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Just a Look

The Church has dedicated the month of June as the special month to express our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the diary of St. Margarita Mary in the 17th century, we know that she had a vision of the image of the Sacred Heart when Jesus appeared to her. He pointed his finger to His open heart and said “Look at this heart and look deeply. I’m love.” “Look at the heart, which has loved people so much and received so little in return”.

Today, Catholic artists portray Jesus holding his open heart with one hand while He points with the other hand towards His bleeding, flaming heart, surrounded by thorns and radiating with a halo of divine light. Jesus’ eyes are overcast with sorrow and lovely gesturing as if He invites us to look at His heart with love and compassion.

Let us imagine that Jesus is personally inviting you and me to look at His heart and look deeply. Jesus is love. Imagine, as if he’s asking, “Look at the heart, which has loved you and me so much and received so little in return.” Let us examine ourselves. Do we wish to enter into a deeper relationship with Him? What are our attitudes when we look at the image of the Sacred Heart? How do we express our devotion to Him?  Hopefully, by doing so, it may help us to be aware of our attitudes and sincere desire to love Him more when we look at the image of the Sacred Heart.

Jesus used the word “heart” to express His love in flesh and divinity for human kind. The image of  His heart symbolizes His love, the most sensitive emotion of human beings. By looking, Jesus did not mean for us to take a quick look by simply glancing as we usually do, directing our eyes toward the object and perceiving it visually; Jesus intends for us to gaze with full awareness of love, appreciation and adoration for Him. He wanted us to look at Him with full intention of love and reparation.

Let us examine our attitudes of looking. Do we look at the image of the Sacred Heart with the eyes of Faith? Are we consciously aware of the respect, reverence and devotion of how we look upon His Sacred Heart? 

There are many forms of media in which the image of the Sacred Heart are portrayed, but the message that Jesus desires of us never changes: “Look at this heart, tenderly, I am love. Look at my heart, which has loved people so much and received so little in return”.

Jesus loves us so much but we love Him so little.  We may have had many opportunities to look at the image of the Sacred Heart in churches or privately at home. You might have seen the Sacred Heart as an expensive painting or a valuable marble statue. You might have encountered the image rendered as a clay model or with colorful paper of different sizes and shapes. However, despite the various forms in which you have encountered the Sacred Heart image, it is our attitudes and desire to reflect on the message of Jesus which is important.

The action of looking itself is not a magical response nor an automatic ticket to receive indulgences to go to heaven; but we look with a full attitude of respect and honor because the Sacred Heart symbolizes His love for us and reminds us to make reparation for our sins and to sin no more. The image should convince us that our sins truly caused His heart to bleed and the crowning of thorns was endured for love of us. The sorrow we feel in our hearts calls us to unite with His Sacred heart in reparation for our sins and to love Him more.


Sometimes we look at the image of Sacred Heart with indifference and possibly, a lukewarm attitude like atheists who have “no eyes of faith”, no inspiration of love, and no spiritual desires. This attitude reflects what Psalm 115 states: “They have eyes, but they can see not. They have ears, but they cannot hear, they have nostrils, but they cannot smell.”  Unconsciously we cause Jesus’ heart to bleed and crown His head with thorns. Our indifference, ungratefulness, irreverence, sacrileges, and cold attitudes treat Him poorly and cause Him suffering.


Perhaps we may look at the image of the Sacred Heart with the eyes of a medical student who looks at the heart as a center and life-giving source. A look at the heart may satisfy his desire for information. However, Jesus does not invite us to look at the image of the Sacred Heart to fill our minds with knowledge, but rather, with a heart of love and compassion. Through the image, Jesus desires us to have sensitivity and compassion to the needs of others.  He desires for our hearts to reflect His just as He was moved with pity for the people when He miraculously fed 5000 hungry people with two fishes and five loads of bread. 

Sometimes, we may look at the Sacred Heart of Jesus like an artist who looks to discover the beauty in the work itself, enjoying the beauty of the paint and color. The act of looking itself does not increase our devotion nor our spirituality. Rather, Jesus invites us to look at the image of the Sacred Heart with love for Him and to understand the suffering He bore for our sins. He desires to awaken in us a share in His pain and sorrow.  Christ desires our hearts to beat as one with His in the Eucharist; to adore Him, love Him more and more for those who treat Him poorly and do not believe or acknowledge His love.  It is a desire that moves our hearts silently toward the devotion to love Him more and lift up our heart to console Him that Jesus yearns for.

Jesus longs that we look at His heart with love and compassion. We pray that a flame of love stirs within us. May it burn with peace and joy unceasingly and move us to express our devotion more to Jesus’ most sacred heart.

Let us pray:

Lord Jesus, strengthen our faith, and increase our love for you.  We humbly venerate your powerful image and acknowledge your unconditional love for us. We kneel before the Blessed Sacrament to adore you with our whole hearts and minds. Grant us the holy grace that we can earnestly express our love to you through our devotion and make known the image of your Sacred Heart to our brothers and sisters as you requested.  

We ask these in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


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