sabato, luglio 02, 2011

The Plans of His Heart...

The Plans of His Heart...: "I wish I had the time to write the posting - well, the book - that deserves to be written about today's feast, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It would give many reference to Father Jaki, but would also contain material from books which it appears he (like so many priests and bishops) never examined - books on developmental anatomy. These texts ought to be sources for truly deep and powerful meditations upon the mystery of the God-Man, Jesus - and, naturally, upon the mystery of Man the species, to which we belong.

Jesus was still an embryo of perhaps a month old - probably Mary had been with Elizabeth for three weeks by now - when His Heart began to beat. This needs to be considered at length... Unfortunately, I don't have time to go into it at any length today, so if you have a library at hand, please go hunt for a book on developmental anatomy (the one I have is by Arey) and check it out.

But perhaps you are wondering about that title. Well, that's from the Psalms, rather from the Divine Office, also called the Liturgy of the Hours. That version (whatever translation it may be) gives it as Psalm 33:
He frustrates the designs of the nations,
He defeats the plans of the peoples.
His own designs shall stand for ever,
The plans of His heart from age to age.
[from Ps 33 Morning Prayer, Tuesday of Week I]
Why is that relevant to us, to scientists? Because those plans include matters of science, not only theology or philosophy. This is not a mere truism about the formation of the cardiac structures and hemopoiesis (that is the Making of Blood). It was told us by St. Paul:
That their hearts may be comforted, being instructed in charity and unto all riches of fulness of understanding, unto the knowledge of the mystery of God the Father and of Christ Jesus: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. [Col 2:2-3]
In Jaki's wonderful little volume on the LItany of the Sacred heart, you will find a good starting point - no, it won't have lots of footnotes to medieval or modern scientific works, but it has something even more important. It reveals some very interesting matters about the devotion to the Sacred Heart, matters which deserve a fuller treatment by our Society, since they concern thinking men of faith and reason, for anyone who is interested in the foundations of Science Writ Large - and also who may be concerned with the state of our sad and fallen world. This devotion to the Incarnate Love of God offers much hope, which we need very badly, and gives us many seeds for growing new gardens, no, new orchards of fruitful produce, not only in the direction of spirituality, but also in more confident science and more robust and effective engineering...
Hardly more than a hundred years old as approved for public use, the Litany of the Sacred Heart has, of course, a much older history. In the Introduction that history is traced out as it developed from a Litany of seventeen invocations to one with twenty-seven, and finally to our Litany with thirty-three invocations. While this development is not without importance of its own, attention is best focused on the spiritual factors and efforts that lie behind it. Especially noteworthy should seem the connection of the approval of the Litany for public use with events that prompted Pope Leo XIII to decide on the consecration of the entire world to the Sacred Heart, which took place on June 10,1899. This act Leo XIII called 'the greatest act of his pontificate.'
[SLJ The Litany of the Sacred Heart introduction]
Indeed. the greatest of more than 25 years of serious, difficult work! (Another day we shall examine the parallels between Leo XIII and John Paul II - they are striking.)

God will not be frustrated. He is worth our trust, or we could not reason about anything, be it ontology or automata, stars or quarks or turtles or halogens...

Let us remember, and add this line to our Great Epigrams:
the Plans of His Heart shall stand forever...
"