Let these words be written on your heart!
Like many households of my youth, ours had a picture of the Sacred Heart hanging on the kitchen wall. Yet you may be surprised to hear that I felt that ours was a deprived household. Other houses had a red lamp underneath the picture, a red electric bulb or a small, oil-filled burner which to my young eyes appeared to be particularly special. We had no lamp, either electric or oil-fired. Ours was ‘in the dark’.
Today, decades later, one sees quite a few red lights and indeed lights of various hues in many modern homes but they are seldom underneath a holy picture!
The Sacred Heart picture as a religious icon may be less obvious but the appreciation of heart is deepening. The invitation of the ancient words from pre-Christian times has not dimmed; ‘Let these words, I urge you today, be written on your heart.’
Mark, the evangelist, tells us that the sincere and wisdom-seeking scribe was able to confess to Jesus: ‘to love with all your heart, all your understanding and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’
The flame is in the daily living out with joy that fundamental invitation.
Let me bring you back again to that childhood home of mine. A few years ago, when its roof was being replaced, many pieces of bog-oak timber had to be removed. Two skilled and insightful American relatives took some of the pieces of oak, patiently polished them and constructed a cross. This cross now hangs in our home. It frequently reminds me that a heart-felt and fully lived love can be costly. Just ask Jesus.
Icons on a wall can please but living their message is for the strong-hearted.