Reflection on the Litany of the Sacred Heart from the Catechism pt. 17

My dear parishioners,
Peace! The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions the Heart of Jesus variously. “Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God’s plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since His Passover. The phrase ‘heart of Christ’ can refer to Sacred Scripture, which makes known His heart, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure” (CCC, 112; cf. Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; Psalm 22:14). how in view of the incarnation He loves with a human heart, and “the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that … love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception” (cf. CCC, 470, 478; John 19:34; Pius XII Encyclical Haurietis aquas). One form of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Here we consider the eighteenth of the thirty-three invocations: Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
In the Diocese of Knoxville this could be a favorite invocation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart: desire of the everlasting hills…
Some desires are noble and others less so. Our desire for God, for the Sacred Heart of Jesus is very noble, wholesome and good. Among disordered desires are greed, lust, and gluttony. The Irish band U2 recorded their song “Desire” (1988) on the album Rattle and Hum which includes disordered desires for fame, drug induced highs, wealth. Our wholesome desire for God, for the Sacred Heart of Jesus is echoed throughout Sacred Scripture. Isaiah 26:8 has us waiting and desiring not only the judgments but the Name and remembrance of the Lord. John 12:21 relates the desire that people had to see the Lord Jesus. Sometimes desire for the Lord is expressed as a thirst (cf. Psalm 42:2; 143:6; Matthew 5:6). The Song of Songs 2:1-17 provides yet another passage full of desire.
The “everlasting hills” in the Litany, however, are more likely related directly to those mentioned in Sacred Scripture (cf. Job 15:7; Psalms 76:4; Ezekiel 36:2) than the Smoky or Appalachian Mountains. The coming Messiah, who is Christ the Lord including His Sacred Heart, is the desire of the everlasting hills alluded to in Genesis 49:26. The genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ can be traced not only through Saint Joseph the Worker but also the patriarch Joseph (cf. Deuteronomy 33:15; Luke 3:30). Our devotion, veneration, and worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was anticipated by the Prophet Habacuc (3:6) even as the ancient mountains and hills of the world bowed down before the eternal God.
A distinction should be made between the “everlasting hills” and the “high places” associated with the false worship of the false gods, including Baal, mentioned in nearly eighty verses of Sacred Scripture (e.g. Leviticus 26:30; Numbers 22:41; 1 Kings 3:3; 22:43; 2 Chronicles 11:15; Jeremiah 19:5; 48:35).
God bless you!
Father John Arthur Orr


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