The Heart Has Reason

In a Valentine display in the Enoch Pratt Library, a variety of hearts were depicted including some gently humorous ones: a very small heart with arrows flying past it (Too Young for Love); a heart with a lot of scars (Unlucky in Love); a large heart with smaller hearts within (Big-hearted); a heart with a jagged split down the middle, yes, a broken heart. So much imagination needed to characterize the symbolism of the human heart.

The essayist Brian Doyle described the hummingbird’s heart, the size of a pencil eraser, as beating ten times a second. He contrasts it with the biggest heart in the world inside the blue whale weighing more than seven tons, the size of a room with four chambers. “Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise and live to be two hundred...or fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.” So much physiology needed to fathom the hearts that keep creatures going.

A cognitive scientist has indicated that there is no learning without some emotion. The heart does have reason. The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins speaks of the human heart as nearly unfathomable: cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer, no man fathomed. Pascal intuits that the heart has its reasons. 

There are so many human experiences to explore in comprehending the human heart. It is a symbol of human love and Divine love. How are you fashioning your heart? How would you image it or draw a picture of it? Go ahead . . .


Your Heart, Dear Jesus,
Led You to give Your life
yet to express forgiveness
from the agony of the Cross.
Your heart reached out
to lepers, tax collectors, the blind and lame.
Your inclusive heart, Cosmic Christ,
extends through time and space
embracing everyone.
Make my heart more malleable;
Make my heart more universally embracing.
Make my heart meek and humble.
Then I can give your love to another,
bring Your accepting glance
to anyone in self-doubt
or experiencing rejection.
Whomever I include
You have already claimed.


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