Friday, 7 October 2016

Devotion to The Sacred Heart, Its Theology, History and Philosophy part 41.

By  Rev. Joseph J. C. Petrovits, J.C.B., S.T.L.

IX. Father Ramiere, who devoted his whole life to the interpretation and propagation of this Devotion, is very explicit when treating of this double love. " The uncreated love, the eternal love, is not alien to the Devotion to the Sacred Heart. In fact the soul of Jesus from its creation was sanctified by this love, and His human love was, so to say, entirely penetrated by the same. If in the Devotion to the Sacred Heart the human love is the direct object of our homage, the uncreated love is the motive which ennobles and stimulates it."

X. The statement of Father Vignat is very  a propos. The love of the human nature of Christ is only an instrument on which the love of His divine nature acts. Therefore, we cannot comprehend the one thoroughly without seeing the other manifesting itself simultaneously.

XL Bainvel contends that the created love of Christ is set in motion by His uncreated love. Therefore, the latter is united to the former by the intimate link of causality. He admits that the uncreated love does not find its direct echo in the Heart of flesh, but its sounds reverberate in that Heart by having produced this created echo, viz., the love of the carnal Heart.

XII. Father Roothan may be considered an advocate of the opinion which excludes the uncreated love from the Devotion to the Sacred Heart. By the love of the Sacred Heart he means only that love which induced Jesus Christ to become our victim during His whole life after His conception, but, above all, in His passion and death and in the Blessed Eucharist.

XIII. Alvery is the staunchest advocate in favor of the non-separation of the two loves in the Devotion to the Sacred Heart. He points out clearly that the created love is not adored as taken by itself, but as united with the uncreated love. He does not censure those who relegate the uncreated love to the background by reserving the foreground for the created love. But he insists that, while in our worship the latter may take the first place, such a fact would not militate against the possibility of rendering honors to the former. Through the created love one must endeavor to reach the uncreated love. While we may tarry awhile at the first, we must not stop there, but it is our duty to contemplate the love which is absolutely infinite.

XIV. Father Vermeersch, who was instrumental in creating a wide interest and discussion on the subject under consideration, gives expression to the view that in the strict sense the complete object of the Devotion is the Word of God loving us in His human nature. In a more comprehensive sense it is the Word of God loving us with that uncreated love which induced Him to descend from Heaven to earth, and with that created love which manifested itself especially on Calvary and in the Blessed Eucharist The special object, in the strict sense, is the Heart of Christ symbolizing His created charity, and in a wider sense the same Heart as symbolizing the created and the uncreated love.

We shall refrain from multiplying quotations to show the differences of opinion among the present-day theologians. It may be stated, however, that the variations in some instances are quite irrelevant. Some wish to exclude the uncreated love, whereas others maintain that it must be included as a partial formal object. Those who would leave out the uncreated love support their arguments with the statement that the early exponents of this Devotion gave very little consideration or none at all, to the notion of the pre-incarnate love. This contention is admissible, but it does not justify the conclusion drawn from it. It is not legitimate to infer that the early spiritual writers meant to exclude the uncreated love because they accentuated the idea of the created love to the detriment of the former. Their attitude in this matter may be explained by the fact that the Church, for a long time, gave no expression to her belief in this respect, and they did not feel justified in taking the initiative.

It is rather surprising that even at this late date a lack of uniformity prevails on this point among theologians. This is traceable to the fact that the decrees of the Sacred Congregation are not sufficiently explicit. It may be said that, while certain pronouncements warrant the inclusion of the uncreated love in the Devotion to the Sacred Heart, these are mostly indirect utterances. Thus, while the field may be open for speculative consideration, the sources at our disposal are of such weight that they will not permit the exclusion of the uncreated love from the Devotion to the Sacred Heart. We shall explain this last statement by citing some of those decrees which directly concern the formal object, and are calculated to shed light on this point.