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Surrendering to the Sacred Heart

First seen on the Behold Visio Divina Blog - June 2023

In the Catholic Church, June is dedicated to honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If you’ve ever prayed the Surrender Novena chances are you’ve seen the Sacred Heart associated with it in some way. Perhaps on the front of the novena card, or mentioned in an article about it.. Why is this a common pairing? Perhaps it’s because true surrender requires deep trust and whenever we discern trusting someone we always ask- is their heart a trustworthy place?

With that on my mind, I wanted to find a sacred image of the Sacred Heart to pray with while focusing on surrender. I came across this painting by Kate Capato and have fallen in love with it! While praying with this sacred image, I find my desire to surrender everything to the Sacred Heart of Jesus increasingly saturated with joyful longing. 

Let me take you with me as I pray through this work of sacred art. The first aspect of the image that my eyes hold their focus on is Jesus’ face and expression. Oh the softness and comfort his eyes and smile emanate. It feels as though He is looking right at me, and without speaking a word comforts any worries that my soul is being weighed down by in this moment. I pause here and let it slow my breathing.

Then after taking this in, my eyes begin moving to His hands and the gentleness of His beckoning posture. It feels like the presentation directed to my heart of an invitation to be united with His. I acknowledge this is the means that God desires us to surrender to Him- not out of fear, dread, loneliness, stress, anxiety, stubbornness, or control. Those are all things that keep us stuck in the whirlwind of the thoughts within our own minds and get in the way of true surrender. Rather, He invites us with a peace and comfort that makes us long to run to Him and press our head against His heart in an embrace of freedom, joy, and confidence!

As I continue to open my perspective to the entire painting, I notice the grandness of the scene. The throne, the rocks, the mountains, even the globe that Christ sits upon. But rather than find it intimidating, it brings me a sense of safety. I’m drawn to view Jesus as protector, not dominator. I want to prostrate myself before Him in honor yet also draw so close to Him that there is no room for anything else to come between us. Isn’t that essentially the purpose of surrender anyways? You recognize that there is someone greater and wiser worthy of surrendering your will to, yet you also recognize that your desire and openness to surrendering to them doesn’t just come from their greatness or wisdom but from the trustworthiness and comfort they exude. 

After a while, my gaze gently draws back to the center of the image- Jesus’ Sacred Heart. A heart so sacred, pure, and full of love that it bursts into flames. My heart also begins to burn as my eyes settle on His heart. That’s the essence of this walk with Christ. To be set on fire with love for Him, for others, and for ourselves through His eyes. The same eyes that first drew us in with peace, care, and joyful longing. 

Do not be afraid to surrender all to Christ. His Sacred Heart is on fire with love for you and that same fire longs to consume you so that “[You] no longer live, but Christ lives in [you].” Galatians 2:20

*First published on Behold Visio Divina:

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