For the last month or so, I’ve been reading a book by the Jesuit Fr. James Kubicki on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The book, titled Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, tries to revive the devotion to the Sacred Heart. I highly recommend it; it is an excellent read.
I would like to share with you one powerful insight from the book that has really helped me in these last few weeks, especially in regards to my prayer life. The keen insight that Fr. Kubicki makes is about the affective Heart of Jesus. He states that the devotion to the Sacred Heart is not simply having warm and fuzzy feelings when one thinks of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. Rather, it is going right to the heart of the matter, that is, to Christ’s own affectivity: to feel what He feels and to imitate it. The key to an authentic devotion to the Sacred Heart is to enter into the affective movements of the Heart of Christ.
What does this mean? Fr. Kubicki points out that the Gospels, especially the Gospel of Mark, present a Jesus who has strong affective responses to the people whom he cures, to whom he preaches, with whom he hangs around. There are so many different episodes of the affective Christ in the Gospels to contemplate. Here are a few of them:
Tears, Distress and Sorrow:
Mk 14: 33-34. And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch."
Mk 6:34. As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
Anger and Grief:
Mk 3:4-5. And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
Mk 8:11-12. The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation."
Mk 10:20-21. And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth." And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Jn 13.1. Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Mk 6:5-6. He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.
Mk 10:13-14. And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
Fr. Kubicki encourages us to strive to feel what Christ feels in a given pericope when we pray. We often pray to do the will of the Father and to have the Heart of Christ as our own. To do so, we have to enter into the Heart of Christ and feel what it feels. Let us ask for the Grace to feel with Christ’s heart in order that we may “put on Christ” (Rom 13:14) so to approach God, others, and creation as He himself does.