Following my recent post about devotion to the Sacred Heart, and my aesthetic difficulties with some of the images related to that devotion, Janet has very kindly been searching for less objectionable ones, and she turned up this image of St. Augustine holding a flaming heart. I don’t know if this is, technically, His Sacred Heart, but it’ll do. I really like this image. It is a window in St. Thomas’ church in Oxford — though neither Janet nor I are sure if that means St. Thomas the Martyr, or some other church dedicated to St. Thomas, if there is one.
In his book, Love’s Sacred Order, Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis writes about this image (or ones like unto it):
…traditional iconography has represented Augustine as the mitered bishop with the intense gaze, holding out to us in his hand . . . a flaming heart. Mitered head and flaming heart: an eloquent icon of what an authoritative teacher and shepherd after Christ’s heart should be–a mouth teaching without compromise the full truth handed down by Christ through the Church, and yet a truth intended not so much for codification as for burning up the world with love.
A suitable text, given the events in Rome this week. Thanks, Janet.