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Lava and the Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 14, AD2018 0 Comments

jesusThe haunting glow of fiery lava lights up the night sky near our house. The ever-moving lava has been visible like this for just six weeks, although it seems like six years. It’s like the surging, divine love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the furnace of charity, that burns away our imperfections and sins and which can then change us and the entire world.

My existence here in Hawaii is consumed and troubled by life-changes, lava flows, volcanic eruptions, dangerous ash plumes and earthquakes. Our house is out of the path of the recent lava flows, though, and my suffering and anxiety are nowhere near that of those who are living in community shelters or tents after losing their homes.

The lava is unrelenting, similar to the blood and water which gushes constantly from the side of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to a fallen world. God seeks to offer us communion and divine life.

God has the power to clear away anything that gets in His path of divine love and mercy, just as the lava has destroyed hundreds of houses and cars, as well as several highways. Other sub-divisions on the southeastern side of the Big Island have been evacuated in advance of the unpredictability and power of the erupting lava.

This month of June, like every June for almost 400 years, is dedicated by the Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This dedication occurs even when the actual Solemnity of the Sacred Heart occurs in May due to variability in the date of Easter.

It is fitting that June is the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. June is the beginning of hot summers that simmer uncomfortably, reminding me of how troubled I get by a little heated suffering and adversity, fueled by my depression and anxiety.

June is also the beginning of the vacation season and a respite from the grind of employment. It can therefore be an opportunity for spending more time in reflection and prayer.

I have to remind myself of God’s healing love for me when I get absorbed with anxiety and pain. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, are always ready to lead me from my desolate emptiness towards communion with God.

I find that God even grants me a contemplative awareness of His presence when I am overwhelmed by worry. In these moments, God’s burning love can purge me of my attachments to sin and memories of past pleasures.

While my anxiety can trigger temptations to disregard God and His love and mercy if I get stuck in myself, I find that I can throw myself back into His Heart and become part of the river of healing that flows from Jesus’ Heart.

This dynamic of God’s work in my life is unrelenting and available to me every time I approach God in humility and emptiness. It manifests itself through the Church seasons, feasts and solemnities. Living in God’s family of the Trinity, His Church and my own family offers me endless opportunities to see and experience God throughout my life.

This awareness can even erupt and cascade within me, like it did when my granddaughter recently texted me: “I love you with all my heart…and I will never stop loving you.”

This message stunned me, I have to confess. My granddaughter had expressed an unconditional love towards me, and I realized how deeply I yearned for such love. To receive such a powerful and personal affirmation of love, I realized, was the deepest desire of my heart and soul.

It is what the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of His Mother offers us each and every day of our earthly and eternal lives.

It glows in the darkness of my soul and gives me joy and hope, and a yearning to share the Hearts of Jesus and Mary with the whole world.

My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. (Diary, St. Faustina, 367).

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Deacon Jim Dougherty is a married permanent deacon for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) serving in the Diocese of Honolulu. Dougherty has a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Studies. For 27 years, he served as executive director of the DeLaSalle Education Center in Kansas City, Missouri, a national model of excellence in education for central-city high school students. Dougherty has recently published a spiritual memoir about his son’s death entitled: A Place for Us to Meet. The book is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1549858076/ He and Karol have been married 43 years and have four children and six grandchildren.

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