The Journey of the Sacred Heart
I purchased this little treasure in Old Town San Diego. It's tin, handmade from Mexico, and it's proudly hanging on my kitchen wall—despite my husband's objections.
Right before hanging, he voiced his dislike of it. He thought it looked cheesy. (He's not much into folk art.) I jockeyed for position on this one. I would not be moved. I fell in love with it when I saw it in the store and knew that I just HAD to have it and it HAD to be in my kitchen. He balked.
"It's the Sacred Heart," I explained. "It's the heart of compassion." In Mexico, the Sacred Heart is often associated with Mary (the Blessed Mother) or Jesus. Since I am a Mary girl from way back, the heart spoke to me of not only her compassion, but her invitation to all of us to show greater compassion to others.
He wasn't buying it. I could tell by the look on his face.
"But it says 'I like you very much' in Spanish," I insisted. At least that was the translation the shop owner gave me. She explained that it did not say 'I love you.' Simply, 'I like you alot.' And I liked that alot, so I purchased it.
My husband caved in a little after hearing that. We continued to negotiate, now, which wall to hang it on. He wanted it hidden from view. I needed to see it, up close and personal, so I'd be reminded of Mary's compassionate heart (and my own) many times a day. I like having "prompts" like this around my house—recurring reminders to stay mindful or peaceful or loving. Why would I not have something like this in the kitchen too, seeing I spend a good amount of time there?
Yesterday I hung the Sacred Heart near the sink, next to the window, where, if I stand on my tiptoes, I can look out into the yard and see my Mary statue. She beckons the birds and squirrels to be compassionate too. I am happy. I have the heart of compassion in my home, in my yard, and, hopefully (on a good day) within my being.
Funny thing though.
I checked the translation for the words, "Te Quiero." The shopkeeper was wrong. It does not mean "I like you very much." Perhaps her Spanish was bad.
It means "I want you very much." Hmmm ...
Ok, I think to myself. We can look at this two ways. We can take the spiritual high road and believe that Mary herself (or Jesus or the Cosmic Heart) was doing the Uncle Sam thing—pointing finger, staring eyes, saying, "I want YOU!"
This could be possible. As I understand the many incarnations of Mary, she can be a feisty gal (especially the Guadalupe version). Yes, she certainly could be saying, "C'mon, friend. Get with the program. Bolster up your compassionate heart and join me on the road to loving with your whole heart."
We can take it literally, as a declaration of passion, romance, human need. "I want you very much."
I called my husband and told him about the new translation. I wondered if he would prefer the lustier interpretation. He chuckled. I could hear his heart smile, though all he said was "Okaaaaaay."
In my view, Mary of the Sacred Heart had worked her magic once again. Throw a man a teaser and he's intrigued. And it opens up his heart just a little, enough for the light to come in.
I say, chalk one up for the Sacred Heart of Compassion. Love always wins.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.