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First Friday Reflection, February 2014

The photo above was one of many chosen to tell the story of the Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, which struck the Philippines last November. This scene was captured as the villagers of Northern Samar evacuated their homes to seek refuge at Sophie’s Farm, operated by Religious of the Sacred Heart. The Farm represented a place of safety.

It is a tradition in Catholic Filipino homes to display an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to protect the home and family. Through it Jesus becomes an integral part of family life. The significance of the image is captured in this photo. Our eyes are drawn to the little boy carrying the Sacred Heart – to travel with the family to the place of refuge. Out of all the family’s belongings, this is what he chose to take! When we reflect on the broader context - of the heartbreaking losses and the damage to a fragile environment by yet another devastating storm - we are also drawn deeper into the suffering Heart of Christ.

This is a picture of the spiritual richness of a people. And yet it speaks to us of the universality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, clearly among us all, even amidst the chaos. Perhaps especially amidst the chaos – when God’s Heart is open and pierced. The Living Heart of Christ is within all of creation, a dynamic pulse of love, inviting us deeper into the Source of life-giving unity.

Reflection by Jane O’Shaughnessy, RSCJ