23 June 2017

A Contemplative Moment: The Crimson Heart



 --- the Church speaks in a hymn by Gertrude von le Fort ---
"solitary Heart, all-knowing Heart, world-conquering Heart.". . .

The "heart" is the name we give to the unifying element in the human person's diversity. The heart is the ultimate ground of a person's being. Her diversity of character, thought, and activity springs from this ground. All that she is and does unfolds from this source. Her diversity, originally one in its source, remains one even in its unfolding and it ultimately returns to this unity.

The "heart" is the name we give to the inner ground of an individual's character, wherein a person is really himself, unique and alone. The human being's apartness, his individuality, his interiority, his solitariness --- this is what we call the heart. This characteristic of the heart reveals and at the same time veils itself in everything the person is and does. For the human being's total diversity in being and activity would be nothing if it did not blossom forth from the heart as from a living ground, and at the same time veil his hidden ground.It must be veiled because its water doesn't flow on the surface of what we commonly speak of as the human person's being and activity.

An individual's uniqueness, her individuality, is her heart. That is why one is always alone and solitary --- alone and solitary in the meaning that everyday life gives gives to the words, in the idiom of the marketplace, which no longer suspects the abysses concealed in human words. For there is a realm where the person is entirely himself, where he himself is his solitary destiny. In this realm where he can no longer bring himself and his fragmentary world to the marketplace of everyday life --- in the realm therefore where his heart is --- the person is alone and solitary because of this apartness. . . .

The center of our hearts has to be God; the heart of the world has to be the heart of our hearts. He must send us his heart so that our hearts may be at rest. It has to be his heart. . . .He must let it enter into our narrow confines, so that it can be the center of our life without destroying the narrow house of our finitude, in which alone we can live and breathe. And he has done it. And the name of his heart is Jesus Christ! It is a finite heart, and yet it is the heart of God. When it loves us and thus becomes the center of our hearts. every need, every distress, every misery of our hearts is taken from us. For his heart is God's heart. and yet it does not have the terrifying ambiguity of his infinity. Up from this heart and out from this heart human words have arisen, intimate words, words of the heart, words of God that have only one meaning, a meaning that gladdens and blesses.

Our heart becomes calm and rests in this heart, in his heart. When it loves us then we know that the love of such a heart is only love and nothing else. In him the enigmatic mystery of the world's heart which is God becomes the crimson mystery of all things, the mystery that God has loved the world in its destitution.

Excerpted from
 "The Mystery of the Heart" by Karl Rahner, SJ
The Great Church Year, the Best of Karl Rahner's Homilies
Sermons and Meditations
(Please read the entire essay! I have excerpted a text in which every word is important and none are wasted. Though not my intention it is a betrayal of Rahner's text.)