We live in a world torn apart by a variety of forces. The scale of violence is on the rise. Look at our situation here in South Sudan, our neighbours in the Central African Republic, fundamentalism in the Muslim world, terrorism in the western world and other parts of the world.

Try to have a glance on relationships! Things are not much better. Couples are disintegrating at an alarming pace. There are more divorces than marriages. Families are becoming rather fragile without strong ties. Many people are having broken hearts. Cases of heart diseases are on the increase.

At a spiritual level, statistics worldwide has demonstrated that the level of engagement of people consecrated to God is on the decline. People take vows and live them with a certain coldness/heartlessness.

Why celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart in our seemingly heartless world? The negative may seem to overshadow the various engagement, sacrifices and witness of men and women throughout the world.

In celebrating the Sacred Heart, we celebrate the hearts that in spite of all the negative forces and the limitations of our modern world does not succumb to discouragement. This heart keeps on beating! It keeps on beating for the hearts that are broken, for hearts that are ravaged by wars, for hearts that are frozen by indifference. It is the heart of Jesus that is beating in these people who daily try, in spite of their shortcomings, to give another face to this faceless world.

In the words of Comboni: “The Heart of Jesus still beats for the unfortunate Africa”. Comboni had wished to have a thousand hearts in order to carry this mission of the sacred heart of Jesus. We are the thousand hearts of Comboni beating in unison not only for our province, not only for this continent but for our entire broken world.

We are living this situation of heartlessness here in our communities, in our parishes, in our South Sudan, where the cry of the broken-hearted lands on deaf ears. Our presence is for them already a big witness. Our presence is like a heart that is still alive, it is still beating, it is beating for them.

The heart of Jesus gives hope. We are witnesses to this hope! The fact of being consecrated to the heart of Jesus (Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus) already orientates us to our source of energy and inspiration. We evangelise with the heart of Jesus. We are encouraged and strengthened by this heart that can never cease to love.

In order to be fully consecrated to the heart of Jesus, we need to learn from Mother Mary, who is the model of our consecration to the heart of Jesus. Tomorrow (Saturday, 24) we shall celebrate the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a prerequisite for the consecration to the heart of Jesus. St. John Paul II used to pray every morning to the Immaculate Heart of Mary saying: “My Mary I am yours, all that I have is yours, give me your heart”. In the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, she insisted on the devotion to her immaculate.

The world can only be transformed through the devotion to her heart. If we allow ourselves to be transformed and modelled by this heart so pure, we shall in effect be docile to receive the Word of God, who is Jesus. In welcoming Jesus in our lives, we consecrated ourselves to his most Sacred Heart.

Alfred Mawadri, mccj

Comboni Missionary in South Sudan

Image: Pompeo Batoni