Saturday, 24 September 2016

Devotion to The Sacred Heart, Its Theology, History and Philosophy part 30.

Without dwelling on this point any longer, it may be concluded that, physiologically speaking, the connection between the heart and the emotions is sufficiently close to authorize the statement that the heart is an indirect organ of the appetitive faculties. As such it participates in all the emotions, whereof none is stronger than love. The heart being thus conceived, it may be said that the Heart of Jesus is an organ united to the appetitive faculty of His human nature. In this sense it is the partial seat, organ and instrumental cause of all the acts and affection, and of all the virtues of our divine Lord. Hence, it is a partial seat, organ and instrument of the love of Christ.

Let us now enumerate some of the principal acts which Christ performed on earth, and bring them into correlation with His Sacred Heart. His divine Person assumed a human nature. For numerous reasons one of the most noble parts of the latter was His Heart. His ever-existing divine life consecrated this Heart, which to Him was the source of His human life. The infinitely holy, incomparably sacred thoughts, acts and virtues which He performed through the instrumentality of His body, sanctified His Sacred Heart, and elevated it to a dignity which cannot be perfectly portrayed and comprehended in its reality except by an intellect rivalling the divine. Our Redemption was accomplished by the suffering and death of Christ. These, while affecting all the organic parts of His body individually, in a special manner affected His Heart, which, according to a long-adopted and scientifically confirmed principle, is among the first organs to live and among the last to die.

Again, we were redeemed by the shedding of Christ's blood, the consecrated receptacle whereof was His Sacred Heart. As the Heart is the cause of the circulatory motion of the blood, it is also the determining cause of its effusion in the different stages of Our Saviour's passion, whether we contemplate His bloody sweat, caused by vehement impulses affecting His Heart, or the wounds inflicted by the executioners. By the divine power of the Logos He could have prevented the blood, shed so lavishly for our salvation, from oozing out, but He preferred to empty His Heart for the love of mankind. In addition to these reasons, this Heart merits a very special veneration on account of the wound inflicted on it by the lance.

Leroy expresses the same opinion. Applying to the Sacred Heart the results of his physiologico-psychological investigation concerning the functions of the heart, he says: " The Sacred Heart in its supersensual meaning (love) is the supreme primary divine cause, as well as the principal secondary human cause of the Redemption of mankind. In its obvious sense it is the living carnal organ of Christ, and as such it is the most congruous symbol illustrative of the two above mentioned operations of Redemption. It is, moreover, according to a probable opinion, the proper organ and principal seat of the principal second cause of the mysteries of the Redemption, vis., the appetitive faculty of Christ, which is His human love; therefore, it is also an instrumental cause in the consummation of the same mysteries. Combining the material and the formal object, we say that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the meritorious cause of the whole Redemption, and especially of some of its effects."

In endeavoring to point out the intimate relationship between the heart and the brain, and participation of the former in man's emotional sentiments, it was not our intention to create the false impression that such close connection is a conditio sine qua non of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart. Even if the theory of modern physiologists would undergo a change, and all interrelation between the heart and the brain be eliminated, the result would in no way affect this Devotion, If the coherence existing between the heart and the brain, according to the modern physiological theory, is real, then the foregoing conclusions are entirely justifiable. Such a function of the heart would aid us in the practice of this
devotion, for it would render its formal object more tangible. If, on the other hand, no such correlation could be established, a discrepancy would indeed arise between the interpretation of a phase of modern science and our symbolism, but the Devotion need not necessarily suffer from it. In religious matters the Church does not depend upon the shifting sands which form the foundation of so many interpretations given to so-called human sciences. This devotion deals with something spiritual, something appertaining to faith, and its symbolism has sufficient warrant apart from the function of the heart as interpreted by present-day physiologists.