Reflection on the Litany of the Sacred Heart from the Catechism pt. 18

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 nineteenth of the thirty-three invocations: Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is patient. The Greek words pashens and hupomone and makrothumeo translate as patient/patience, implying suffering, enduring or waiting, as an act of the will and not merely under necessity, forbearing, longsuffering (cf. Psalm 40:1; Luke 18:7; Romans 2:4). The Hebrew words kawah translates to wait, to expect The Sacred Heart of Jesus is all knowing (omniscient) and thereby easily fulfills Proverbs 19:11 “The learning of a man is known by patience: and his glory is to pass over wrongs.” The Lord Jesus, in His saving passion when His Heart was pierced, did not merely pass over our wrongs but bore them on the Cross paying the price of our redemption. Surely the Lord who exhorts us to be patient (compassionate and forgiving) is patient (compassionate and forgiving) Himself (cf. Matthew 18:23-35; Luke 8:15).
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is most merciful. The Hebrew word chanan is sometimes translated as mercy, merciful, have pity upon (eg. Proverbs 19:17). The Greek word elos translates as compassion and mercy. The mercy of God is one of the central tenants of Sacred Scripture, with nearly 550 references though out the Bible (mercy 430 times, merciful 65 times, mercies 45 times). The Lord Jesus who calls the merciful blessed is Himself merciful and the source of all blessings (cf. Matthew 5:7). The Sacred Heart of Jesus is at once the object of our faith, our judge and our mercy (cf. Matthew 23:23). Our merciful Lord Jesus calls us to show mercy to others (cf. Luke 10:37). Saint Paul, inspired by God rebukes those who are foolish, dissolute, without affection, fidelity or mercy, because God had revealed Himself to him on the Damascus road (cf. Romans 1:31).
The Litany of the Sacred Heart is not only a prayer of devotion or a source of life-giving doctrine. We can also use ti to examine our consciences, how merciful and patient are we?
God bless you!
Father John Arthur Orr

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