According to Mark’s Gospel (6:34) Jesus was moved with compassion for those who were like sheep without a shepherd. He invited people to look to God, to live with joy, hope and integrity. He promised he would always be with us and give us his spirit. The spirituality of the Sacred Heart began on Calvary when the centurion pierced Christ's side with a lance. His heart was open for all.
This sculpture by Timothy Shmalz, which he named Open Your Heart, was created for the Sacred Heart church in Ocean Beach, San Diego. It was designed to express this openness. The work shows Christ opening his cloak to reveal to the world that he holds humanity very close to his heart and invites the viewer to join his flock.
During the years I went to Mass at Sacred Heart in Ocean Beach, I sat near this sculpture. Parishioners often stopped before it. There was a gentleman who knelt there every day after communion and he told me one morning that he prayed before this image, asking God to protect his son, who had been missing for nearly six years. A woman asked me to join her in praying for her daughter. In the sculpture there is a prominent image of a woman in the center of Christ's heart and she looks as though she is running. "I think my daughter is running away,” the woman told me, “and I ask the Sacred Heart to run after her."
Seeing this image I think of all who have prayed before it, of all those who are in Christ's heart today. I am reminded of the Society's motto: "One heart and one soul in the Heart of Jesus.” Who do you hold in your heart?
Mary Ann (Sis) Flynn, RSCJ