As we reflect upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus today, we can’t help but feel that it’s fitting to celebrate our Heavenly Father just two days before we celebrate our earthly fathers.
Christ gave Himself to us on the cross. He didn’t have to. He succumbed to those who hated Him out of pure love for us. He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross and His heart pierced with a sword. Even as Christ hung tortured and bleeding, His merciful heart poured out a love the world had never seen.
Today, we remember Christ’s love, His mercy, and His compassion. We think of His beautiful heart pierced not just literally but figuratively as well. He had to be broken, so we would have the chance to be whole.
We think of His infinite love and the fact that He is always right by our side. During difficult times, God carries us. He does not let us flounder. He does not abandon us. He is always there.
We should feel immensely comforted by that thought!
Of course, we can—and do—abandon Him, but He is never far as He awaits for our hearts to awaken.
A father’s “sacred” heart
Father’s Day is a day to honor the men who devoted their time, their energy, and their very lives to their children and their families.
When we think of the word father, hopefully we think of a man of faith, a man of wisdom, a man of mercy and kindness, and a man who helps guide us on our path to eternity. It’s his sacred heart—modeled after Christ’s—that guides his actions as he leads us.
I am incredibly blessed to have such a father. I wrote my dad a Father’s Day card the other day. I never have trouble finding the words to tell him how much I love him, how much I appreciate him, how much he means to me, and how everything I am is because of him (and my mom). The problem only comes when trying to fit all that in a card.
My family means everything to my dad, and that is how it should be. He retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps, so he dedicated his life not just to serving his family, but to serving our country. But that wasn’t all. He dedicated his life to serving God. His faith was—and is—an integral part of his life.
He became a man of faith because of his Heavenly Father and because of a different kind of father—his uncle who was a Holy Cross priest. The sacred heart of Christ had a profound impact on my entire family.
At the University of Notre Dame—where my father, his uncle, and I all went to college—a beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart sits prominently on the main quad, right outside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. It serves as a constant reminder to students of Christ’s mercy and love. And it serves as an example of how an earthly father should emulate Christ. To his sons, a father should be the example of whom boys should be when they grow up. To his daughters, he should be the example of the man they should marry.
Famed coach Jim Valvano once said: “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me.”
Faith is the greatest gift imaginable. Faith in Christ and faith in our fathers lead to faith in ourselves. We would have nothing if we didn’t have our fathers.
So, as we think about our Heavenly Father and His love, let us not forget the love of our own fathers, born out of Christ’s love and fashioned by His sacred heart.
Christ gave His life for you. Your father gave his life to you. Take time today and on Father’s Day to honor both our Heavenly Father and your earthly father. Thank them. Let them feel your love and appreciation. Give of yourself; give them your time. Give them your sacred heart.