Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation

Our Sacred Hearts

Friday, December 17, 2021

Devotion does not end at a shrine or image. It is only authentic when it reaches all the way into ourselves and into our lifestyle with an utterly transforming power. —David Richo, The Sacred Heart of the World

David Richo is a therapist, author, and teacher who integrates spirituality and psychology. In his book, The Sacred Heart of the World, he seeks to return the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to its cosmic origins. He writes:

As we look symbolically, the image of a divine open and grace-giving heart shows what our own inmost core looks like. It is a spiritual portrait of our hearts and the heart of the universe: strongly aglow with the divine fire, beaming light in every direction, and at the same time opened because it is wounded. . . .

It is ironic that a symbol of generous love became focused on our need to make reparation, that a powerful divine presence became associated with a saccharine image, that a liberating message became moralistic, that a call to universal compassion became a Jesus-and-I devotion. It is time to remove the past from the Sacred Heart and restore it to the meaning it had for the mystics and can have for us today. . . .

The heart of Christianity is the Heart of Jesus, a passionate devotedness to the well-being of humanity. To be a Christian is to be possessed by that same passionate intention. Indeed, to say that God created the world is to affirm that it vibrates at a pitch identical to the nature of God, who is love. Indeed, the pitch we were meant to live at is love. Life does not ever feel quite right unless love is the best and greatest part of it. . . .

Our heart is the soft center of our egoless self and it has one impelling desire: to open. The heart is the capacity to open. This is the force that complements our other powers. It takes us beyond our limits. It contains our ability to reach out so it is the antidote to despair. We are spiritually coded in ways we have not yet dared even to imagine. The depths of our spiritual capacity are still unplumbed. Contemplation of Jesus’ Heart shows us how deep we really are, how vast our potential for love, how high our aspiration for the light. . . .

An opened heart is boundless; that is, unconditional in its scope. Once we are awakened to love as the lifelong purpose of our hearts, then feeling love for all the world becomes the meaning—and greatest joy—of living. St. John Chrysostom [c. 347–407] says: “If you have found the way to your heart, you have found the way to heaven.” . . .

As we grow in spiritual consciousness, we move away from superstitions that seem to assure a stranglehold on God. The only promise of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is that we have not yet lost nor will we ever lose our capacity to love.

David Richo, The Sacred Heart of the World: Restoring Mystical Devotion to Our Spiritual Life (Paulist Press: 2007), 5–6, 8, 21, 22–23, 99.

Story from Our Community:
Each morning as the sun rises I have the privilege of sitting down to these daily meditations over a cup of coffee before work. They have been a game-changer for me in my walk, offering a breath of hope in a world that oftentimes feels hopeless. Thank you, CAC, for bringing these truths to light every day. —Elizabeth F.

Learn more about the Daily Meditations editorial team.

Image credit: Nicholas Kramer, Untitled (detail), 2021, photograph, Seattle. Used with permission.
Image inspiration: The pattern of the leaves and colors of this succulent invite us inward to its center. We yield to the call of its presence—so also with God.
Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.