I have decided to break off my hiatus early, my dear readers. But, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus provides a great reason to get back to blogging about Christianity and Anime. All sorts of ideas for anime articles bagan popping into my mind as soon as the hiatus began anyway–that figures! The themes in Saber Marionette J, the latest anime to steal my heart, and the Feast of the Sacred Heart incline me to write about the heart. (Only two more episodes to go before I tuck another anime under my belt.)
Saber Marionette J features some female androids who have something called a “maiden circuit” which allows them to empathize with others and have emotions. Essentially, they were programmed with a heart. The greatest joys and sorrows come from having a heart. The greatest hearts feel most keely the highs and lows of life. During these low periods, when love appears extinct and and pain everpresent, people often fall into the temptation of becoming bitter and seeking means of escape which only harden and diminish the heart. Some may even fall so low as to wish that they had no heart. Why have an organ capable of experiencing such beauty and love when all it finds surrounding it are ugliness and hate? In Saber Marionette J, Lime gives in to the temptation of abandoning her maiden circuit in order to escape the pain of a traumatic event.
However, losing her heart does not increase Lime’s happiness. She comes to realize that the joy of loving Otaru is worth all the pain she meets in life. In a similar way, the Sacred Heart was tempted not to love us during the Agony in the Garden, especially in seeing how many souls would either not care about His Passions or prefer hell to the Source of Goodness and Love. Despite the many thorns with which humanity has pierced the Sacred Heart of Jesus, He chose to accept all the pain of loving us, even the reprobate, for the joy of seeing us happy. The hardships endured by Christ through His entire life which culminated in His Sacred Passion produced the most magnanimous Heart ever to beat in a man’s breast. Christ is divine but also human, and His humanity required Him to grow through experience: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). We must never forget that God Himself knows suffering and the misery of the human condition even more personally and perfectly than ourselves.
Those who wish to follow Christ must endure similar struggles knowing that perseverance in love and righteousness enlarge the heart. The grace of God is so infinite that God can use loving imperfectly or outright sinning–through repentance–to building up the heart as long as we keep our gaze on Him. So, let us celebrate today the love with which this Sacred Heart burns for us, which came down from heaven to remove our stony hearts and to give us hearts of flesh. One day, we’ll see that our hearts are no longer small and stony, but large and ardent–pointing to that Heart which fashioned all our hearts.