The Heart itself
The heart is the symbolic center of feeling and emotion,
and it represents
Jesus’ deep love and affection for
It is sometimes shown by itself, but often with an
image of Jesus, and then above his chest.
Most frequently it is depicted as red, the color of blood,
which Jesus poured out for us (Jn 19:34).
Red signifies fervent love, and Jesus
LOVES US SO MUCH
that HE laid down his LIFE for US!
Occasionally the heart is purple, yellow, or white.
The Crown of Thorns
The heart typically is encircled horizontally with a crown of thorns.
The thorns represent the
stings caused by our sins:(
During Jesus’ passion, the execution squad wove a
crown of thorns and placed it on his head
(Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2,5),
and it represents all that
Jesus suffered on our account!
Often there is a gash shown on the lower left or lower center
of the heart which recalls when the soldier
thrust his lance
into Jesus’ side
The lance not only cut through Jesus’
it also cut through
This incident not only proved that Jesus was dead (Jn 19:33)
and had given his life for us (Phil 2:8),
it also fulfilled an ancient Messianic prophecy:
“They shall look on him whom they have thrust through”
(Zech 12:10; Jn 19:37).
Droplets of Blood
show a few droplets flowing from the wound,
and in a few instances they are caught by a chalice below.
This recalls the
when Jesus offered a cup of wine
This is my blood of the covenant
which will be shed
behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins”
"My blood is true drink”
(Jn 6:55); and
Whoever drinks my blood
remains in me and
I in him&
has eternal life
The droplets also represent the new Covenant of Blood
A number of flames are usually shown above the upper,
center of the heart,
they represent the intensity of the
warmth of Jesus’ love
It is customary to display a Latin cross in the midst of the flames,
because it is on the cross where Jesus
demonstrated the love of his Sacred Heart.
The Rays of Light
It is also common to have an array of glistening
gold, white ,or red
beams of light radiating from Jesus’ heart.
Jesus is light
love of his heart enlightens the world
Why the Heart?
The human heart has long been a symbol of love. At one time, it was viewed as the source of all human activity—intellectual and emotional. It has also metaphorically symbolized the center of things, such as the heart of a relationship or the heart of a city. It could also represent the character of a person, such as describing someone as having a good heart.
The examples could go on. Speaking then of Jesus’ heart
carries many varied meanings—all pointing to
his divine love flows
He knows the deep pain of suffering, along side us.
Pope Pius XII, in his 1956 encyclical on
to the Sacred Heart, Haurietis Aquas, spoke of
the love of God being expressed by Jesus through
a frail and fragile body since
“in Him dwells
the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
The pope also spoke of
the body of
Jesus possessing the complete range
human feelings and powers,
heart that beat until his death on the cross;
a heart that was then at one
with his glorified body risen from the tomb
which is still full of love for us.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
devotion to Jesus and his love.
It is a sign or a symbol
the divine and human love that Jesus has
for his Father and for us.
It also symbolizes the interior life of Jesus
which led to his willingness to lay down his life for us.
It is a symbol based on our belief in the Incarnation—a
firm belief that the second person of the Blessed Trinity
became human with all the feelings, emotions, and desires
we usually associate with the human heart.
It is that human heart—directly united to the divine person--
which expresses God’s love in a human way
perfectly and purely since Jesus is free from sin.
The heart is an apt symbol, but there is something more than a symbol at work here. There is the very real love of Jesus for the world, a love that wells up from both the divine as well as the human natures of Jesus.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart is grounded
not just in symbol, but in real love.
The Inexhaustible Love of Jesus
We celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart right after
the Easter Season and Pentecost
and after Trinity Sunday and the feast of Corpus Christi.
Many of us have tired of the celebrations—enough already!
But if we can focus on just one more big day, we can see
how the Sacred Heart of Jesus truly summarizes
all the great feasts
we have celebrated beginning with Christmas
and followed by Easter.
It is the feast of the love of the God-man who was
born, rose, and lives forever.
Sometimes words are cheap; especially words expressing love. Just watch a few hours of television or listen to a few CDs and count the number of times love is mentioned. How often did it refer to more than an emotional feeling?
How often did it include a sense of
commitment and self-sacrifice?
Or count the number of times we say that we
love some inanimate object such as chocolate.
When Jesus says “I love you,”
he backs it up with the
sacrifice of his life.
No cheap expression here;
only sincere words backed up with a life of living proof.
That is real love.
And this is what we celebrate in the
Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.
The reality boggles the mind.
We cannot fathom what that kind of love means!
True, some like the martyrs, for instance,
have come close to imitating that love
as they laid down their life for
Jesus and the faith.
But for the most part,
we can’t come close to understanding it.
Then we turn to the symbol and the feast and
stare into the sign of what it is we are celebrating.
It truly is an apt symbol pointing to the reality
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in your love for me.
One God, Three Persons
The doctrine of the Trinity means that there is
one God who eternally exists as
three distinct Persons —
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
God is one in essence and three in person.
These definitions express three crucial truths
(1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons,
(2) each Person is fully God,
(3) there is only one God.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons.
The Bible speaks of the Father as God (Philippians 1:2),
Jesus as God (Titus 2:13),
and the Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3–4).
Are these just three different ways of looking at God, or simply ways of referring to three different roles that God plays?
The answer must be no, because the Bible also indicates that
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons.
For example, since the Father sent the Son into the world
he cannot be the same person as the Son.
Likewise, after the Son returned to the Father
the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world
(John 14:26; Acts 2:33).
Therefore, the Holy Spirit must be
distinct from the Father and the Son.
In the baptism of Jesus,
the Father speaking from heaven
Spirit descending from heaven
in the form of
a dove as
Jesus comes out of the water
John 1:1 affirms that Jesus is God and,
at the same time, that he
was “with God,”
thereby indicating that Jesus is a distinct Person from God the Father
(see also John 1:18).
And in John 16:13–15, we see that
although there is a close unity
between the three persons,
Holy Spirit is also distinct from the
Father and the Son.
The fact that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons means,
in other words, that the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. Jesus is God, but he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, but he is not the Son or the Father. They are different Persons, not three different ways of looking at God.
The personhood of each member of the Trinity
means that each Person has a
distinct center of consciousness.
Thus, they relate to each other personally — the Father regards himself as “I” while he regards the Son and Holy Spirit as “you.” Likewise, the Son regards himself as “I,” but the
Father and the Holy Spirit as “you.”
Often it is objected, “If Jesus is God, then he must have prayed to himself while he was on earth.” But the answer to this objection lies in simply applying what we have already seen. While Jesus and the Father are both God, they are different Persons. Thus, Jesus prayed to God the Father without praying to himself. In fact, it is precisely the continuing dialogue between the Father and the Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; John 5:19; 11:41–42; 17:1ff) that furnishes the best evidence that they are distinct Persons with distinct centers of consciousness.
Sometimes the Personhood of the Father and Son is appreciated, but the Personhood of the Holy Spirit is neglected. Sometimes the Spirit is treated more like a “force” than a Person. But the Holy Spirit is not an “it,” but a “he” (see John 14:26; 16:7–15; Acts 8:16). The fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an impersonal force (like gravity), is also shown by the fact that he speaks (Hebrews 3:7), reasons (Acts 15:28), thinks and understands (1 Corinthians 2:10–11), wills (1 Corinthians 12:11), feels (Ephesians 4:30), and gives personal fellowship (2 Corinthians 13:14).
These are all qualities of personhood.
In addition to these texts,
the others we mentioned above make clear that the
the Holy Spirit is distinct from the
Personhood of the
Son and the Father.
They are three real persons, not three roles God plays.
Another confusion made is to think that the Father became the Son, who then became the Holy Spirit. Contrary to this, the passages we have seen imply that God always was and always will be three Persons. There was never a time when one of the Persons of the Godhead did not exist.
They are all eternal.
While the three members of the Trinity are distinct, this does not mean that any is inferior to the other. Instead, they are all identical in attributes.
They are equal
in power, love, mercy,
justice, holiness, knowledge,
and all other qualities.
Each Person is fully God. If God is three Persons, does this mean that each Person is “one third” of God? Does the Trinity mean that God is divided into three parts?
The doctrine of the Trinity does not divide God into three parts. The Bible is clear that all three Persons are each one-hundred-percent God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each fully God. For example, Colossians 2:9 says of Christ, “in him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.” We should not think of God as a “pie” cut into three pieces, each piece representing a Person. This would make each Person less than fully God and thus not God at all. Rather, “the being of each Person is equal to the whole being of God” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1994, page 255). The divine essence is not something that is divided between the three persons, but is fully in all three persons without being divided into “parts.”
Thus, the Son is not one-third of the being of God; he is all of the being of God. The Father is not one-third of the being of God; he is all of the being of God. And likewise with the Holy Spirit. Thus, as Wayne Grudem writes, “When we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together we are not speaking of any greater being than when we speak of the Father alone, the Son alone, or the Holy Spirit alone” (Ibid., 252).
There is only one God. If each Person of the Trinity is distinct and yet fully God, then should we conclude that there is more than one God? Obviously we cannot, for Scripture is clear that there is only one God: “There is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:21–22; see also Isaiah 44:6–8; Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4–5; 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Kings 8:60).
Having seen that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
are distinct Persons, that they are
each fully God, and that there is nonetheless only one God,
we must conclude that all three Persons are the same God.
In other words, there is one God who
exists as three distinct Persons.
If there is one passage which most clearly
brings all of this together, it is Matthew 28:19:
“Make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
First, notice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are
distinguished as distinct Persons.
We baptize into the name of the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Second, notice that each Person must be deity
because they are all placed on the same level.
In fact, would Jesus have us baptize in the name of a mere creature?
Surely not. Therefore each of the Persons into
whose name we are to be baptized must be deity.
Third, notice that although the three
divine Persons are distinct,
we are baptized into their name
The three Persons are distinct, yet only constitute
This can only be if they share one essence.