On the Feast of the Sacred Heart 2011

For the edification of the many on the feast of the Sacred Heart.  Here’s a portion of a letter from St. Alberto Hurtado, SJ, written not long after his priestly ordination, tracing “supernatural happiness” back to a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The letter suggests the harmony of human and divine love, of temporal and eternal life, so characteristic of St. Alberto’s writings.

Priest of the Lord!


Letter to a friend, written on October 8, 1933, after his ordination as a priest


       Here you have me, a priest of the Lord! You will understand my great happiness and with all sincerity I can tell you that I am completely happy.  God has given me the great grace to be able to live contentedly in all the houses that I have passed through and with all the companions I have had.  I consider this a great grace.  But now, on receiving priestly ordination for always, my joy has reached its limit.  Now I desire nothing more than to exercise my priestly ministry with the deepest possible interior life and all the exterior activity compatible with it.

The secret of this adaptation and of its success is in the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that is to say, to the overflowing love of our Lord, the love that Jesus as God and as man has for us a love that shone clearly throughout his life.  If we could only realize this ideal in our lives: What does the Heart of Jesus think of this or that…? and endeavor to think and feel as he does, how this would enlarge our hearts and transform our lives! Trifles and faults that we commit and see committed around us would disappear and in our communities a natural and supernatural happiness would reign; there would be more understanding, greater respect for each of our brothers, for even the least deserves that we go out of our way for him and not overlook him.  This is an idea that comes to me frequently and I’ve done some thinking about it because more and more I would like to make it happen.

I believe that we should live the devotion to the Sacred Heart based on a limitless charity that helps to make our brothers feel at ease with each other and, that lay people feel moved not by our words, which in great part leave them cold, but by our life of charity for them, both human and divine.  But this charity must be human if it wishes to be divine.  In this pervasive ambient of skepticism in which we live, I do not think there are any other means, humanly speaking, to preach Jesus Christ among those who will only believe the example of a charity like that of Christ.

Goodbye my dear Brother Sergio.  Do not forget me before the Lord.

Alberto Hurtado C.  S.J


5 Responses to On the Feast of the Sacred Heart 2011

  1. After reading this I ask myself; would I rather go to church at – a grand cathedral with gorgeous architecture, full of “nice” people, who wear “nice” clothes, who have lukewarm (Revelation 3:16) passions about the Sacred Heart of Jesus or … at a camp fire in the rain around a coolish and smokey fire among a few people who have a passion for their faith – especially the sacred heart of Jesus.
    I don’t think I’ll have a hard time figuring out the answer.

  2. Joseph Fromm says:

    Congratulations Fr. Aaron on you ordination.



  3. Ail says:

    My mother’s funeral took place on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. All her life she had great devotion to the Sacred Heart; whatever problem or situation we faced she always told us to say the following prayer “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you”. Very best wishes on your ordination. May you be blessed with good health and happiness in your ministry.

  4. Peter Wolczuk says:

    This article twigged two memories when I first read it, but it took a little time for them both to return to me and a little more for them to find a common ground in my mind and to come together there.
    I don’t know if it’s a tad faux pas to post twice on the same topic without waiting for a reply to respond to but, here I go and I’ll try not to make a habit on it.
    The older memory is of puzzling why so many traditional forms of expression have so much or our awareness (especially emotional) described as being in our heart, rather than our mind.
    The newer memory is from a lecture which I attended about the Eucharist a few years ago at the church I attend. The lecturer stated that, in cases where cells were removed from a heart for whatever reason, those cells would continue to pulsate at the same rate of beat that the heart they had been removed from had would beat at normally.
    Puzzling how I could apply a common term in 12 Step groups about the necessity of bridging the eighteen inches from head to heart, a thought came to me on how the heart beat would change with changing emotions; somewhat like a drum beat which set the pace for a musical group, would change from one piece of music to another, which usually included a change in the emotional state being illustrated by the piece of music at the time.
    If the heart beat is the key to such expressions as, “Our heads may tell us one thing but, what do our hearts tell us?” there could be a key to grasping the importance of heart and soul being above the mind.
    There’s a rhythm in all aspects of our lives and the ultimate rhythm of love would be best inspired by the heart of God the Work Who became God the Son out of pure and perfect love for us (John 3:16)
    Even though I introduce a reference to hard data, like in scientific research, I’m not seeking to define or understand a Holy Mystery. Rather, I seek to establish validity to even objective viewers (such as agnostics) and to see where to direct my observation toward that Mystery.
    This came together for me last night and it was wonderful that my bible chapter for this morning was Exodus 28 and that verses 15-30 caught my attention … especially 29&30.
    The best human plans do not include absolute perfection between the “big picture” and the “little picture” but God’s plans always do.

    • Peter Wolczuk says:

      So; yesterday I indicated that I would try not to respond to a post more than once unless it was a case of replying to a reply of what I’d original entered.
      However, yesterday something happened, which I found interesting, occurred shortly after my comment on the heartbeat. I left the library, where I had been using a somewhat public computer, and stpoted at a take out place on the way home. Right after ordering I saw a rack of the latest issues of a short newsletter that is funded by advertising, and therefore free for the taking, so I picked up a copy on the way out.
      The first thing that caught my eye was the first of a series of quotes that was prominently displayed on page 1.
      “The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without confessing the secrets of the heart.”
      Saint Jerome
      Seems to tie in with the topic in a timely manner. Of course, since I don’t expect anyone to accept what I am saying without proof and, as I am the only human who can know for certain that this happened as I am claiming it did, the point is not to assert that I have anything which even resembles the metaphysical.
      This is just a reply to what I see as a response (or a response to what I see as a reply – as the case may be) and a sharing of the resulting joy which I felt. A joy similar to what I, once in a long while, feel when praying my Rosary – especially the Sorrowful Mysteries – which can inspire a feeling of intimacy.

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