The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been celebrated since the 17th century. The image of the heart of Jesus brings to mind mercy, forgiveness, inclusion, and positive regard. I’ve been struck by the use of the word “heart” in recent days as a way to justify opinions that have no basis in fact or even go against the established facts. “Even though I have no evidence, I believe in my heart that I am right.”
Listening to such statements has led me to reflect on the importance of both head and heart in living our lives. Listening to the heart, but not the head, listening to feelings without paying attention to what is objective truth, leads to sloppy logic, bad decisions, hurtful actions, needless suffering.
Listening to the head, but not the heart, leads to, well, cold-hearted decisions that don’t take into account the humanity of those affected by those decisions and the essential unity of all humanity in Christ. In that perspective, mercy and forgiveness are simply signs of weakness.
Jesus, of course, used both head and heart in his ministry, and encouraged us to be grounded in reality, aware of what is true, even when it’s an uncomfortable truth, and open to how God’s presence in our life calls us to mercy, to forgiveness, to union in Christ.
“The designs of his heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:11,19)