Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Sacred Heart

Tonight I want to show you some of the Sacred Heart images I have drawn over the past few years.  All of them have been shown in previous postings, but I have chosen to review them at this time because the Church celebrates the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on July 1st this year.  And since this posting is the closest one to July 1st, I decided to talk a bit about the devotion to the sacred heart of Christ Jesus.  If this is a topic that does not interest you, then feel free to skip to the photos towards the end of this posting.

Since all of these images are drawn in the traditional manner of icons, you might assume that the practice of honouring the heart of Jesus is part of the Orthodox tradition which gave us icons in the first place.  Your assumption would be wrong.  Occasionally an Orthodox iconographer will attempt to show the fullness of the love of God for mankind by depicting Our Lord pointing to His heart, but his or her work is likely not to be very well received in the eastern churches as this view of Christ is not part of the eastern tradition.  Such depictions of Our Lord are definitely part of the heritage of the Latin-rite churches, i..e. the Catholic Church.

The history of this tradition in the Catholic Church is fascinating and I am pasting in a description of this history by the well-known Catholic, on-line author, Scott P. Richert.  Here is what he has to say about it all.

"Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back at least to the 11th century, but through the 16th century, it remained a private devotion, often tied to devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ. The first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated on August 31, 1670, in Rennes, France, through the efforts of Fr. Jean Eudes (1602-1680). From Rennes, the devotion spread, but it took the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) for the devotion to become universal.

In all of these visions, in which Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus played a central role. The “great apparition,” which took place on June 16, 1675, during the octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi, is the source of the modern Feast of the Sacred Heart. In that vision, Christ asked St. Margaret Mary to request that the Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated on the Friday after the octave (or eighth day) of the Feast of Corpus Christi, in reparation for the ingratitude of men for the sacrifice that Christ had made for them. The Sacred Heart of Jesus represents not simply His physical heart but His love for all mankind.

The devotion became quite popular after St. Margaret Mary’s death in 1690, but, because the Church initially had doubts about the validity of St. Margaret Mary’s visions, it wasn’t until 1765 that the feast was celebrated officially in France. Almost 100 years later, in 1856, Pope Pius IX, at the request of the French bishops, extended the feast to the universal Church. It is celebrated on the day requested by our Lord—the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, or 19 days after Pentecost Sunday."

Now let me make a few comments about my drawings.

The one at the beginning of this posting is the icon I consider to be my definitive Sacred Heart icon thus far.  It is the one I used in my most recent book when I talked about novenas to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The Greek which you see on this icon and on a couple of the others says, in various ways, Sacred Heart or Holy Heart.

This icon is a variation on the first one.  It is just a bit more stylized and shows Our Lord with extremely large eyes indicating compassion and love.  I almost used this icon in my book instead of the previous one, but decided against it for various personal reasons.

This icon of the Sacred Heart is the most different of the four variations shown in this posting.  I chose to attempt to depict the love of God shown by the wounded heart of Christ by illustrating one of the most precious moments in the last hours of our Lord's life prior to His arrest and crucifixion.  This icon attempts to show that moment at the final meal of Christ with his apostles where we are told in scripture that St. John was resting his head on the heart of Jesus.  I marvel to think of St. John being blessed by his ability at that moment to hear the heart of Jesus beating, beating, beating.  That heart so full of love for us all that Our Lord would soon allow it to be pierced by a Roman soldier's lance.

This icon was my very first attempt to draw a depiction of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I remember at the time thinking to myself that I wanted to show a "modern" concept of this image.  This explains why I tried to find a way of showing the Sacred Heart that was different from those normally seen either in icons or in western-type art.  I personally feel that my attempt was a failure because I ended up with a drawing that appears very contrived.  Unlike the other three drawings, I have never used this one for any public purpose.

"Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Your love for me."


Now, since July 1st is also Canada Day, I am posting a recent photograph I came across showing the "iconic" Canadian animal -- the beaver!

Happy Canada Day, 2011

This little guy looks as though he has been very busy, thoroughly messing up a nice stream somewhere -- cutting down little trees and creating a dam so that now there is a lake where a stream used to be!  Well, you can't blame him -- he is only doing what he was created to do.

Charlie's Angels
Here is a photo I came across recently.  Immediately, when I first saw this picture, I thought to myself "this looks just like the opening sequence of Charlie's Angels only with cats instead of Farrah Fawcett, et al."

For those of you who are old enough to remember the TV show, here is the poster that was used to advertise the show for many years.  This is what the three little kittens advancing menacingly toward the viewer reminded me of immediately.   

Just thinking back to the first year this show was on TV makes me marvel at how non-violent even the so-called violent detective shows were back then. 

Speaking of violence, I would hate to think about what will happen when those three kittens latch onto those wiggling toes that they obviously are focused on!

And speaking of cats (we were, weren't we?),  I can report that Suki is doing very well even though she suffered through a very difficult and upsetting day.  Today was the day that the lady came who brings out that terrible monster that makes so much noise and is so determined to suck up everything in its path, including cat's tails -- (I think she is talking about the vacuum cleaner!).  To translate, the cleaning lady came and vacuumed my floor in a vain effort to remove all the cat fur still remaining after a week wherein I used the Swiffer every day!

Truly I do not understand how Suki can possibly still have any hair on her body when I see how much ends up on the floor.  I keep threatening to have her shaved and she then turns around and threatens to call the Humane Society and report me!  This is the problem with having a smart cat.

Other than my ongoing struggles with Suki, I am doing fine.  I am still all curled over like a snail, but I have a lot less pain at the moment -- something for which I am very grateful.  I see the newest doctor soon and he will perhaps be able to help me.  Meanwhile, I continue to thank God for His goodness to me.

And so I  pray that the peace of God will be with us all.  I also want to wish everyone a blessed Feast of the Sacred Heart on July 1st, and I especially want to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day, 2011!

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