At the dawn of His public life, Jesus proclaimed: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mt 1:15). This was the announcement of a new era of Redemption, followed by an effective repentance or metanoia, according to the early texts.

In reality, this Greek word originally denoted a change of mentality. It is clear that Our Lord was not calling for a kind of “philosophical conversion”, but rather a total transformation of being and detachment from this world (cf. Rom 12:2), in such a way that each person would become a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17).

In Ezekiel’s prophecy we find one of the most excellent metaphors to express this transfiguration: “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (36:26).

The prophecy proceeds in a crescendo, as if saying: “More than renewing your heart, I the Lord will penetrate to your very core to infuse my spirit into you. Finally, I will put my Heart in the place of yours.” It is therefore a true heart “transplant”, which we could call “metacordia”.

It calls our attention that the Lord does not promise to replace our heart of flesh with a “spiritual” one, but rather assures us that our heart of stone will “become flesh”, that is, it will become “flexible” to God’s will. In St. Augustine’s line of thought, this means allowing Christ’s love to become more intimate than what is most intimate within us – interior intimo meo.

The Divine Master repeatedly invited this exchange of hearts. However, the responses were contrasting, as witnessed at the Last Supper. On the one hand, John lovingly rests his head on Jesus’ Heart; on the other, the traitor sells his own heart to Satan: “the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him” (Jn 13:2).

Many Saints have followed this Johannine path. One example is the Cistercian St. Lutgardis, whom God asked in an apparition: “What is it you want, then?” She answered: “What I want is your Heart.” And the Lord replied: “I want your heart even more.”

The Benedictine St. Gertrude was also given the gift of “metacordia”, so that she could proclaim: “You gave it [the Heart of Jesus] freely to me or exchanged it for mine, as even plainer proof of your tender intimacy.”

Such was the “fusion” of hearts between the two that iconography has recorded Christ’s words:In corde Gertrudis, invenietis meIn the heart of Gertrude, you will find Me.”

In contrast, the reprobates, offspring of Judas, have tried in every way to obliterate this “metacordia” by introducing false models of the heart – such as those of the revolutionaries Marat and Lenin – or carrying out “microsurgeries” to inject numbing sentimentality or anaesthetized forms of piety into the Lord’s flock.

In view of this “bleeding heart” fervour in certain sectors of Catholicism, the children of darkness rejoice in a supposed victory. However, they do not have the benefit of the most powerful weapon of all: the Holy Mass. In the renewal of that last banquet, the most sublime “metacordia” takes place, when the Heart of Jesus descends, so that the heart of the priest, like a new John, may be raised up: lift up your hearts! ◊


Sisters praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Caieiras (Brazil)



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