By Rev. Joseph J. C. Petrovits, J.C.B., S.T.L.
In the earthly life of Christ it is possible to point out human, divine, and mixed acts. Though one divine Person, He possessed two natures, two wills, and therefore, two loves. All His acts were subordinated to His divine will and love. His divine nature makes use of the operation of the human nature, as its instrument, and in the same way His human nature shares in the operation of the divine nature as an instrument shares in the operation of the principal agent.
Thus, it is always the ever-existing Person that is acting. The words He expresses are eternal truths. His divine intellect puts the words of eternal wisdom into language which our imperfect understanding can grasp. Hence, the use of parables for the sake of illustration. Man is so constituted that by means of a visible image he can more easily form a concept of something invisible. The importance of this truism is accentuated by St. Paul when he expresses Himself to the effect that " The invisible things of Him [God], from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made."
In order to exemplify in a visible manner the love of God towards mankind, Christ employed His human nature. It is for this reason that He was made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man, "but without sin. He made use of the same words, and meant to convey the same meaning by them as men ordinarily do. Therefore, the words He used on the occasion of His apparition to Blessed Margaret Mary, viz., Behold the Heart which has loved men so much are to be interpreted in their obvious signification. The word heart in this connection ought not to be deprived of the wealth of meaning which the popular mind, in common parlance, is accustomed to associate with the term. We know, as a matter of fact, that its symbolism has never been limited to the created love, for in the Old Testament heart symbolized the love of God. This latter symbolism therefore, refers to the plenitude of that purely divine love of which the pre-incarnate love is only a part. Hence, it would be rather difficult to adduce convincing arguments to justify the statement of those theologians who maintain that the symbolical representation of the Heart in the New Testament has narrowed down to the created love.
God was pleased with the Temple Solomon erected in His honor. " I have chosen, and have sanctified this place, that my name may be there forever, and my eyes and my heart may remain there perpetually." The word heart in this passage has always been taken as a metaphorical expression for God's love. Without multiplying examples we can see that the word heart may symbolize even that love which the divine Persons entertained for us before the Incarnation.