by Boudreaux, Florentin, 1821-1894
Chapter II. The Humility of the Sacred Heart.
"Learn of me because I am meek and humble of heart.”— Matt. xi. 29.
THE love of Jesus for our fallen race is the light which illumines the whole region of the Paradise of His Sacred Heart, into which we have just been admitted. The rays of that sun gild the bright words which we saw inscribed on the portals of this garden of delights: “Learn of me because I am meek and humble of heart .’ Its light pervades the entire region; it is to be our constant guide. It diffuses itself over the lovely landscape ; it paints all the flowers in their varied hues ; it ripens all the fruits and gives them their rich colors and their luscious tastes. It slumbers on the bosom of the placid lake, sparkles in the playful fountain, and glimmers in the rippling stream. It glows on the mountain-top, and steals into the deep recesses of grove and valley ; everywhere making all things glad and bright and rich and beautiful by the divine magic of its living light. The love of Jesus for our fallen race is the reality which the symbol of His Sacred Heart represents. For, as the heart is the consecrated type of love, so the Heart of Jesus is the figure or symbol of the love of Jesus, of His love for us. It is true that the living and beating Heart of the Saviour, that Heart of flesh which sends His sacred blood tingling through His veins, that Heart which, like the other portions of the human nature assumed by the Eternal Word, has become a part of the sacred Person of the Man-God, is, by the very fact of the hypostatic union, worthy of profoundest adoration as the Heart of God ; yet, nevertheless, it is true to say, that the principal object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the inexhaustible love for us of which it is the seat and the symbol. It is to this love especially that He Himself called our attention when He deigned to propose His Heart to our veneration.
“Behold" He said, “ this Heart, which has loved mankind so much; which has spent and exhausted itself in giving proofs of its love.” And if this is so, if the Heart of Jesus is the love of Jesus, then it follows that the virtues of the Sacred Heart are the virtues of the love of Jesus; that is to say, the virtues which Jesus practised through love of us, either that we might have such models as we need, or that we might receive, through the merits which His virtues acquired, the pardon, the grace, the reward which of ourselves we should forever have been unable to reach. The humility of the Sacred Heart is, then, the humility of the love of Jesus, or the humility of Jesus through love for us; the humility which He practised to give us the strongest possible motive for imitation. And this virtue He places on a level with meekness, as His first lesson : “ Learn of me to be meek and humble of heart.” For Himself, He needed not the virtue of humility. Indeed it would be difficult to find two terms more opposed to one another, less compatible with one another, than “ humility ” and “ the Son of the Most High.” In Him all was great and noble, and worthy of all praise and glory. Even if we consider only His human nature, though, as a created nature, it is infinitely below the divine, yet even that is the very acme of human perfection. In mind, in soul, in body, nothing under God is more glorious, more gifted, more worthy of admiration and of eternal praise, than the Humanity of the Son of God. Humility, therefore, seems to have no place in Him; because humility depresses, makes lowly, obscures and effaces ; and He is, by nature, the centre to which all honor tends ; He is, by nature, at the summit of all things, the crowning glory of the universe. But His wise love for us knew too well the necessity of this virtue for us, and the almost insurmountable repugnance of our fallen nature to whatever depresses and lowers it, to be satisfied with mere precept without example. Pride was the cause of our fall. “ Pride is the beginning of all sin,” says Ecclesiasticus (xv. 10).