The Sacred Heart

Br. Robert Lentz, OFM

Artist's Narrative:
The Sacred Heart, or the heart of Christ, has been a familiar image in the Catholic Church for several centuries. In the seventeenth century, Margaret Mary, a French mystic had a vision of the Christ revealing his heart to her. Ever since then, religious artists have struggled to depict what she saw.

In the first half of the twentieth century, another French mystic, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, raised the image of the Sacred Heart to more cosmic dimensions. Teilhard was a Jesuit priest and a paleontologist whose life work was doing research on the origins of the human race -- a research which lifted his soul to mystical heights. For Teilhard, the Christ was a divine fire that was capable of penetrating everything -- bringing all creation ever closer to God. In his personal journal he wrote, "Heart of Jesus, Heart of Evolution," and "the Sacred Heart is the Center of Christ, who centers all on himself."

In Popol Vuh, the ancient Mayan account of creation, the Creator of all is called "Heart of the Heavens, Heart of the Earth." The Mayan image is similar to Teilhard’s. This icon combines both images -- a Mayan Christ bursts from the blazing heart of the cosmos, carrying his flame reaching out drawing all into his creative fire.


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