This life, this world is a cold, cruel, arbitrary, brutal place. We know this. What saves us from total despair? His tenderness of Heart. Mt 11:28-29.
-by Charlie Johnson, a former Calvinist, is embracing his new Catholic faith.
“The world, it seems, is full of both crisis and triumph. The world’s problems can make any compassionate person feel helpless. The world’s problems can give any cynic his fodder. The triumphs? Well, often they can be hard to locate. Usually because they are small things. I saw a woman on TV handing out bottles of water to refugees in Hungary and I cried. What a beautiful thing. I can’t do that. I am not in Hungary. But I can do some small things. I can promote some small kindness today. A small kindness is a great triumph.
I have found that most people are rather pessimistic about the world. I know I have been. And seeds of that are probably still evident in my daily milieu. But when I discover truth – the truth of kindness -, it gives me immense hope. Once upon a time, when I suffered greatly under the weight of such intense existential questioning and depression, I never imagined I could experience a sustained disposition of joy. But this kindness has brought me great joy.
A Christian will not have an effective religion unless he sees its source. It is true that a man died for the lost and downtrodden. But a message of salvation, I think, is insufficient if there is no Great Affection intrinsically attached to it. I was a Christian for a long, long time before I knew that God liked me and smiled at my presence. God has great affection for me. And a kind heart – the likes of which no other kindness can match.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is an image that provokes a confused reaction in me. I want to recoil at the sight of it. A bleeding heart, punctured by thorn. But then I cannot take my eyes off it. There is no greater symbol for human nature than the heart. The thing that keeps the blood going, giving life.
I cannot escape it no matter how much I try. I have tried to come up with a better answer. But all I know is that the most effective religious observance is knowing the kindness of Christ. When I have hated myself the only remedy I can find is kindness. When I have hated others the only remedy that has sorted me out is kindness. When the world goes black to me and all I see are grim faces of disapproval, the only remedy is the affectionate smile of a Savior.
The Sacred Heart tells us of Jesus’ humanity. That he is not an abstract idea or fanciful thought meant to encourage positive emotions. The Sacred Heart imagines the heart of Jesus, exposed and aflame with life. It is crowned with thorns, pierced through by an instrument meant to usurp his status as king. He wears it gladly. I keep the image of the sacred heart close to me because it reminds me of his burning love when I get jaded.
The most important thing ever is knowing Jesus and the tenderness of his Sacred Heart.”
“O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place our trust in Thee!” -traditional McCormick family aspirational prayer.