NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 6/16

The month of June (and Fridays all year 'round) are times of special devotion to the Holy Heart of Jesus.  AND... today, June 16, is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (See this earlier post). On the Fridays of June, these Night Prayer posts will offer an opportunity to pray with art, with images of the Heart of Christ.  Just as you can read, study, muse and pray over a scripture text, so you can approach a work of art as a subject for prayer (as we did this past Lent). DON'T WORRY! You don't have to be a museum goer or an art historian to pray this way. You need only some time, some art, a prayerful curiosity and a desire to discover what the Lord wants to share with you through sacred images.
The image below is from the Apse of Visitation Chapel in Paray-le-Monial in France where Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century, inviting her to spread devotion to his Sacred Heart. Our prayer tonight reflects on this painting, and the detail below it. BE SURE to click on the images for larger versions!  
(Images of the Sacred Heart seldom include others but this mural includes 10 people, descending from the left in a U formation: Saint John the Apostle, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Charles de Foucault, Saint Claude la Colombiere, Saint John Eudes, The Virgin Mary, Saint Paul, Pere Mateo, Saint Jeanne de Chantal and Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque)

After spending some time viewing the images...
    What are your very first impressions?  
    In three words or fewer, what does this image say to you? 
    What in this image surprises you? 
    Does anything in this image puzzle you?
    How does this image of Jesus relate to images of Christ
        already in your mind and heart?  
    This is clearly the Easter heart of the risen Jesus:
        what else of the Easter story reveals the heart of Christ?
    How does this image invite you to prayer?  
    What in this image will stay with you
        once you've said Amen at the end of tonight's prayer?


We might mistake your arms
for the wood of your Cross, Lord,
but there's no mistaking that we meet you:
     risen, radiant, shining bright,
     alive in all your glory...

Your face looks down upon us 
with purest pity in your eyes:
    you long to lift us up, to embrace us 
    in your outstretched healing, saving arms...

Risen?  Yes!  
And yet your blood runs red, 
    flowing fresh from your side,
your holy heart aglow
    not with fire and flame
but the sun's white hot heat, 
    burning but never consuming those
        who seek and find and know its warmth... 

You're source and center of our life, Lord,
    light for all creation.
Apart from the warmth of your sacred heart
    the world would perish in cold oblivion
    - and we along with it...
But we're saved, redeemed and healed,
    warmed by the fire of your holy heart
        burning, aflame with love for us,
    reaching out to embrace us
        from the arms of your holy Cross...
Heart of Jesus, be our light:
    be the heart that beats within our hearts,
    be the warmth that saves us from the cold,
    give the mercy for which all souls thirst,
    the love that holds and keeps us safe,
    pressed against your pulsing heart,
    beating as one with ours...
Protect us, Lord, while we're awake
    and watch over us while we sleep
that awake, we might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...
Christ, Be Our Light by Bernadette Farrell
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