Friday, June 15, 2007

The Feast of the Sacred Heart

Our beautiful picture that hangs above our dining table.

Today is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Two years ago at this moment, as I type, I was driving into the middle of our city to pick up my great grandfather’s enormous Sacred Heart picture (about 4 ft by 3 ft) from a restoration business. I had talked about this picture and also another treasured Sacred Heart image in these two posts, here & here. The children and I were very joyful, singing hymns and reciting little ejaculations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our picture was coming home to us on the feast itself....

Almost 3 years ago we put this beautiful framed Sacred Heart picture into a shop to have it restored. It is almost 100 years old and the back of the frame was not completely sealed anymore, with a gaping hole in the brown paper that had been used so long ago for its back. It had hung on a thin, twisted bit of wire all those years, it is amazing it had not just gone, “Sprong!!” one day and fallen off the wall. The Sacred Heart image itself was buckling and the frame needed to have mold markings removed. It was fortunate that we had put it in when we did. We were told that the paper was extremely delicate and it would not have been long before it would have disintegrated completely upon removal.

We were given a quote for restoration of the picture which needed to be ‘bonded’ to special rice paper due to the fragility of the image. This was to be a very slow, laborious task that was very expensive. It needed slight touch ups here and there. The frame needed special cleaning and a small inner board needed to be placed between the glass and image to stop the image from touching the glass again. It then needed conservation framing, with a new wiring system at the back, distributing the weight of this big picture so that it would not put the frame under undue pressure over the next 100 years or so. It was expensive but as a treasured family heirloom it was worth it, giving it a new lease of life that would last much, much longer than it had so far.

I had been told it should be ready within 3 months. I rang in 3 months time to be told that there had been delays and that another 6 weeks were needed....I rang 6 weeks on, to be told the same thing again....and on it went. The last time I rang, I just said, “You ring me when it is finished...” He didn’t sound very hopeful that it would be anytime soon....I just couldn’t believe it all!

But it wasn’t long after that final call that he rang me – 4pm in the afternoon on a Friday – it was on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I can’t begin to express the profound shock, excitement and joy I felt and that quickly ran through the children like a buzz of electricity. Jesus had chosen to return to us on His feast!

I said, “What time do you close?” “5pm is our closing time” was the reply. I think he was thinking I would come in early the next week to pick it up. “Please, please, I would like to collect it today, I will be there just on 5pm, I promise! Don’t close without me arriving, I’ll do my best to get there on time!” I begged. That was fine. Now I’ve got to do it. "The traffic, at this time of night?!?" I’m shaking my head... It is a good half hour drive from where we live but with evening traffic that can easily double.

“Quick kids, get dressed, put on shoes!! Take the hairbrush to the car, quickly change the baby’s nappy! Get to the door, jump in the car!!! “ I yelled. “Yahoo, let’s go!” they shouted in reply. Off to the nearest ATM machine, drawing out the final payment, finally we were off!
We arrived right on 5pm, what a whirlwind of an hour! And there it was, all done, all finished, looking beautiful. I will never forget that day as long as I live. I was so deeply affected by the day this precious picture was returning to us for good.

A little tired today, virus earlier in the week, fortnightly shopping yesterday, doctor’s visit, herbalist visit, choir practice last night after missing 3 previous practices...We will renew our family consecration to the Sacred Heart and go to Mass tonight for the feast and sit down to a beautiful vegetarian quiche and pavlova all provided for by the Cheesecake shop at half the price. So much I would have liked to have done, crafts...that would have been nice but just not this year.

But I had a talk to my little 4 year old as we drove to the herbalist together and we talked about the Heart of Jesus. “What does it look like?” I asked. “Well, it has flames....a crown of thorns....a cross.” And we chatted about what all that meant. We talked about the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he knew all the symbols. They take in more than you realize.... We talked about little prayers we could say for the feast, just little ones, simple ones.

“What can you pray, for someone dear to you on this day?” I asked the little fellow. He didn’t say anything, he just hummed a tune, a tune we sing every day in our morning prayers. The words to it go like this, “Heart of Jesus I adore you, Heart of Mary I implore you, Heart of Joseph pure and just. In these three I place my trust.” (Click on the words to hear it but I'm afraid you won't detect my aussie accent when I sing!!!)

Darling little is so nice to be writing this down, they are precious moments that you don't ever want to forget.

Just editing...I didn't really look at the pav I bought, but as I brought it out to serve for sweets, I noticed it was covered in heart shaped strawberries - Yahoo!

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