Soft Hearts are Sacred Hearts

As I was considering today the many woes of life (i.e. complaining to myself about how much I had to do and was pushing off till later), something kind of great struck me. In the midst of all the hectic schedules and pending assignments, I suddenly had the realization that God is more powerful than all of it, and that he ultimately has the ability to make our hearts so set on him that the turmoils of the world are powerless in distracting us. Really, it was a brief actualization of God's efficacious ability to truly and positively do things in our lives, something we often don't give him the credit for.

Although it might seem a little tangential, I think that understanding Jesus' Sacred Heart is key in understanding what it means to be unswervingly set upon God's will, precisely what I meant above. Often, we consider the Sacred Heart as being nothing more than a nice painting, representing Christ's burning desire for us and at the same time the agony he endured on the Cross. While this representation is absolutely true, I find that a superficial glimpse of 'desire' and 'agony' doesn't seem to hold much weight in itself unless both elements are seen together and in light of one another. Desire is only worth anything if it is willing to endure the pains of agony in its actualization.

This meditation can take place right in our own lives. There seems to be a tremendous correlation between the openness of our heart to the needs of others and our own openness to being hurt; when we expose ourselves to others' torments in the hope of helping them, we also leave ourselves vulnerable to attack in that unguarded moment of self-gift. Our desire for charity becomes the instance of our deepest agony. This is true in any human situation, but particularly those where the charity offered and the intensity of human suffering are deepest. Often, if we reach out to another and find ourselves deeply pained by their lack of response or reciprocal self-gift, it can be a good sign that the Lord's grace in our actions was quite profound.

The example par excellence of this painful self-offering is Jesus Christ; it was only out of love for us that Christ came to earth, and his openness to teaching us the Truth of God was pierced through it's soft core with nails, against a Cross. The tender love of God was awarded the response of cold and brutal death. But, the same heart that was pierced by the lance of the centurion immediately issued forth both blood and water, and all attempts to subdue divine charity were covered by the outpouring of divine grace. In short, love conquers agony, and grace washes away even the hardness of human cruelty.

This is so true in our lives, if we live by the statutes the same Lord teaches us through the gift of his Church. In the end, our hearts, open to the tumult of daily life and the ills of worldly disdain and struggle, will triumph in confluence with the Sacred Heart of our Lord on Good Friday. This is precisely the role of the sacraments: to provide the font of divine grace in our lives by which we are filled up, so that when our lives are demanded of us (in physical or spiritual ways) we might provide the world a glimpse of that same life-giving agony that redeemed us all in Christ.

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    # by Anonymous - March 5, 2008 at 9:55 AM

    Andy, thanks so much for this posting. In the past I have often felt the ungratefulness of a "gift" and let it torment me to the point I don't want to offer any more gifts! You've explained how this torment can be a "good sign that the Lord's grace in our actions was quite profound."
    Deb Hoover