In the Society of the Sacred Heart, November 21 is “the original feast day” since it was the day of the first consecration of Madeleine Sophie Barat and her companions in 1800. It became a date frequently chosen for subsequent vow ceremonies and renewals. It seems fitting this month to reflect on an important image in their lives.
In this traditional image of the seal of the Society of the Sacred Heart, the two hearts of Jesus and Mary are very realistically portrayed. The Heart of Jesus is surrounded by a crown of thorns; the wound is visible at the bottom; the cross rises out of the center of flames which signify love radiating from Jesus’ Heart. This image fits the seventeenth century vision of the Sacred Heart which St. Margaret Mary experienced in her prayer. The Heart of Mary is set slightly behind the Heart of Jesus. Mary’s Heart is also pierced – a depiction of Simeon’s prophecy to Mary in the temple: “a sword willpierce your soul.” From Mary’s Heart, too, spring flames of love.
Above the hearts is an image of the Eucharist, expressing the close link that Saint Madeleine Sophie recognized between the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart. In one of her conferences she described the institution of the Eucharist as the Lord’s most perfect way of uniting us to himself, forging an ineffable union. The fruit of participation in the Eucharist, she said, is that the Lord becomes one with us, and we become one with him.
Perhaps that is why the two Hearts seem bound together inextricably, forming a single whole, offering an icon of the union we ourselves experience with Christ in receiving his Body and Blood.
Reflection from Journey of the Heart, adapted