greater was that destined for Him on His departure from among men. What happened with Jesus is different from what happens among us. As long as one of our acquaintances, one of our friends, is alive, we are concerned about him, we think of him, we turn our affections toward him. But when he has left this world and a few years have gone by—who thinks any more about him? Even if at times the memory of his friendship and kindness comes into our minds, we scarcely recapture any of our former warmth of affection. Our love for him has rather grown cold, if indeed it has not died out altogether.
But with Jesus it is not so. Although we have not seen Him ourselves, although twenty centuries have well nigh elapsed since He left this world, although we know Him to be the target of innumerable contradictions and end less outrages, notwithstanding all this, the thought of Him is alive in the hearts of millions and millions of men who love Him with all the powers of their souls, ready to give up their lives for Him. The followers of Jesus have but one desire, that of seeing Him recognized by all as the most loving Saviour of mankind, as the King and Center of all hearts for all eternity.
With how much truth did Our Lord prophesy of Himself: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself " (John XII, 32.) Jesus, notwithstanding His shameful death, notwithstanding the centuries which have elapsed between His mortal days and our times, notwithstanding that His law imposes heavy sacrifices on men, is and always will be an object of the purest, holiest, strongest love on the part of millions and millions of men. And His divine Heart will remain the love-star which draws to itself the most noble and most generous hearts and lifts them up, transforming them into Himself, with the fire of His chaste love. Oh, truly, the Heart of Jesus is the masterpiece of the right hand of the Almighty.