« Last post by wgw on Today at 12:26:37 AM »
How so?Some Malankara Orthodox have the Sacred Heart. Not to worry...
No, I worry. People use those images because a) they were/are what's available and b) those people think it's a beautiful image. If you told them about the history, theology and practice of the Sacred Heart devotion, they'd probably freak out.
In the Catholic parochial school I attended as a kid, the Sacred Heart devotion was described as directed toward the heart of Jesus (physical organ); it was not just as a metaphor for his great love for mankind. This is also the way it was described in books, including books written before Vatican II, at least one of which I have in my library. Part of this idea was that the whole was contained in any one part, and so you could have a devotion to the heart of Jesus, or to the face, or to the shoulder, etc.
That would freak out any Orthodox Indian who has that image at home.
There is already a devotion to the Sacred Face. Which troubles me. Because, well, where will these blasphemous devotions end?
A person is an integral being, not a collection of body parts. The heart of our Lord was, biomedically, nothing more than a hydraulic pump, the same as my heart or your heart, and it stopped beating and died when He was crucified on the cross. Our Lord used Heart in a metaphorical context that was common for the time; many people believed the heart was the seat of desire, passion, emotion and so on because the emotional chemical response causes the heart to beat faster when we think of our loved ones, see a beautiful member of the opposite sex, become excited or frightened, et cetera. So naturally our Lord would use that metaphor.
But your experience Mor with the Catholic Parochial education shows that this devotion is in fact to a body part. Or at least it was, pre Vatican II. Which is insane. A devotion to the "warm loving heart of our Lord" understood emotionally might be a bit sentimental by Orthodox standards, but to venerate a body part, even a part of the body of our Lord, is insane; it's more Nestorian than Nestorius, who at least worshipped (or perhaps venerated and did not worship) the human hypostasis/nature/prosopa as a single entity.
But through His resurrection, our Lord spared us in our new bodies at the general resurrection from having frail, unreliable heart organs that are hydraulic pumps needed for survival. This is not to say He does not have a heart in his risen body; I don't know if he does or does not, or if it even matters. I don't know that a heart organ, as opposed to an emotional "heart", is fundamental to the human nature. Certainly heart transplants and mechanical hearts show that the biological pump in our chest is not integral to our personal identity but is rather just another organ.
So I think it's wrong to venerate a body part from the corruptible flesh of our Lord before it perished, and equally wrong to venerate a part of that same physical body after it was raised incorruptible. For if our Lord in his glorified, resurrected human flesh, the prototype for our future bodies, still has a heart, it is an incorruptible heart, but I don't presume to know.
And why if we are going to venerate the sacred heart or face, should we not also worship His sacred brain, which in Union with His divinity produced such beautiful Sayimgs as to change the world radically with just a few soft words? Or the mouth and vocal cords that spoke those blessed sentences? Or the loving eyes that wept when Lazarus died. Or the hands that healed? Or the saliva that cured blindness?
The entirety of the person of our Lord, as the above examples indicate, is holy, through and through, and every part of his sacred body, during his earthly ministry, in which he suffered death for our sins to trample down death and despoil hades, that same body that our Heavenly Father did not permit to see corruption, that same body that rose again in glory, and after 40 days ascended into the highest heavens to sit at the right hand of the Father, is holy, but it is holy because it is an integral part in its entirety of the God-Man Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, the Word that became flesh.
In worshipping Christ we should not divide his blessed person up into crude anatomical portions and venerate these individually, which is Nesstorianism on a dreadful scale, but rather worship Him in the glory of His resplendent human and divine Person.