A Heart for Christ

Image of Christ Laid in the tomb

Martin Feuerstein (1856-1931 French)

As a writer, I enjoy a good parallel in sentence structure and between two subjects in a paragraph, and when used as a motif throughout a work. Sometimes I am struck by a parallel I would not have considered, such as the one that the Franciscans draw in their short Way of the Cross on the final fourteenth station.

Jesus is laid in the sepulcher:
“When I receive Thee into my heart in Holy Communion, O Jesus, make it a fit abiding place for Thy adorable Body. Amen.”

The parallel of the sacrificial body of Christ with the sacramental body of Christ is readily apparent but the necessary parallel of the tomb with our hearts is a startling comparison to accompany it. Jesus said that the heart is like a treasure box where we keep the things that are dearest to us (cf Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:34). He also said that our mouths will speak from the fullness of our hearts (cf Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45). This makes sense; if we harbor bitter things in our hearts then we will speak of bitter things: if we treasure holy things then we will speak of holy things. We can easily see the heart as the motivator of our actions and the wellspring of our emotions but to consider our hearts as if they were tombs is to acknowledge that inside we are empty, we are rock[1] and earth hollowed out and awaiting the fruition of our mortality.

Just as Christ’s physical body was laid in the tomb, according to the Franciscan Fathers, so too does Christ’s Eucharistic Body enter into our hearts. Once there, we seal off our heart’s tomb and cherish Him as the greatest treasure. Yet, the Eucharist is both the sacrifice and the resurrection. He rises up within us and rolls back the stone door to our hearts tomb leaving it wide open again, making it a fit abiding place for Him to dwell, and rejuvenating us with His purest love.

Matthew 6:21
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
21For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.
Luke 12:34
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 12:34
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
34O generation of vipers, how can you speak good things, whereas you are evil? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Luke 6:45
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
  1. according to Genesis man is made of from the earth. Soft earth is fertile ground for the seed of the word and hardened, compacted earth is sedimentary rock. So a soft heart is ready for the living Christ but a hardened heart is as cold and empty as a tomb []

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