Having been in Rome for almost three years now, and having also visited here as a priest once before I moved here, I have had a lot of opportunities to celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Almost every morning priests can go there between 7:00 and 8:30am to celebrate on one of the available side altars; also, it is possible to reserve certain altars in advance. I have done both. So by now I have been able to celebrate on most of the side altars in the main part of the Basilica, and a good number of the ones that are in the crypt or “grottoes” beneath.
Today, for reasons that were providential, especially for my guests, I had a chance to use an altar that I had not before: the one dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Here is a photo of the image above that altar:
It is one of the more vibrant altar mosaics in the Basilica. (Read here about how they are all mosaics, not paintings.)
In today’s daily Gospel the Lord reminds us that if we belong to him we will take the same path of suffering that he did. We will be persecuted and hated by the world. Yet in the midst of the trials and difficulties of this life, we can take solace in his Sacred Heart: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon yourselves, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden, light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – the human heart of God – is quite beautiful, and important for us in our time. Several popes have recommended it, and the Jesuits, of whom Pope Francis is a member, dedicated enormous efforts to promote this devotion throughout the world. In about a week’s time we will begin our annual observance of the Month of the Sacred Heart. Maybe it’s time to renew our devotion to Christ in this way?
Maybe it would be a good time, this year, to consecrate your home to the Sacred Heart! If you have never done so, I highly recommend it. This apostolate offers some great resources for that purpose (click here). Also, here is another great organization, which offers a good resource in this regard. Please consider consecrating your home to the Sacred Heart this year, or renewing the consecration if you have already done so in the past.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine.