The Sacred Heart is the center of Holy Week. This is the key to understand the mystery of Christ’s Passion. There is something about the human heart that surpasses understanding and can only be understood from one heart to another. The secrets hidden in the heart are secrets because they simply cannot be put into words. Any attempt to replace the clear and decisive motions of the heart with reason and explanation clouds their purpose. Any attempt to evoke the yearnings and aches of the heart with poetry, music, or art seem dramatic or exaggerated. « Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point »1 “More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, explore the mind and test the heart, Giving to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their deeds.”2
As the human heart is the center from which flows the extremes of good and evil, it becomes the source of divine elevation and healing in Jesus: our sinfulness is healed by his tender heart, and our love is given supernatural wings by the Spirit of His Heart. The only way this revelation could become clear to us was by having it torn open. The veil in the sanctuary is torn in two, and Christ’s heart is torn open by the lance. The wisdom of faith can only be fully grasped in close proximity to Christ’s heart, wounded for love. Christ becomes the arrow – the only Word that truly pierces our heart of stone – at the moment His own heart is struck and opened. It was the dart of our sin that pierced His heart – it is this Wound, accepted out of a deep and unfathomable place of love, that wounds our heart. This wound is salve for our soul: healing, restoring, and filling us with living water.
“If anyone has been able to hold in the breadth of his mind and to consider the glory and splendor of all those things created in him, he will be struck by their very beauty and transfixed by the magnificence of their brilliance or, as the prophet says, “by the chosen arrow.” And he will receive from him the saving wound and will burn with the blessed fire of his love.”3
“The quiver, then, is your faith. Fill it with the fragrant aroma of your virtues, that is, of chastity, compassion and justice, and immerse yourself wholly in the inmost mysteries of faith, which are fragrant with the sweet odors of your significant deeds.”4
“When it says “chosen arrow,” it implies that God has many arrows but not choice ones—these arrows are the prophets and apostles, who go shooting off around the world.… But Christ is the one arrow chosen from many arrows and one son from many sons, which he hid in his quiver, that is, in his human body, so that the fullness of divinity could dwell in him bodily and that the faith of believers be distributed.”5
“[…] he speaks of an arrow that wounds the souls of those who love him. Each cries, “I am wounded by love.”6 The quiver represents the mystery of the economy of the incarnation.”7
- “The heart has its reasons that reason does not know,” Blaise Pascal
- New American Bible. (2011). (Revised Edition, Je 17:9–10). Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
- Origen, COMMENTARY ON THE SONG OF SONGS, PROLOGUE. Elliott, M. W. (Ed.). (2007). Isaiah 40–66 (p. 110). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Ambrose, SIX DAYS OF CREATION 5.23.80. Elliott, M. W. (Ed.). (2007). Isaiah 40–66 (p. 110). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Jerome, COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 13.19. Elliott, M. W. (Ed.). (2007). Isaiah 40–66 (p. 110). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Song 2:5
- Theodoret of Cyr, COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH 15.49.2. Elliott, M. W. (Ed.). (2007). Isaiah 40–66 (pp. 110–111). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.