Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sacred Heart of Jesus Icon

I've been looking for an image of the Sacred Heart that I liked, and I think I finally found one. This comes from Bridge Building Images Religious Cards and Gifts, and is from an artist named Nancy Oliphant.

There is just something about the traditional images of the Sacred Heart that turn me away--I think it is the overly emotive Jesus, with his pale face and light eyes. I know too much to expect Jesus to look like he's from Sweden. (Although I have Swedish in my heritage, I would rather an image of Jesus that is a little darker in complexion--more appropriate to his heritage.)

I like this image because of the dark-complexioned Jesus and because he looks strong. I want to say that his eyes are piercing also--like they look into me, and see me for who I am, with both good and bad traits. He looks a little sad, but not completely. He looks steady, like someone who is calm even in calamity.

Another aspect of this image that I like is the fire -- the tongues of flame that constitute his heart and the background of red, orange, and yellow. The heart like an explosion--flames that cannot be contained but most move outward. The fiery colors make me think of the fire of the holy Spirit, the fire which breathes life and love into each of us as we live in this world. Fire is a powerful image: it can light our path, warm our coldest hours, and cook our food. But it can also consume what lies in its path and cause great destruction and death. It's the power of all-consuming fire that is reigned in and used to fuel our love for God and compassion for others. So many of the mystics talk of the "fire of love" in their hearts--love that compels Christians to love God in return, and to love those around them.

I also like the mountains beneath Jesus. I grew up with mountains, and haven't lived in a mountainous place for many years. But they always make me think of the grandeur of creation, the greatness and beauty that God emanated into the created world

No comments: