HAVE LONG BEEN FASCINATED with the text of the Introit for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cogitationes, Ps. 33 (32): 11, 19: “The thoughts of his heart stand from generation to generation: that he might deliver their souls from death, and nourish them in times of famine.” It is striking to even consider that Jesus has his own “thoughts” or “designs” within His own Heart. It is a startling reminder of Jesus’ humanity. It is of great comfort to us that He desires to care for us, especially during times of great difficulty.
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy states “The term ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ denotes the entire mystery of Christ, the totality of his being, and his person…” which includes his humanity. Furthermore, the introit text reminds us to give ourselves over in trust in Jesus. Pope Benedict XVI states, “His divine Heart calls to our hearts, inviting us to come out of ourselves, to abandon our human certainties to trust in him, and following his example, to make of ourselves a gift of love without reserve.”
HE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART is an organ work based on Cogitationes. The chant is quoted in its entirety in the pedal with an 8′ oboe stop. (Even the psalm verse is quoted, with a return to the incipit.) This is played over an ostinato accompaniment in the left hand, with interjected improvisatory figures in the right hand. Within the realm of interior prayer, there is rest and comfort to be found, yet at the same time a restless joy exposed by the unusual harmonies and imposed melodies. Ultimately, it finds repose and peace.
The heart is resilient and complex. It leads us to Jesus and to his Heart.