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Posts Tagged "Sacred Heart":

Pandora Song: William Vaughn Moody


I stood within the heart of God;
It seemed a place that I had known:
(I was blood-sister to the clod,
Blood-brother to the stone).

I found my love and labor there,
My house, my raiment, meat and wine,
My ancient rage, my old despair,-
Yea, all things that were mine.

I saw the spring and summer pass,
The trees grow bare, and winter come;
All was the same as once it was
Upon my hills at home.

Then suddenly in my own heart
I felt God walk and gaze about;
He spoke: his words seemed held apart
With gladness and with doubt.

‘Here is my meat and wine’, He said,
‘My love, my toil, my ancient care;
Here is my cloak, my book, my bed,
And here my old despair.

‘Here are my seasons: winter, spring,
Summer the same, and autumn spills
The fruits I look for: everything
As on my heavenly hills.’

William Vaughn Moody poetWilliam Vaughn Moody was born July 8, 1869, in Spenser, Indiana. His parents died when he was young, and he worked his way through prep school and Harvard University, where he recieved both his B.A. (1893) and M.A. (1894), and became co-editor of Harvard Monthly. From 1894-95 he held the position of assistant in the English Department to Louis E. Gates. In 1895, Moody relocated to The University of Chicago as an instructor, a position that he held until 1903, when he was promoted to an assistant professorship. He left the University in 1907 to concentrate on his poetry.

During this time at the University, Moody published an untitled volume of poetry, as well as two poetic dramas, The Masque of Judgment in 1900, and The Fire Bringer in 1904. However, he is mostly noted for his 1906 play The Great Divide, hailed at the time as the “Great American Drama.”

In 1908, Moody was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He married Harriet C. Brainerd on May 7, 1909. Also in that year, he saw his play The Faith Healer produced, an event that while it attracted some attention, was not considered a dramatic success. William Vaughn Moody was working on another poetic drama, The Death of Eve, when he died in Colorado Springs, CO, on October 17, 1910. (source: Poetry Foundation)

I found this poem, which is not widely anthologised (ie I had to type it out, rather than relying on Google to allow me to cut and paste) in ‘Worldwide Worship’, edited by John Marks Templeton.

Head Into Heart – “The Sacred Heart”: Richard Rohr


I am in the process of reading ‘Immortal Diamond‘, by Richard Rohr, and will be putting up a review in the next few days. Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy this short extract. He writes as a Catholic, with a love of imagery such as the sacred heart which the more diehard Protestants among us may find hard to share. But he explains why we should try and put this prejudice aside and dwell for a moment on how the image came into being, and why it still resonates.

Extract from ‘Immortal Diamond’: Appendix D – Head into Heart: “The Sacred Heart”

Many have described prayer as bringing your thinking down into your heart. This is not just sentimentality. It was almost the preoccupation of much of Orthodox monasticism, as we see in classics like the Philokalia and the teachings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers.

It always seemed like soft piety to me until someone taught me how to do it, and I learned the immense benefits of doing it. Probably the best single teacher for me  – on the how – was Robert Sardello in his little masterpiece of a book, Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness.

As a Catholic, I was often puzzled by the continued return to heart imagery among our saints and in our art. The “Sacred Heart ” of Jesus and the “Immaculate Heart of Mary”  are images known to Catholics worldwide, where they are always pointing to their heart and it is ablaze. I often wonder what people actually do with these images. Are they mere sentiment? Are they objects of worship or objects of transformation? Such images keep recurring only if they are speaking something important and good from the unconscious, maybe even something necessary for the soul’s emergence. What might that be?

Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, for example, and you want to play it out or attach to it, move that thought or person literally into your heart space because such commentaries are almost entirely lodged in your head. There, surround it with silence (which is much easier to do in the heart). There, it is surrounded with blood, which will often feel warm like coals. In this place, it is almost impossible to comment, judge, create story lines or remain antagonistic. You are in a place that does not create or feed on contraries but is the natural organ of life, embodiment and love. Love lives and thrives in the heart space. It has kept me from wanting to hurt people who have hurt me. It keeps me every day from obsessive, repetitive or compulsive head games. It can make the difference between being happy and being miserable and negative.

Could this be what we are really doing when we say we are praying for someone? Yes, we are holding them in our heart space. Do it in an almost physical sense, and you will see how calmly and quickly it works.

Now the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart have been transferred to you. They are pointing for you to join them there. The “sacred heart” is then your heart too.

The image is Stained glass showing an image of the sacred heart and roses, from chapel that used to be part of a convent (now a Baptist church and school complex) in El Cajon, California via Wikimedia.
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